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Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp 2017-2018 Media Recap

Over the course of the last 12 months, Bond Moroch developed and executed a strategic public relations campaign to help raise awareness of Prospect New Orleans. As part of that plan, Bond Moroch identified national, regional, and local media outlets, freelancers, and influencers for earned media placements. In the last 10 months, we have secured over 150 media placements for Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. The following document has media clippings of the secured media.

1. Preview Coverage (pgs. 1 – 76) 2. Opening Weekend & Reviews (pgs. 77 – 237) 3. Closing Weekend & Post-Reviews (pgs. 238-267)


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See the full list on the New website.

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Read full article on the Art F City website.

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Read the full article on the ARTFORUM website.

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A haunting concert on a riverbank orchestrated by Kara Walker, a field station for an imaginary marine biologist designed by Mark Dion, and nearly a dozen portraits by the late Barkley L. Hendricks are among the projects planned for Prospect.4, the fourth edition of the New Orleans triennial exhibition, which is scheduled to open on November 18 (through February 28, 2018). The show will include work by 73 artists, including Rashid Johnson, Kader Attia, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Alfredo Jaar. But for every name on the list that is familiar, there is another that is new to the biennial circuit, such as Hong-An Truong, a New York- and Chapel Hill-based photographer and video artist, and Monique Verdin, a New Orleans-born, Native American filmmaker and storyteller. “I’m always interested in bringing in artists who have had little exposure or who have had not as much attention as I feel they should get,” says the triennial’s artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker, who is also the chief curator at Duke University’s Nasher Museum. The list also includes more artists who are based outside typical market hubs like New York, Berlin, and London than artists working within them. (The triennial will have 15 more participants than the previous edition, Prospect.3.) Above all, Schoonmaker says that the organizing principle of the show is the city itself. The exhibition coincides with New Orleans’s tricentennial celebration—the 300th anniversary of the founding of Nouvelle-Orléans by the French in 1718. More than 30 of the artists in Prospect.4—including Walker and Dion—will create new work specifically for the occasion. Around 10% of the artists hail from the New Orleans area, and the others make work

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that deals with “issues or themes that are central to New Orleans or to its history,” Schoonmaker tells artnet News. This approach marks something of a departure for Prospect, which was founded by Dan Cameron in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as an ambitious gambit to lure the international art world—and their deep pockets—to the still-recovering city. The well-reviewed first edition included splashy site-specific installations by international artists—but also amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. (After the 2011 edition, Prospect’s board split the roles of artistic director and executive director into two, and stabilized its finances.) Prospect.3, curated by Franklin Sirmans in 2014, was celebrated as one of the most racially diverse biennials in recent history, but some complainedthat the sprawling event was difficult to navigate and not fully embraced by locals. This year, it officially switches from a biennial to a triennial schedule (although it had been operating on that schedule for several years already). For his part, Schoonmaker has made it a priority to get locals interested first—and the international art world, he hopes, will follow. “Because Prospect is so young, there is a need for it to feel rooted here—to not only try and lure the international art world to New Orleans but to still get the local community, the regional artgoers, to want to buy in and embrace it as their own,” he says. “We want to be getting to communities that don’t always go and see art.” In fact, instead of asking people to come to the art, Schoonmaker plans to bring the art out into the city. Kara Walker, for example, is teaming up with Jazz pianist Jason Moran to create her first major work of public art since 2014’s A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby (better known as the giant sugar sphinx). The work—which is also her first major sound piece—is an instrument that is part-organ, part-steamboat that emits protest songs on the bank of the Mississippi River. The location, Algiers Point, is carefully chosen: it’s the site where slaves were kept in quarantine before they were brought to New Orleans. The artist Odili Donald Odita, meanwhile, will install a series of flags throughout the city to mark “culturally, historically, or racially historic sites” centered around the Algiers Ferry Terminal. And Yoko Ono will recreate her text work, Have You Seen a Horizon Lately?, first conceived in 1966, both on a billboard and an outdoor wall.

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In an effort catch get both tourists and locals on the go, the artist Derrick Adams will create a multimedia installation inside a fully operational streetcar. “The streetcar will become like his gallery, his cube,” Schoonmaker says. “He’s dealing with the street performers— young guys, mostly tap dancers, that he sees working on the side of the road.” Schoonmaker, who gave Barkley L. Hendricks his first museum show, also plans to present around a dozen portraits from 1970 to 2016 that were not part of the 2008 retrospective he organized, “Birth of the Cool.” “I want to make sure we are addressing issues that aren’t just for the insider art world,” Schoonmaker says. “To make sure that Prospect survives, that is a critical element—for it to take root and really live.” Here is the full artist list for Prospect.4: “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp.” [List can be viewed through the link below.]

Read the article on the artnet website.

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Read the article on the ARTnews website.

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Prospect.4, the fourth installment of the international contemporary art expo founded by Dan Cameron, opens Nov. 18 and runs through Feb. 25, 2018. Trevor Schoonmaker, the head curator at Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art is the artistic director of Prospect.4. He released the names of 73 artists selected for the triennial and previewed the expo in remarks at the Ogden Museum for Southern Art Tuesday. Schoonmaker titled the expo "The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," a phrase he says was inspired by jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp, who said jazz is the lotus in spite of the swamp. "The title is the metaphor of the lotus flower," Schoonmaker says. "That is a beautiful flower that rises through the swamp. It's about the ability to rise above one's circumstances. ... Art brings the invisible to light." Work will be displayed at 17 venues, including museum spaces such as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, NOMA and the Contemporary Arts Center, as well as in public spaces such as the Lafitte Greenway, Crescent Park and Algiers Point. The expo will include 32 works being made in New Orleans or specifically for Prospect.4. John Akomfrah, who was born in Ghana and lives in London, will make a film about Buddy Bolden for the expo, Schoonmaker says. Schoonmaker considered New Orleans' environment and connections to the rest of the world via the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico while shaping his expo. Events also will relate to New Orleans' observation of its tricentennial in 2018. Schoonmaker says he chose artists whose work will resonate with New Orleans (view some of their works here). Rina Banerjee is an Indian-born artist who lives in New York. Her focus on colonial issues and use of materials has a look resembling Mardi Gras, Schoonmaker says.

