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A preview of Prospect.3 

click to enlarge Pieter Hugo's Escort Kama. Enugu, Nigeria, 2008, will be shown in Prospect.3.

Photo courtesy Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yossi Milo, New York

Pieter Hugo's Escort Kama. Enugu, Nigeria, 2008, will be shown in Prospect.3.

When Franklin Sirmans, artistic director of New Orleans international contemporary art biennial Prospect.3, previewed his expo at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in May, he started with a familiar image: Paul Gauguin's 1891 painting Under the Pandanus. Gauguin's work depicts a couple at the water's edge in Tahiti.

  "Gauguin sear-ches for himself in exoticized others," Sirmans noted.  Sirmans' edition of Prospect (, which opens Oct. 25 across New Orleans, is titled Notes for Now, and it explores artists' search for identity. He also took inspiration from literature, notably Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, which is set in New Orleans.

  While Gauguin and Percy are familiar names, and the biennial also features works by Jean-Michel Basquiat related to Louisiana, many of the more than 60 artists in the show are emerging in the international contemporary art scene and are new to New Orleans. There are more than 30 American artists, including Douglas Bourgeois, Chandra McCormick and Hebert Singleton, whose work was featured in the first edition of Prospect New Orleans in 2008. The roster also includes artists from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Lebanon, Mexico, Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey and elsewhere. Japanese artist/architect Shigeru Ban will present architectural works at Longue Vue House and Gardens. Ugandan artist Zarina Bhimji will have several film installations.

  Works in a variety of media will be shown at 15 venues, and there are site-specific installations. While Prospect.1 was lauded for its many Hurricane Katrina-related site-specific installations, spread throughout the city. Prospect.3 sites include a heavier concentration of museums, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Contemporary Arts Center and others.

  Prospect New Orleans was founded by Dan Cameron, who curated the first two editions and the smaller-scale Prospect.1.5, which featured New Orleans artists. Prospect.1 drew approximately 50,000 visitors and had an economic impact of $24 million on the city, says Mark Romig of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation.

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