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The Sight and Sound of Music 

Interpretations of Hendrix and other rocky icons highlight this year's Art for Art's Sake.

Over the years, Art for Art's Sake has become so ingrained in the fabric of the city that no one seems to recall exactly when it began or whose idea it was in the first place. Not even Don Marshall who, as director of the Contemporary Arts Center at the time, was involved from day one.

"It was sometime in the late 1970s," he says, "and some of us were talking about fear. You know, the fear of art, and the way some people feel intimidated by galleries. We thought that if the openings were coordinated it might create a more relaxed kind of atmosphere." That was a quarter of a century ago. Since then, it has become an annual rite for those curious to see what the new season portends -- as well as for those who are merely curious.

And what does the new season portend? Although Art for Art's Sake is an imperfect oracle, there appear to be more offerings involving music, or sound, as well as concepts, or ideas. For instance, Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay's Graffiti Composition at the host site Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) is a series of 150 photographs that came about as the result of an experiment in Berlin, where sheets of blank music paper were posted in public places. No instructions were given, but over the course of days they became covered with everything ranging from musical notes to words and drawings. Even birds, insects and the elements left their mark. The initial 800 were photographed and culled to a suite of 150 that can be viewed randomly, in no particular order. They can also be played that way, and will, on the evening of Nov. 12, when the experimental composers group Voo Doo Tek performs its own interpretation of Graffiti at the CAC.

If that seems like a head trip, Marclay's video, Guitar Drag is more visceral. A personal response to the 1998 hate crime in which an African American, James Byrd, was dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in Texas, Drag recreates the incident with the sounds and video footage of a Fender electric guitar being dragged to its death along country roads outside San Antonio. Like Graffiti, it employs randomness or chance as a technique, but with the guitar-smashing catharsis associated with 1960s rock legends like Pete Townshend of the Who.

Sharing the CAC with Marclay's work is 1822, a collaborative installation by Stephen Paul Day and Sibylle Peretti that also takes violence into account. Utilizing their expertise in glass and other media, and invoking the ideals of Marcel Duchamp and St. Francis of Assisi, 1822 poses a series of visual "questions without answers" that deal with the relationship of creativity, nature, healing and childhood's remarkable capacity for wonder even under dire circumstances. "It's really a continuation of the work that we've been doing," Peretti says, "but the events of 9/11 gave it another level of meaning for us." (The title, 1822, is derived from 911 multiplied by 2.)

On a lighter note, Bunny Matthews' Art for Heterosexuals at Space Gallery also involves ideas, music and questions. Even the show's title seems to raise questions, but Matthews says it's a critique of political correctness, not of any gender orientation. "Hell, half my friends are gay; I just think correctness can be overdone," he says as he notes the diversity of his drawings' subjects, including cultural icons such as John Coltrane, Earl King, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, B.B. King, James Booker, the goddess Circe, Mrs. Jimi Hendrix, Leda, Taj Mahal and God -- all punctuated with lots of song lyrics and scantily clad maidens. Rounding out the atmosphere of convivial incorrectness, he says he also plans to have topless waitresses that his son recruited in the Ninth Ward serving hors d'oeuvres at the opening to the accompaniment of the scintillating sounds of Quintron and Miss Pussycat.

Striking another note entirely, Bruce Barnbaum's Tone Poems series of Western landscape photographs appear at A Gallery for Fine Photography in conjunction with the premier of his new book of the same name. Although topically similar to the work of the late Ansel Adams, Barnbaum's stuff is quirkier, more surreal and abstract, and in some ways more fun. A big-time classical music buff, he incorporates into his new book a CD of piano pieces performed by Judith Cohen.

So there you have it. Art is on the walls, but music is everywhere -- especially at the CAC, where a special memorial Tribute to Jimi Hendrix features 28 local musicians ranging from Astral Project and Little Queenie to Bonearama, Renard Poche and the Dirty Dozen's Gregory Davis performing their own versions of Hendrix's classics in honor of what would have been his 60th birthday on Nov. 27. The party starts at 9 p.m. and the music starts at 10 p.m. A must for anyone who's ever wondered how Hendrix would have sounded had he been born on the bayou.

While multidisciplinary art combinations were part of the milieu in which Art for Art's Sake was born, this year's shows may have taken things to another level. A fluke or a sign of things to come? You never know. Don Marshall, now director of UNO's Arts Administration graduate program and the UNO Downtown Theater, says he never dreamed that the original handful of participating galleries would mushroom to this year's grand total of nearly four dozen. That number would grow by at least one if Marshall follows through on his idea to start showing art at his theater facility, located in the old Masonic Temple at 619 Carondelet St. Some things take on a life of their own, it seems.