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Also interested in neocolonialism, Andrea Chung, a New Jersey native, will present a cyanotypes based on lionfish, an invasive species. The expo includes collages made by Louis Armstrong and Mardi Gras Indian suits created by Darryl Montana, who was introduced to Schoonmaker on Fat Tuesday by former NOMA curator Bill Fagaly. Other local artists include Jennifer Odem, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Michel Varisco and Monique Verdin, There's also work by New Orleans natives Wayne Gonzales and John T. Scott. Participants come from around the globe, including Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher from the Netherlands, Alexis Esquivel from Ecuador, Genevieve Gaignard from California, the recently deceased Barkley Hendricks, Taiyo Kimora from Japan, Maider Lopez from Spain, Lavar Munroe from the Bahamas, Paulo Nazareth from Brazil, Tita Solina from Indonesia and Penny Siopis and James Webb from South Africa. Prospect New Orleans was launched as an international art biennial by curator Dan Cameron in response to Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, and it drew critical acclaim around the globe. Curator Franklin Sirmans curated Prospect.3, which opened in 2014. It drew 100,000 attendees.

[List of artists in the link below]

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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Prospect.4 Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker announced the names of the 73 artistsselected for the exhibition opening Nov. 18 and running through Feb. 25, 2018. There's work by artists from around the globe, as well as some collages by Louis Armstrong. Yoko Ono also has work in the show. Works and installations will be on view at 17 museums, galleries, venues and public spaces around New Orleans.

Read the article and view additional photos on the Gambit website.

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“[P.4 is] an event that will turn the city into a major arts destination for residents and visitors.�

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“There’s no place like New Orleans,” says Trevor Schoonmaker, the artistic director of Prospect.4, the fourth edition of the biennial-turned-triennial contemporary art event in the Louisiana city, to launch this November (16 November-25 February 2018). The theme of this edition, the Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, is a nod to the city’s waterfront environment and its cultural history as the birthplace of jazz; the jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp called this art a triumph of the human spirit, a lily that grows “in spite of the swamp”, Schoonmaker explains (also adding the flower’s significance as a symbol of enlightenment in both Buddhism and Hinduism). The idea is “beautiful metaphor for overcoming difficulties”, he says. Prospect.4 is not a contemporary art event that happens to be held in New Orleans, but an event that addresses this unique city’s identity. It will be spread across the city in 17 venues, including institutions like the Louisiana State Museum and even public transportation (such as an immersive work on a streetcar by the Baltimore-born, Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams). Although the event has a global outlook, with around 25 countries represented on the roster of 73 artists and duos, the participants were chosen with a focus in mind, says Schoonmaker: they hail from places that relate New Orleans city, whether they are from the city and its surroundings (such as the New Orleans-born, New York) or from places that relate to the city’s history (such as Zineb Sedira, who now lives in London but comes from France, the colonial power that founded the city). Several themes addressed in works in the biennial reflect the history, geography and culture of the city, which celebrates the tercentennial of its founding as Nouvelle Orléans by the French in 1718. The environment and ecology, for instance, are major concerns in the city, which is located in the Mississippi River Delta and was devastated by flooding during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Mark Dion will create an installation that looks like a real field station for studying the Mississippi River. Race and identity will be explored by artists

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such as Kara Walker, who is making a work in Algiers Point that deals with to the history of the area, where slaves were once quarantined upon arrival in New Orleans. While visiting the neighbourhood, she was struck by a tour steamboat that played Dixieland music, Schoonmaker says, and the work will respond to this. She has teamed up with the jazz pianist Jason Moran for this new commission, one of several commissions to address the city’s importance to the history of music. Collages that the late jazz great Louis Armstrong—a New Orleans native—who made the works on the covers for his reel-toreel tapes, have been loaned by the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens for an exhibition at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. There will also be a tribute to Barkley Hendricks, who was making works for Prospect.4 at the time of his sudden death in April, which remain unfinished. Instead, the event will mount an exhibition of around ten of his large-scale portraits back to the 1970s, many of which were tracked down from private collections. Other artists in Prospect.4—which aims for diversity, Schoonmaker says—include the Nigeria-born, Los Angeles-based Njideka Akunyili Crosby; the Tokyo-born, New York-based Yoko Ono, and the Bogota Colombia-born, Brooklyn-based Maria Berrio.

Read the article on The Art Newspaper website.

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The artist Kara Walker — whose monumental sphinx, “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby,” wowed critics and clogged Instagram feeds in 2014 — will unveil a new public art project this fall as part of the contemporary art triennial Prospect New Orleans, the exhibition’s organizers announced. “Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp,” as this iteration of the triennial is called, will be open Nov. 18 through Feb. 25 in New Orleans, and will coincide with the city’s 300th birthday celebrations. The triennial’s roster features 73 artists from the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Africa, Europe and Asia. More than 30 of them will create works specifically for the exhibition, which is spread around 17 venues including institutions (the New Orleans Museum of Art) and public spaces (Crescent Park on the Mississippi River). Ms. Walker’s contribution will be at Algiers Point, where a ferry will take visitors to an installation she created for a riverboat calliope — a pipe organ evocative of old circuses and steamboats — with the MacArthur-winning jazz pianist Jason Moran. Additional site-specific works include a multimedia installation for the Riverfront Streetcar Line by Derrick Adams, and a piece by Mark Dion about the ecology of the Mississippi River and its delta. Yoko Ono will also be featured (her contribution will be released at a later date), and collage works by Louis Armstrong, who was a native of New Orleans, will be on view at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Prospect New Orleans began in 2008 as a biennial, but budget problems forced the event’s organizers to rebrand it as a triennial with the third edition in 2014.

