Ever since the Dadaists burst upon the scene in the early 20th century, some artists have created works that were more like events than art objects, thereby challenging the viewer's assumptions about what art is — or isn't. Over the years, this approach made its way into the hallowed halls of museums, which helps to explain what multifaceted New Orleans artist/musicians Quintron and Miss Pussycat are doing at the New Orleans Museum of Art. In the case of Panacea Theriac, aka Miss Pussycat, it is her puppets and videos we see, but anyone who goes there during regular visitor hours may actually encounter the mysterious Mr. Quintron, surrounded by recording gear and many muses in the form of paintings from NOMA's collection. He's recording an album on location and has assembled an installation of his patented Drum Buddy devices, which suggest how synthesizers might have looked had they been invented by Edison or Tesla with help from Joseph Cornell. In the midst of all this is an assortment of the late Mike Frolich's vividly Dionysian Dadaist paintings from the collection of the Saturn Bar — in short, all the ingredients to create a euphonic Quintronic composition over the next few weeks, a slow-motion performance in its own right. Will Quintron and his Drum Buddys become museum pieces or will the museum become a vast Moog synthesizer? Stay tuned.
During the years when Mr. Quintron was summoning the spirits of Edison, Tesla and Dr. Moog, Miss Pussycat was making puppets and serialized shows chronicling their plights. Their stories appear in the videos seen here, and if their fuzzy forms and bright colors seem surprising at NOMA, think again. In art, context is everything and Miss Pussycat's puppets comprise a kind of Bywater equivalent of the Walt Disney Studio's Dreams Come True expo downstairs — only here swamp critters and the Saturn Bar are the Magic Kingdom for the eternal children of the 9th Ward. — D. Eric Bookhardt
Parallel Universe: An Exhibition by Quintron and Miss Pussycat
New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, 658-4100, www.noma.org