Citywide Gallery Openings
6 p.m. to 9pm

1. A Gallery for Fine Photography
322 Royal St., 568-1313
Bruce Barnbaum -- Tone Poems

2. Academy Gallery of the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts
5256 Magazine St., 899-8111

Auseklis Ozols and Errol Barron

3. Anton Haardt Folk Art Gallery
2858 Magazine St., 891-9080
Faces of a Different South
-- Folk art portraits
www.antonart.com

4. Ariodante
535 Julia St., 524-3233
Emilio Santini -- Venetian-influenced glass

5. Arthur Roger Gallery
432 Julia St., 522-1999
Robert Colescott -- Paintings; Greg Gorman -- Photographs

6. Barrister's Gallery
1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 525-2767
[RE]introducing New Orleans' African-American Artists: A Group Show

Curated by Bob Tannen
Cypressionist Metal Painting
: New works by Jimmy Descant
Open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

7. Bergeron Studio and Gallery
755 Magazine St., 522-7503
Pops Whitesell -- Rare hand-signed black-and-white photographs

8. Berta's and Mina's Antiquities Gallery
4138 Magazine St., 895-6201
Nilo Lanzas -- New paintings; Works by Noel Rockmore

9. Brewer Landry Gallery
2022 Magazine St., 522-2022
Susan Landry -- Blues & Folk Art; Virginia Srust -- Design sketches

10. Callan Contemporary Gallery
3506 Magazine St. 899-8782
Jim Pennington -- Jazz Scenes & Views of Venice

11. Cameron Jones
2127 Magazine St., 524-3119
Twelve local artists

12. Carol Robinson Gallery
840 Napoleon Ave., 895-6130
Jere Allen -- New works

13. Christopher Maier Furniture Design
329 Julia St. 586-9079
Mosaic portraits rendered in wood inlay

14. Cole Pratt Gallery
3800 Magazine St., 891-6789
Jenny Kahn -- Oil and canvas, mixed media; Katherine Sherwood -- Oil and canvas abstractions

15. Contemporary Arts Center
900 Camp St., 528-3805
Christian Marclay, Stephen Paul Day and Sibylle Peretti

16. d.o.c.s. A Gallery of Contemporary Art
709 Camp St., 524-3936
Brent Barnidge -- Bronze sculpture; Diego Larguia -- Still painting

17. Evans Gallery
3701 Magazine St., 897-2688
Janet McGreal -- Figures on canvas

18. Galerie E'clat
3116 Magazine St., 896-2307

Fantasy of the Imagination

19. Galerie Simonne Stern
518 Julia St., 529-1118
Monica Zeringue -- New works

20. Hands in Clay
4122 Magazine St., 269-1300

Flamin' -- Works by Lill, Thomas and local artists

21. Hanson Gallery
229 Royal St., 524-8211
Edward Povey, Joseph Lorusso and Eddy Stevens

22. Heriard-Cimino Gallery
440 Julia St., 525-7300
Hunt Flonem -- Paintings

23. Jean Bragg Gallery
3901 Magazine St., 895-7375
Paintings of the French Quarter

24. Jonathan Ferrara Gallery
841 Carondelet St., 522-5471
Adam Farrington -- Byproducts Of My Existence

25. LeMieux Galleries
332 Julia St., 522-5988
Paul Ninas, 1903-1964, New Orleans & the West Indies

26. Lionel Milton Gallery
1818 Magazine St., 522-6966
VooDoo Art Experience

27. Louisiana Children's Museum
428 Julia St., 586-0725

28. Marguerite Oestreicher Fine Arts
720 Julia St., 581-9253
Dawn Southworth -- Recent works

29. Mary Viola Walker Gallery
834 Julia St., 558-9688
Gem Bags -- Effortless Glamour

30. Memorial Hall Museum
929 Camp St., 523-4522
19th century Civil War art

31. Michalopoulos
617 Bienville St., 558-0505
New works by James Michalopoulos

32. Ogden Museum of Southern Art
603 Julia St., 539-9600
Enrique Alferez -- Art and Life

33. Palm Court Gallery
1200 Decatur St., 525-0200

The Building as Art; An Exhibit of International Artists

34. Riverwalk Gallery
The Riverwalk, One Poydras St., 523-6000
Impressionists; Shortridge, Duvall, Park and Young

35. Galleries at the Saulet
1420 Annunciation St., 586-9800
Galerie Lafitte recent NOCCA graduates -- Mixed media
Three Ring Circus Productions
Metal sculpture by Jimmy Gorman. Food by René Bistrot
(ze-rang) Gallery mixed-media works by John Zeringue & GEYO