Read the article on the New York Times website.

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On a steamy morning in mid-July, artist Naama Tsabar was in New Orleans to survey locations for an upcoming installation in the Prospect. 4 triennial this fall. Known for what her website describes as “sensually driven” performances and installation, Tsabar incorporates more senses than just sight in her art. It’s as much about sound and sensation as it is about visuals. For her Prospect piece, Tsabar is planning to create a site-specific installation in a public space in New Orleans that will incorporate a performance component, which will take place over the opening weekend of the exhibition in November. The piece will be the latest in Tsabar’s “Composition” series, previous iterations of which have taken place at Art Basel in Miami and at the High Line in New York City. “In these works, I commission pieces from different songwriters and work with local musicians,” said Tsabar. “I get very different songs back, depending on who’s writing them. But they all work together as a whole.” Raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tsabar is currently living in New York City. Her past experience as a punk musician and bartender inform much of her work. Pieces like “Barricade” and “Guitar Series” use unconventional microphone setups and custom musical instruments to interrogate and expand the concept of traditional performance and the relationships between performer and audience. Her “Gaffer Series” incorporates gaffer tape to create sculptural relief-like records of the performance setups that bands use on stage, while “Sweat” transforms arrangements of

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liquor bottles into charged tableaus reminiscent of barricades, I.V. drips and Molotov cocktails. Tsabar describes the Prospect piece as a “live sculptural field” that takes as its central component a number of female musicians — guitar players, bass players, drummers and vocalists — standing atop individual amplifiers as they perform a series of songs which each share the same musical composition, scale (“usually C major,” said Tsabar), and beat structure. “The amplifier is both a pedestal or plinth for the performer, as well as a sound source for what they’re performing,” said Tsabar. As individual spectators move among and between the musicians, different aspects of the compositions become more prominent, making spectators integral to the structure of the piece itself. “In their movements through the field, viewers take the songs apart and put them back together,” said Tsabar. “The viewer gets to choose their own experience, and each viewer will have a unique and specific experience within the field depending where they choose to walk.” Tsabar was still in the process of vetting locations for the piece during her recent visit, mentioning public areas in the Warehouse District, the Central Business District and Mid-City as possible venues. (The eventual location will be announced in advance of Prospect.4’s public opening on Nov. 18.) Tsabar will also be exhibiting pieces from her “Work on Felt” series as part of Prospect. 4 curator Trevor Schoonmaker’s main exhibition. Seemingly minimalistic in form, the pieces incorporate strings and microphones that will become “activated” by the viewer’s presence and participation. But it’s her newest “Composition” piece which will present the most challenges between now and November — and which due to its public and participatory nature promises to be the most intriguing for viewers. “The piece really responds to the architecture that it’s performed in, so that’s why it’s so important for me to find the specific site for it here,” said Tsabar. “New Orleans has such a rich and complicated history as far as public spaces are concerned, and I think it’s important for the piece to reflect that.” Prospect. 4 New Orleans: The Lotus In Spite Of The Swamp opens citywide Nov. 18. For more information, visit

Read the article on The Advocate website.

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Die Musik von New Orleans beinhaltet viele verschiedene Stilrichtungen die sich oft an alte Traditionen anlehnen. Als Erstes denkt man natürlich an Jazz, denn man sieht die Stadt als ihren Geburtsort an. Die Jazz Tradition von New Orleans stellt sich in verschiedenen Formen dar, mit Variationen vom frühesten Dixieland, über Blues bis hin zu anderen Formen wie Funk und Hip Hop. Die Stadt war über die Jahrhunderte so vielen verschiedenen Ländern und Kulturen ausgesetzt dass sich ein reiches kulturelles Klima gebildet hat welches sich in den letzten Jahren auch in der Kunst widergespiegelt hat. Als im Sommer 2005 der Sturm Katrina die Stadt fast ganz unter Wasser begrub, und mit sich einen bisher nicht verzeichneten Schaden anrichtete, stellten sich viele Fragen bezüglich des Wiederaufbaus und der eigentlichen Stadtgeschichte, sowohl die der kulturellen Ungleichheiten. Dan Cameron, ein international renommierter Kurator und Jazzliebhaber, besuchte die Stadt im Frühling 2006, um an einer Konferenz über die Rolle der Kunst und der Künstler am Wiederaufbau der Stadt teilzunehmen. Als Kurator der Taipei Biennale und der Istanbul Biennale hatte Cameron persönlich erfahren können welche finanziellen und kulturellen Vorteile solche Ausstellungen in den Herbergsstädten haben können, und erkannte dass die Vereinigten Staaten bis zu diesem Zeitpunkt überhaupt keine Biennale hatte, die eventuell mit europäischen, asiatischen oder südamerikanischen Veranstaltungen zu vergleichen wäre. Die Idee der New Orleans Biennale war geboren, denn Katrina’s schwerwiegende Schäden stellten einen interessanten und nahrhaften Boden für ein solches Projekt dar. In Zusammenarbeit mit der Philanthropisten Toby Devan Lewis entstand Prospect New Orleans. Prospect 1 war die erste Ausstellung die 81 Künstler in 24 verschiedenen Orten der Stadt ausstellte und von Workshops und pädagogischen Veranstaltungen begleitet wurde. Seitdem ist die Biennale stetig gewachsen und wird in diesem Herbst ihren vierten Auftritt haben. Unter dem Titel ‘Prospect 4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp’ (oder kurz gesagt P.4) werden von November 2017 bis Februar 2018 73 lokale, nationale und internationale Künstler ihre Werke präsentieren und die Traditionen der Stadt (Kunst, Kultur und Musik) miteinander vereinen. Da 2017 mit dem 300. Geburtstag der Stadt New Orleans übereinstimmt, wird besonders viel Wert auf Künstler gelegt, die mit der Stadt und Ihrer Geschichte einen Zusammenhang haben und/oder darüber berichten, wie zum Beispiel Projekte und Werke die das Konzept von Global South erfassen und weiterverarbeiten.

