Pin It
Favorite

Review: St. Claude Artists at the Contemporary Arts Center 

D. Eric Bookhardt on the CAC's salute to Marigny galleries and artists

click to enlarge art_rev-1.jpg

In the months following Hurricane Katrina, it was not unusual to see New Orleanians with new fleur-de-lis tattoos. Having nothing to do with football, this reflected militant support for the city and what it stood for, which was seriously threatened at the time. Another post-Katrina phenomenon was the rise of artist-run co-op galleries along the St. Claude Avenue corridor. What both phenomena had in common was a sense that creative and personal freedom are what this city is really all about. The militant, do-it-yourself spirit of the recovery inspired artists to create their own gallery scene in the city's Bohemian epicenter — which this Spaces show at the Contemporary Arts Center celebrates, and inferentially documents, with work from three of the leading co-op galleries.

True to the spirit of St. Claude, the art was curated by the galleries themselves, resulting in a very miscellaneous expo with a mingling of new and old, outstanding and routine work. This also reflects a scene that favors experimentation over sales.

Some of the highlights include Dave Greber's three-panel video display of artists affiliated with the Front delivering their own personal, self-parodying and hilarious artist statements. There's also a kind of lounge/library where gallery catalogs share space with wall posters and a chalkboard timeline history of local co-op galleries. A poster for Antenna Gallery featuring a giant busty female space alien flipping cars on I-10 by the Superdome is a minor masterpiece in its own right. And Monopoly (St. Claude) by Good Children Gallery artists Tony Campbell and Mat Vis is a large Monopoly game with Champagne glasses and top hats symbolizing the nascent "gentrification" of St. Claude Avenue epitomized by a proposed CVS pharmacy on the site of the defunct Frankie and Johnny's furniture store.

The real stars of the show are the galleries themselves and what they represent: the only artist-run arts district in America, and a vital example of participatory democracy in the service of urban community building. — D. Eric Bookhardt

Through June 10

Spaces: Antenna, The Front and Good Children Gallery

Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3805; www.cacno.org

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Submit an event Jump to date

Latest in Art Review

Spotlight Events

  • Hogs for the Cause @ UNO Lakefront Arena
    6801 Franklin Ave. http://www.arena.uno.edu

    • Thu., March 30, 6:30 p.m., Fri., March 31, 4-9:30 p.m. and Sat., April 1, 12-6 p.m.
    • Buy Tickets
  • Sweet Bird of Youth @ Loyola University New Orleans, Marquette Theatre, Marquette Hall
    6363 St. Charles Ave. http://www.montage.loyno.edu

    • Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through April 16
    • 1 going/interested
  • Audra McDonald @ NOCCA Riverfront
    2800 Chartres St. http://www.nocca.com

    • Fri., March 31
  • Close Me Out @ Hi-Ho Lounge
    2239 St. Claude Ave. http://www.hiholounge.net

    • First Saturday of every month

© 2017 Gambit
Powered by Foundation