36. Shadyside-Potsalot Potteries
3823 Magazine St., 897-1710
Raku, stoneware and wood-fired pottery

37. Søren Christensen
400 Julia St., 569-9501
David Borgerding -- Form Space Reform

38. Stella Jones Gallery
201 St. Charles Ave., 568-9050
Sarah Albritton -- Windows of the Soul, Series VII

39. Steve Martin Studio
624 Julia St., 566-1390
First Floor: Sarah Ashley Longshore -- Artist in Motion
Second Floor Main Gallery: Jamali Mystical Expressionism -- Original paintings

40. Sylvia Schmidt Gallery
400-A Julia St., 522-2000
Kathleen Holmes -- Art Redressé; Sibylle Peretti -- New works

41. Thomas Mann Gallery I/O
1812 Magazine St., 581-2113

The Chair Show; limited seating

42. Villa Vici
2930 Magazine St. 899-2931
Abstract artworks by Alice McNeely

43 Ya/Ya, Inc
420 Julia St., 529-3306
Artpentry at Louisiana Children's Museum


PARTICIPATING BUSINESSES

a. Aidan Gill For Men
2026 Magazine St., 587-9090

b. House Of Lounge
2044 Magazine St., 671-8300

Lingerie Dangereux -- Photographs by Michael Terranova

c. Interior Designs II
3814 Magazine St., 895-5110
Hungarian Artist Bori Kigyos -- Porcelain, paintings and fiber art

d. Juliet Custom Furnishings
2601 Magazine St., 525-9481
Works by Sharon Montillaro, Katlin Gergo, and Michael Ledet

e. Mignon Faget, Ltd.
3801 Magazine St., 891-7545
Unveiling of fall 2002 designs

f. The Private Connection
3927 Magazine St., 899-4944
Asian art, furniture, fashion and flowers

g. Salon Du Beau Monde
612 Julia St., 568-0050
John Lawson -- Mixed media

h. Total Woman
3964 Magazine St., 891-3962
The Art of Fashion

i. TwiRoPa
1544 Tchoupitoulas
Art for Art's Sake Late Night Voo Doo Art Experience
Doors open at 1 a.m.; www.twiropa.com

click to enlarge Marclay's video Guitar Drag is an interpretation of the murder of African American James Byrd along a dirt road outside San Antonio.
  • Marclay's video Guitar Drag is an interpretation of the murder of African American James Byrd along a dirt road outside San Antonio.
click to enlarge Christian Marclay's Grafitti Composition (at the CAC) is an experimental work of 150 photographs of marked music sheets hung up on public places in Berlin.
  • Christian Marclay's Grafitti Composition (at the CAC) is an experimental work of 150 photographs of marked music sheets hung up on public places in Berlin.
click to enlarge 1822, a collaborative installation by Stephen Paul Day and Sibylle Peretti shown at the CAC, presents 'questions without answers' looks at violence in the shadow of Sept. 11.
  • 1822, a collaborative installation by Stephen Paul Day and Sibylle Peretti shown at the CAC, presents 'questions without answers' looks at violence in the shadow of Sept. 11.
click to enlarge Bruce Barnbaum's Tone Poems series of Western landscape photographs at A Gallery for Fine Photography recalls a more abstract version of Ansel Adams' work.
  • Bruce Barnbaum's Tone Poems series of Western landscape photographs at A Gallery for Fine Photography recalls a more abstract version of Ansel Adams' work.
click to enlarge Perennial provocateur Bunny Matthews says his Art for Heterosexuals at Space Gallery, featuring the piece My Religion, is an irreverent critique on political correctness.
  • Perennial provocateur Bunny Matthews says his Art for Heterosexuals at Space Gallery, featuring the piece My Religion, is an irreverent critique on political correctness.
click to enlarge This untitled tropical landscape is one of many from Paul Ninas' New Orleans and the West Indies exhibition at LeMieux Galleries.
  • This untitled tropical landscape is one of many from Paul Ninas' New Orleans and the West Indies exhibition at LeMieux Galleries.
click to enlarge Kathleen Holmes' Art Redress exhibition is featured at Sylvia Schmidt Gallery.
  • Kathleen Holmes' Art Redress exhibition is featured at Sylvia Schmidt Gallery.

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