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Der Titel der Biennale ist an der Lotosblume inspiriert die dafür bekannt ist in Moorgebieten und Schmutzwassern zu gedeihen und aufzublühen. Seine Fähigkeit Schmutz von sich zu weisen lässt den Lotos in vielen Kulturen zum Sinnbild für Reinheit, Treue, Schöpferkraft und Erleuchtung werden. Es erinnert uns daran dass Kunst aus der Tiefe von Schwierigkeiten und Desolation Kraft schöpfen und neues Licht bringen kann. Wie in keiner anderen Stadt Amerikas ist Musik und Kunst ein so synkretisches und synthetisches Thema, und die reiche Vielfalt von New Orleans ist in einer langen Geschichte der menschlichen Interaktionen verwurzelt, einschließlich der Kolonisation, des transatlantischen Sklavenhandels, der Wellen der Migration und der Verschiebung und des Golfküstenhandels, der von der Position der Stadt als der größte Hafen des amerikanischen Südens getragen wird. Viele Künstler in Prospect 4 erforschen verwandte Themen und verbinden sie mit zeitgenössischen Geographien und Kulturen auf der ganzen Welt. Während die teilnehmenden Künstler eine breite Palette internationaler Perspektiven präsentieren werden, wollen die Werke und Ausstellungen mit der Stadt New Orleans - ästhetisch, musikalisch, kulturell, geistig, historisch und umweltfreundlich - in Resonanz treten. Die Biennale zielt auf eine erhöhte Dichte und Verknüpfung zwischen ihren rund zwanzig Veranstaltungsorten, von großen Museen bis zu öffentlichen Standorten, verbunden durch gekennzeichnete Pfade die die Navigation der Stadt erleichtern werden. Prospect 4 wünscht sich dass die Besucher eine einzigartige Erfahrung von der reichen und vielfältigen Kultur von New Orleans erhalten werden. Die Biennale wird am 18. November eröffnen und bis zum 25. Februar zu sehen sein.

Read the article on the Wall Street International website.

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Earlier this year, the great American portrait painter Barkley L. Hendricks died at the age of 72. The news was particularly devastating because Hendricks had just returned to portraiture after a long, twodecade break from painting stylish black men and women in ways the art world had never seen before. He was even set to exhibit new works at this fall’s “Prospect.4: The Lotus In Spite of the Swamp.” (The New Orleans-based triennial will now be showing his work from the 1970s.) His sudden death has produced a yearning among many to see more of his art and measure his legacy. That’s why the Bowdoin College Museum of Art curator, Joachim Homann, decided to convince two private collectors to lend the museum five paintings by Hendricks, four of which have never been seen publicly before, for a tribute show at the museum titled “Barkley Hendricks: ‘Let’s Make Some History.’” Born in 1945 in North Philadelphia, Hendricks embarked on a formative trip to Europe in 1966 as a student at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. (He would later receive his undergraduate degree and a Masters of Fine Arts in painting from Yale University.) During that trip, a slew of Old Master and early Modern paintings in European museums made a strong impression on the young artist. But before Anthony van Dyck, Diego Velázquez, and Paul Cézanne, he had encountered Nina Simone and Miles Davis and the audiences they played to. Hendricks once called Davis “the epitome of being cool.” So the artist began to mix the three influences—the attitude of musicians like Simone and Davis, the iconic style of old world European painting, and the everyday black folks he knew from the neighborhood or saw strutting through the streets—in a distinct visual style that has been referred to as “cool realism.” Works like his 1974 oil What’s Going On, titled after Marvin Gaye’s smooth 1971 protest album, often show black figures, en vogue or nude, against flat, bright monochrome backdrops. The four portraits and one still life on display in “Barkley Hendricks: ‘Let’s Make Some History’” were all painted early in Hendricks’s career. Toast of Amos (1966) is the earliest work on

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display. It shows a young student, teasingly nicknamed “Toast” because of the shade of his skin, fashionably sporting a long side part in his closely cropped brown hair. Set against an olive green background, he wears a woolly red turtleneck and blue cardigan; his eyes are cast downward behind circular thin frames as if he’s reading a book. Hendricks portrays a dynamic subject who is complexly layered. He is pensive, stylish, and intellectual. Before Hendricks’s Toast, black subjects like him were hard to find in art. The artist was adamant that his work was not political and that he painted “personal joy and enlightenment,” but his early works manifested a new, liberating way of seeing the black body on canvas. Toast is not a stand-in for a cause—which was typical of the art of the Black Aesthetics Movement— but a self-possessed individual. As Hendricks wrote in a 2008 essay, “How cool is that?” The picture of Toast illustrates the artist’s talent for exploring race by employing elements of 1950s abstraction, street photography, and touches of Old Master techniques such as chiaroscuro, thereby imbuing his figures with a strong physical presence. A similar cocktail of influences is present in Hendricks’s 1976 painting Northern Lights, a study in three poses of a black, disco-inflected Bostonian man, depicted against a muted grey background. He wears a green trench coat and matching wide brim hat. “Someone once referred to the figure I did in the Northern Lights painting as a pimp,” wrote Hendricks in his exhibition catalogue essay for “Birth of the Cool,” his first career retrospective, which took place at the Nasher Museum of Art in 2008. “It was his big hat and large fur-collared coat that was behind that assessment. I said I once saw Ronald Reagan in the same large fur-collared coat. Did that make him a pimp?” The two paintings are indicative of the style of large-scale portraiture that Hendricks became known for in the years that followed, and which was a critical influence on artists such as Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, and Rashid Johnson, as well as his students at Connecticut College, where he served as Professor Emeritus of Studio Art. These portraits belong to the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Tate Modern, among other institutions. Hendricks contributed not only to the representation of black men in art, but also to the portrayal of black women. His 1975 tondo Sister Lucasdepicts a nude black female with a hand on her hip and hair tied back underneath a colorful headscarf. She stands alone, self assured, in a sea of purple. What does the painting say about this ordinary woman, and black femininity more broadly? With nothing in the background to draw attention away, she is the sole focus of the viewer’s eye. For an artist who is well-known for nude self portraits like Brilliantly Endowed (Self-Portrait) (1977), the presentation of Sister Lucas shows that Hendricks also deeply considered the black female form—and that he sought to counter disempowering representations of black men and women and art’s overwhelming championing of whiteness as the only celebration of corporeality, spirituality, and truth. Hendricks’s paintings established that, in art and life, black people are as worthy of being seen as they are. Despite Hendricks’s explicitly apolitical stance, he did create a few paintings that took a clear political position. Created for his last ever solo show while the artist was alive, at Jack Shainman Gallery in 2016, Roscoe (2016) shows a man wearing a shirt that says, “Fuck Fox News.” Another, the portrait FTA(1968), whose title is an acronym for “Fuck the Army,” is also on display at Bowdoin. It’s the

