Review: mystery, family and the secret life of landscapes at Barrister’s Gallery

Surrounding Circumstances and Conspiracies run through May 6
Families can be wonderful, but they also are mysterious. Complex truths often unfold slowly, especially where children are concerned.

Review: prison and mental health in States of Incarceration and Mutual Support

Works at Ogden and Gallery X
The ground level annex of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art suggests either a wide tunnel or a narrow basement. Its rugged, subway station aura works well for gritty subjects, and few subjects are grittier than prisons.

Review: Michael Pajon and Katrina Andry at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

Ex Libris and Consequences of Being run through May 27
Have you ever felt nostalgic for nostalgia? Old movies, music and vintage objects open windows into the past while creatively nourishing the present, but lately a nostalgia for "good old days" that never were has morphed into a politicized pipe dream that's more like an alternate reality.

Review: Cecilia Vicuna’s “About to Happen”

The artists's sprawling expo runs at the Contemporary Arts Center
Art shows can be a lot like people: Some try to make up in drama what they lack in substance, and quieter personalities sometimes have more to say. Cecilia Vicuna's sprawling About to Happen expo at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) falls into the latter category.

Review: New works at St. Claude Avenue galleries

Dan Tague's State of Fear and paintings from Peter Hoffman
My cousin, who has lived most of her life in the French Quarter, says she never crosses the river because "there's nothin' but weirdos over there." But I have always liked West Bankers' spirit, and Dan Tague, who curated this State of Fear show at Barrister's Gallery, is a proud son of Marrero.

Review: new work from Alan Gerson and Wendo on Julia Street

Paintings, sculpture and prints at LeMieux and Boyd Satellite
Spring has sprung, and pollen, hormones and mayhem are in the air. Birds, bees and even beetles are doing their thing as flowers blossom everywhere.

Review: Luis Cruz Azaceta's geometric paintings at Arthur Roger Gallery

On the Brink runs through April 22
On the Brink seems an unusual title for a geometric abstract painting show. The crisp geometry of traditional art deco, op art or minimalist design, like the sleek lines of modern architecture and furniture, all epitomize a kind of optimistic rationalism, but Luis Cruz Azaceta was forever marked by the chaos that characterized the Cuban revolution and his life as a youthful refugee.

Review: Mickalene Thomas' pop culture portraits at Newcomb Art Museum

Exuberant mixed-media works in Waiting on a Prime-Time Star
Things started to change in the 1970s. After decades of intense struggle, the black middle class became more visible, ushering in new attitudes, decor and music as the smooth sounds of Lionel Richie, Tina Turner and George Benson reached new audiences.

Review: NOMA's A Life of Seduction: Venice in the 1700s

Venetian paintings reveal Carnivalesque visions
Once it was among the richest cities on the continent, a home port for great fleets of ships and a magnet for artists and entrepreneurs despite its floods and epidemics. It never fully recovered from being on the wrong side of a war, yet its elaborate architecture, music, culture and Carnival rituals imbued it with a reputation for romantic hedonism that few cities could match.

Review: The Basketball Hoops Project

Rob Hammer's photographs at Boyd Satellite Gallery
In America, sports have evolved into a big, multibillion dollar spectacle, but in the late 20th century, sports also became a great, if imperfect, democratizing force by which anyone with talent might succeed regardless of race, color or creed. Although the massive multistory "Equality" banners on the Benson Tower by the Superdome suggest a bit of satisfying civic schadenfreude after the NBA All-Star Game was moved here in response to North Carolina's transgender bathroom law, equality is what makes America's democratic version of patriotism very different from mere mean-spirited nationalism.

Review: photographs by Jeanine Michna-Bales and Debra Howell

The legacy of the Underground Railroad and dreamlike visions of nature
In antebellum America, secret trails dubbed the Underground Railroad spanned the continent's vast spaces as runaway slaves fled north toward freedom in the dead of night. Assisted by sympathizers who sheltered them in churches, homes and barns called "depots," it was a migration that has spanned time in words and pictures.

Review: Rashaad Newsome's Melange at the CAC

The New Orleans native's collage and video work runs through Feb. 12
In the 1981 cult classic film, Escape from New York, Manhattan is a maximum security prison ruled by a self-proclaimed "Duke" (Isaac Hayes) who drives a gaudy Cadillac festooned with huge baroque candelabra. Rashaad Newsome's 2013 New Orleans Museum of Art expo harked to the Duke with heraldlike works that bridged the gap between gangs, rap and medieval warlords.


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