Pin It

Robert Colescott and Alec Soth 

click to enlarge art_rev-1.jpg

Robert Colescott died in June at his home in Tucson, Ariz. He was 83. The first black American to represent the United States in a solo show at the Venice Biennale, his work was in many major collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He had close ties to New Orleans, where his parents were born and raised. After serving in World War II, he made zany paintings dealing with racial and social issues in a highly satirical manner. His remake of the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River replaced the revolutionary leader with the black agricultural chemist George Washington Carver at the helm of a boat loaded with minstrels, cooks and maids. Painted in a whimsical, California Imagist style, the works on view at Arthur Roger Gallery continue in a similar vein. In Summertime, a white blonde woman in a sagging bikini reclines under a sky filled with black crows circling an African-American Minnie Mouse with big boobs as a black man approaches her with his tongue hanging out. Presumably a satire on racial preconceptions, its meaning is left to the viewer. As with much of Colescott's work, we're not always sure what we're looking at, but we always know we're looking at something.

  The adjacent gallery contains large color photos by Alec Soth, a 40-year-old Minneapolis photographer who has been making waves with works such as this subtly atmospheric series exploring life along the Mississippi. Adelyn, Ash Wednesday, New Orleans (pictured) depicts a tired, tattooed redhead with a cross of ashes on her forehead. Asked what she was giving up for Lent, she hit up Soth for a beer, explaining that she wasn't really Catholic and her cross was made from cigarette ash. Joshua, Angola Prison depicts an angelic-looking inmate who is serving a sentence for murder. Like a postmodern O. Henry, Soth provides many ironic insights in a highly evocative series where every picture really does tell a story. — D. Eric Bookhardt

Robert Colescott: Troubled Goods

Alec Soth: Sleeping by the Mississippi

Through Nov. 14

Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia St., 522-1999;

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Submit an event Jump to date

Latest in Art Review

Spotlight Events

  • 4000 Miles @ Ashe Cultural Arts Center
    1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

    • Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 30, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 5
  • The Toxic Avenger @ The Theatre at St. Claude
    2240 St. Claude Ave.

    • Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sun., Oct. 30, 8 p.m. and Mon., Oct. 31, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 28
  • The Illusionists @ Saenger Theatre
    1111 Canal St.

    • Through Oct. 30
  • Close Me Out @ Hi-Ho Lounge
    2239 St. Claude Ave.

    • First Saturday of every month
  • St. Claude Second Saturdays @ St. Claude Arts District
    2820 St. Claude Ave.

    • Second Saturday of every month
    • 4 going/interested

© 2016 Gambit
Powered by Foundation