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only work in the show that has been seen publicly before, having been shown at the Nasher retrospective, which was curated by the artist’s longtime friend and the museum’s chief curator, Trevor Schoonmaker. Homann points out, however, that when Schoonmaker presented it, he did not give an explanation of the letters FTA. “I think it adds important context,” he says. FTA was painted in 1968 after the artist was drafted into the New Jersey National Guard during what Hendricks called “the corruptness of the Vietnam War.” The work reflects the anxiety and betrayal that many black men who served felt about potentially dying for a country that resisted the Civil Rights Movement. Also on view at Bowdoin, the 1967 still life Star Spangled Chitlins depicts an American flag spilling out of a brown chair. It’s another in which Hendricks intimates a subtle political message: the idea that the American flag, all crumpled up, looked like chitlins, a stew made from the bowels of pigs (considered the worst cut of meat) that was historically eaten by slaves. The dish is now considered an African-American Thanksgiving delicacy. Here, Hendricks seems to both celebrate and abominate America. “Barkley Hendricks: ‘Let’s Make Some History’” is mounted in a gallery across from another exhibition featuring some of the museum’s vast collection of federalist era portraiture. In the doorway, connecting the galleries, one can see two works: Hendricks’s Northern Lights and Robert Feke’s painting Portrait of Brigadier General Samuel Waldo (c. 1748–50). The black man from Boston and the white man of colonial America are both brilliantly costumed—as it turns out, quite similarly. Despite the time and space that separates them, they stare at each other as free men would. This conversation between the two artists and their subjects conveys the power of representation in the canon of American portraiture, and indeed speaks volumes of the history that Barkley L. Hendricks made, painting black Americans with such a radical, equalizing coolness.

Read the article on the Artsy website.

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Prospect, New Orleans’s city-wide contemporary art festival, debuted in 2008 after Hurricane Katrina and quickly established itself as a critical event on the national art circuit. This year’s iteration of the biennial-turned-triennial opens to the public on November 18, and is curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, chief curator and curator of contemporary art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Titled The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, Prospect.4 will feature seventythree artists from around the world, presented in seventeen venues across the city. Schoonmaker spoke with Lauren Ross about various aspects of envisioning and organizing “P.4” — from the value of Prospect to New Orleans to the artists selected, and the logistics of making it all happen. Lauren Ross: Let’s start with the poetic title “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp.” Can you elaborate on its significance? Trevor Schoonmaker: Prospect.4 finds inspiration in the lotus plant. The title is evocative of New Orleans’s natural environment, but even more importantly it symbolically references the state of the world today. The aquatic perennial takes root in the fetid but nutrient-rich mud of swamps, its beautiful bloom flourishing untainted above the murky water. The flower’s grace is inextricably connected to the oozing, noisome swamp, a visual reminder that redemption exists in ruin, and creativity in destruction. Viewed as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment in Buddhism and Hinduism, the lotus flower suggests the possibility of rising above trying circumstances and overcoming arduous challenges. I was further drawn to the metaphor after reading a quote from the politically engaged jazz saxophonist who in 1970 said: “Jazz is a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit, not its degradation. It is a lily in spite of the swamp.” The lotus reminds us that, from the depths of difficulty and desolation, art brings the invisible to light. Prospect was first conceived in 2006 as a direct response to the devastation Hurricane Katrina inflicted upon New Orleans and the region. Now that more than a decade has passed, how has the urgency of that impulse changed or shifted, if at all? Hurricane Katrina was the catalyst for the founding of Prospect, but both Prospect and the city of New Orleans have moved forward from that moment and narrative. I think the initial concrete impact of Prospect is that it has helped bring more attention from the national and international art worlds to New Orleans, which in turn has helped galvanize and build a stronger visual arts community in the city. You have stated that P.4 will put emphasis on both the Global South and the countries of origin of the people who have shaped New Orleans over its history. Could you elaborate on these themes? How does this relate to the notion among some theorists that America is increasingly resembling a Third World country because of the growing economic disparity and disappearance of the middle class?

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The ecology, displacement, and racial and economic inequity are important issues in New Orleans that help connect it to the Global South. The most important element for me in exploring these themes has been the selection of the artists themselves. Where they are from and where they have been focusing their work is just a starting point. To help enhance historical and cultural connections to New Orleans, I’ve invited artists mostly from the Americas (including the Caribbean), Africa, and Europe. But even more so, I have looked for artists, regardless of cultural origin, whose work I feel will resonate within the city of New Orleans by way of their artistic process, subject matter or materials. New Orleans has such a unique cultural hybridity that is evidenced in its customs, food, music, architecture, language, and spirituality. I want the artists’ work to feel at home in that context and some artists have a sensibility that lends itself to that. Rina Banerjee, for example, makes work that resonates with numerous cultures across the Global South, and her maximalist use of materials is fitting for a city where carnival culture is so prevalent. On the same day in May that Prospect held a press event in New Orleans, the city’s mayor, Mitch Landrieu, delivered a remarkable speech on why four of the city’s Confederate monuments were being removed. How might some of the projects in Prospect respond to such controversial issues and their history? Mayor Landrieu delivered a powerful speech that was very timely not only for Prospect.4 and the Tricentennial celebration of the founding of New Orleans but for our country as a whole. The conversation and tension surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments isn’t unique to New Orleans. Similar monuments were erected and stand all across the American South and beyond. Still, I don’t see it as a Southern issue, but a deeply American one. I am less concerned about this particular moment and the statues themselves than in how they are a reflection of the systemic racism in our country, from north to south, and coast to coast. Several artists in Prospect.4, such as Kara Walker and Hank Willis Thomas, make work that eloquently speaks to racism in our country and other parts of the world. Kiluanji Kia Henda responded to the Portuguese colonial monuments in his native Angola by asking young creative friends to perform on top of the empty pedestals where images of oppression once stood. That type of connection between the local and the global is what excites me. Prospect is the only U.S. biennial/triennial that is spread throughout a city rather than limited to arts institutions. But in many ways, New Orleans is an unlikely candidate for such an event. What benefit does this have for New Orleans? New Orleans is seemingly an unlikely candidate for a contemporary art triennial because, between its rich music traditions and the Mardi Gras carnival season, much of the cultural funding for the arts, as well as the energy and attention of the public is already spoken for. Additionally, Prospect grew out of the vision of individuals rather than being a civic initiative, or even an institutional initiative, which is unusual for a biennial/triennial. It has no bricks and mortar, no home base, museum or gallery of its own, and so it collaborates with local institutions, organizations, individuals and spaces all across the city, which creates for a dynamic experience. Perhaps most importantly, New Orleans is like no other city in the world, and is completely unique as an American city. It is the most European and the most African city in the United States. It is frequently called the northernmost Caribbean city and is still distinctly of and in the American South. Being there is a visceral experience and its rich history and culture provide boundless inspiration for artists from all over the world. In turn, local, national and global artists can help bring attention to issues that are central to the progress of the city and its people. Aside from the music and carnival cultures, I was also referring to the city’s economic challenges; it has a higher-thannational-average unemployment rate, and lower-than-national-average wages, so, it seems to be a more challenging location for a triennial than a place with a greater flow of money and resources. And yet, the city’s ongoing experiences with economic inequality perhaps make an event like this more urgent and relevant. Would you agree? I do agree. It means that many of the critical issues that P.4 artists are addressing globally in their work—social justice, economic and racial inequality and so on—are issues that are also central to the wellbeing of the communities of New Orleans. So, holding a triennial in New Orleans is arguably more meaningful than it might be in many other cities. It also, as you noted,

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isn’t a particularly wealthy city compared to other cities where the visual arts thrive, so there is the real challenge of fundraising for a contemporary art triennial. There have been several high-profile instances of artists entering communities as outsiders and making missteps, despite what I believe are good intentions to address local histories and conflicts. Sam Durant at the Walker is the latest example. How are you working with artists to ensure that doesn’t happen? It is something that I have always been sensitive to, but you can never really ensure that this doesn’t happen to you. I think it starts with the artist selection – working with artists I feel already possess and have demonstrated a genuine cultural sensitivity. No one can become an expert in a place overnight so that should never be the expectation. But at the same time, neither I nor the P.4 artists are seeking to speak for the city and people of New Orleans. Nor would we be capable of doing so. It is more about drawing connections to other regions around the world and enabling people to see themselves in someone or someplace else. In this particular case, I have been coming to New Orleans since 1994, so I have some prior familiarity and experience that is helpful and perhaps even more importantly, my professional and personal interests happen to be well aligned with the city (music, marine ecology, African and African-American culture, social justice, etc.). What about the audience for Prospect? It comprises locals and cultural tourists. How does Prospect reassure people who might be inclined to think that the works are “not for them” and make them feel welcome? Both audiences are critical to the longevity of Prospect. Bringing art into public spaces and outside of museums and galleries is one way to engage new audiences or those who may feel art isn’t for them. Most of the P.4 artists make work that speaks to daily life, think about community, and make work that is socially conscious, if not directly socially engaged. Lastly, there is a great education and public programs team that works closely with the New Orleans communities. How will you measure the success of P.4, besides attendance figures? I don’t know the magic formula, but it has to be some combination of qualitative and quantitative — not just numbers and figures but also who experiences it and how they respond. Interest and attendance from both New Orleans residents and outside art world visitors is important, as is critical press from local, national, and international sources. What is your ideal take-away for a visitor to Prospect? The ideal take-away could vary, based on a visitor’s background and perspective. For art world professionals, I hope that there are discoveries, surprises, and deep engagement. For those who have not spent a lot of time with contemporary art, an ideal encounter would involve finding relevancy to their lives and issues that are important to them. Ultimately, I hope more people agree that contemporary art is not for a select few or the elite, but that the best work speaks to all of us on some level. My wish is that locals and visitors, newcomers and insiders, feel that Prospect.4 presents thought-provoking work that is relevant to the moment that we are living in, as well as meaningful to the city of New Orleans. You have assembled an impressive advisory committee of artists and curators. Can you discuss their role? They are a group of seven friends and colleagues whose work I admire and whose judgment I value. The primary reason for setting up the committee was to have trusted eyes and ears in other parts of the world who could recommend artists for me to look at and consider for potential inclusion in Prospect.4. They were also each asked to contribute in some way to the P.4 catalog and opening programming. Lastly, they are ambassadors for Prospect who help spread the word and encourage people to visit. Let’s discuss the artists you have selected. The list appears to be a deliberate mix of celebrated names and quite a few who are lesser known, even to contemporary art-savvy audiences. Why was this mix important to you? That’s the type of blend that I prefer and that I’m comfortable with. If you look at previous group shows of mine (Black President, The Record, Southern Accent, etc.), the artist mix of Prospect.4 is close to the same combination I’ve always incorporated – ranging from highly celebrated names to those showing on a big stage for the first time. I am much more interested in artists’ work than their resume. I do happen to identify with the underdog and have an eye for those who have not yet received the attention I feel they deserve. I really enjoy helping shine the light on some lesser-known artists, but I still admire and like artists who are greatly accomplished. My interest has more to do with an artist’s sensibility than their level of fame or lack thereof.

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For the artists in the exhibition who will be working in New Orleans for the first time, how did they respond to this challenge? Way more artists than I could have imagined are working in New Orleans for the first time. That was one of my more surprising discoveries while researching artists. So many artists whose works seem ideally suited for New Orleans have never shown there or even visited the city before. Yet, when New Orleans was mentioned, across the board, they have been truly excited by the potential, by the city’s culture and history. It has a tremendous mystique. And it is still a destination, not a likely stopover on the way to someplace else. Could you share an example of an artist who came to the city for the first time, and what impact it had? Any cases in which the artist shifted from initial thoughts, or experimented in a new way because of what he/she/they witnessed there? Absolutely. We have brought a lot of artists to visit the city for inspiration, research, and touring potential sites. Part of the process has been taking artists to neighborhoods and places they likely would not have ventured to otherwise. For example, Kara Walker had only been to the city once a long time ago, and not in a professional capacity, so she was looking and listening from a different perspective. We took the ferry across the Mississippi from the French Quarter to the neighborhood of Algiers on the West Bank. There, in New Orleans’s second-oldest neighborhood, we discussed the dark history of how Algiers Point had been the place where African slaves were first quarantined before being sent across the river to be sold. While we walked around Kara heard the drifting sound of “Dixie” playing from the calliope of the Natchez Steamboat, a tourist boat that cruises along the river. She has responded by creating her own custom calliope, with a score of black resistance music created in partnership with jazz pianist Jason Moran, and housed in a metal covered wagon designed by Kara with her loaded antebellum imagery. We’re placing the work outdoors near the river. The extraordinary and unappreciated painter Barkley Hendricks passed away in April. He was a close friend of yours and an artist whose work you championed for many years. You were already working on his inclusion in Prospect when he passed, and you are organizing a tribute to him at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Can you talk about that? Barkley’s passing was a real tragedy for the art community and a great loss for me personally. He was painting new work for P.4, which was unfortunately unrealized, but we had already begun seeking out other portraits that we were unable to include in his painting survey “Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool”. These are twelve extraordinary oil portraits from 1970 to 2016 that are largely unknown because most are coming from private collections. The selection will be installed at the New Orleans Museum of Art and will indeed function as a tribute to Barkley. I’m grateful for the opportunity to show so much of his work there. I’m curious to hear about the logistics of organizing Prospect, and how it meshes with your other professional activities. How much time have you spent “on the ground” in NOLA since being appointed? I have traveled to New Orleans quite a lot over the past two and a half years … roughly once a month for long stretches, staying for somewhere between three and eight days. Weekdays are ideal so that I can be home with my family on the weekend. Your P.4 duties overlap with your fulltime position as chief curator at the Nasher. How do you juggle these two positions simultaneously? It is intense—a challenge even greater than I imagined—but I’m trying to do the very best that I can. The Nasher is my fulltime job in Durham, North Carolina, where I live with my wife and two young daughters, and I travel in and out of New Orleans and other cities regularly for Prospect work. Both my family and the museum where I have worked for the past eleven years have been very supportive, which makes my doing Prospect possible. I am indebted to Nasher director Sarah Schroth, who has been encouraging and has provided me with the flexibility necessary to take on another demanding role. For the first two years of the process I was also working on a big show called “Southern Accent,” which opened at the Nasher last fall and is now on view at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville. Once that show was realized I was able to shift more of my

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curatorial attention to Prospect.4. I am extremely grateful to the Nasher staff for their continued support and advice. Several colleagues have very generously been working with me on producing different aspects of Prospect.4. And, of course, Prospect has a talented and dedicated team on the ground in New Orleans. Still, my biggest, most important and most challenging job is as a father. Being away from my family so frequently has been the most difficult part. As much as I love the opportunity that Prospect presents, I could only entertain it because I know it’s a finite position. This level of juggling isn’t sustainable. Lauren Ross is a curator and writer based in Richmond, Virginia.

Read the article on the Burnaway website.

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Read the online article on the New Orleans Magazine website.

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Prospect.4 is the fourth iteration of Prospect New Orleans, a citywide triennial of contemporary art that presents the work of local, national and international artists in unique venues. … “I am honored to play a small role in bringing world class contemporary art to New Orleans,” says Schoonmaker, “while also introducing more of the international art world to New Orleans and its dynamic arts community.”

Read the online article on the New Orleans Magazine website.

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Read the article on the Artnet website.

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Group Shows In 1998, the Asia Society brought the first major shipment of Chinese contemporary art to New York City. Some of the artists came, too: They had no money, were exhibiting in one another’s Beijing apartments and dodging post-Tiananmen censors. A few years later, China’s art market exploded; artists (a few) were living like emperors; and a wily government was veering between cracking down on art and promoting it. “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World” at the Guggenheim Museum will tell the tale. (Oct. 6-Jan. 7) A group show I’m especially looking forward to is “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” at the New Museum (Sept. 27-Jan. 21). Queer — sexual identity beyond body parts and bed partners — is here, and here to stay, and has made ambiguous the new logical. The show will be in the estimable hands of the New Museum curator Johanna Burton, and the 40 artists are a hot crew. I’m also putting money on a smaller show, “Speech/Acts,” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (Sept. 13-Dec. 23), which takes contemporary black poetry as both its theme and its material. That’s dynamite matter to work with, and there will be six terrific artists — Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Steffani Jemison, Tony Lewis, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Martine Syms — on the job. Finally, in the group-show department, Los Angeles has some competition from “Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp,” the fourth iteration of an exhibition that stretches over all of New Orleans, and this year dovetails with the city’s 300th anniversary celebrations. The director, Trevor Schoonmaker, collaborating with seven artist-curators, has assembled an international roster to infiltrate a city that is already an extraordinary work of environmental art. (Nov. 18–Feb. 25)

Read the article on the New York Times website.

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Read the article on The New York Times website.

“Prospect.4” Various venues, New Orleans November 18–February 25 The fourth edition of the New Orleans triennial is called “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp” and overseen by Trevor Schoonmaker, chief curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University—focuses on the history of New Orleans, bringing in flavors from the “Global South”: Central and Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Highlights include a new installation from Derrick Adams; collages by hometown hero Louis Armstrong at the New Orleans Jazz Museum; and a highly anticipated public work by Kara Walker, a collaboration with musician Jason Moran that includes a riverboat calliope, the classic New Orleans waterborne steam-powered organ. As the city enters its tricentennial year, that sounds like the right way to say happy birthday. —N.F.

Read the entire list on the ARTnews website.

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“An expert in African and global contemporary art, Schoonmaker is a natural fit for a city transitioning from the Old South to the improved South – one where gorgeous old plinths that once supported Confederate statues away new monuments telling new stories to new generations. For Prospect.4, Schoonmaker has inverted the usual artist ratio: The roster is 75 percent people of color and women and 25 percent white men.”

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Its focus on the Global South also may reflect a realization that those long over looked cultures represent the art world’s new frontier as places where innovative ideas and new visionary possibilities are emerging at the time when mainstream American and European art sometimes seem less dynamic than in the past.

Read the online article on the Gambit website.

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“A biennial is never going to change a city,” says Schoonmaker, “but it can bring to the forefront issues that are central to a place, and facilitate much-needed discussion.”

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Read the article on the CBS website.

Azaceta in Louisiana. Large-scale works by Luis Cruz Azaceta are included in four group shows in Louisiana arts institutions. At the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, the 8 x 8–foot painting Do Not Kill Here Any Time from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. (2017) is included in Louisiana Contemporary Presented by the Helis Foundation, on view through October 23. In Lafayette, Tina Freeman: Artists Spaces pairs Freeman’s photographs of artists’ work spaces with artworks that were created there. Here, Azaceta’s work is Aleppo’s Blood (2017), an angular abstraction in shades of red. At the Hilliard University Art Museum, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, through May 5. Also in Lafayette, Art I-10 showcases three Azaceta canvases, including Heroes’ Tale 2 (2016), Wall, and A Question of Color(both 2017). On view through February 27, Art I-10—like Tina Freeman: Artists Spaces—is presented in conjunction with the New Orleans Triennial, Prospect 4. The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, opening November 18.And finally, Azaceta’s Museum Plan for New Orleans (2006–08) was recently added to the New Orleans Museum of Art’s holdings, as part of the Arthur Roger Collection recently given to the museum. Included in a show that closed in early September, the work remains on view as part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Read the online version on the Cultured website. Read the article on the Cuban Art News website

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Prospect.4, the latest iteration of Prospect New Orleans'international art triennial, opens Nov. 18 on the cusp of an auspicious event: the 300th anniversary of the city's founding. As befits America's most novel city, Prospect.4 promises to be the city's most exotic triennial art event in several ways. The title, The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, sets the tone. Most of us know about swamps, but the lotus flower evokes a whiff of mystery as an ancient Hindu and Buddhist icon of enlightenment. Prospect.4 Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker, director of Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art, calls it "a beautiful bloom flourishing untainted above the murky water," a fitting symbol for our natural environment as well as the resilience of our city for the way it reminds us that "redemption exists in ruin, and creativity in destruction." As a showcase of global and local creativity, Prospect.4 will feature work by 73 artists from around the globe presented at 17 venues across the city. Participants range from art stars Yoko Ono and Kara Walker — whose massive, sphinxlike Marvelous Sugar Baby sculpture in an abandoned Brooklyn sugar mill was New York's mega art magnet of 2014 — to less familiar figures such as Kiluanji Kia Henda, who commandeered empty pedestals once topped by colonial monuments in his native Angola, and Monique Verdin, whose multimedia focus on Louisiana's unique coastal ecology is inspired by her Houma Native American tribal heritage. This emphasis on art and artists who, as Schoonmaker says, "engage with the Amer- ican South and the 'Global South'" — the emerging cultures of Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean — reflects a choice to emphasize art that "resonates within New Orleans' unique culture, customs, food, music, architecture, language and spirituality." Its focus on the Global South also may reflect a realization that those long-overlooked cultures represent the art world's new frontier as places where innovative ideas and new visionary possibilities are emerging at a time when mainstream American and European art sometimes seem less dynamic than in the past. For New Orleans, the timing is serendipitous for the way it aligns America's exotic misfit city with those longoverlooked Global South places with which we have so much in common. Like those newly emergent cultures, New Orleans has long remained a place apart, at least until Hurricane Katrina caused it to be suddenly rediscovered by America and much of the rest of the world. In 2008, Prospect.1, the critically acclaimed exposition directed by renowned curator Dan Cameron, was an early product of that epochal transformation. Now, as Prospect.4 ushers in the city's 300th birthday, we are entering a new phase of an inspiring collaborative adventure in civic and cultural engagement.

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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Read the entire list on’s website.

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Genevieve Gaignard turns our expectations about race and beauty upside down. She’s known for campy, costumed self-portraits in which she masquerades as a shapeshifting cast of characters: a leopardprint clad babe with a hairspray-stiff bouffant; a young woman decked with long braids, gold hoops, and a shirt emblazoned with the words “Hoodrat Thangs.” These personas are a way for Gaignard to explore her own identity as a mixed race woman (her mother is white and her father is black)—and her struggle to come to terms with “not fitting into just one category,” she says. Since earning her MFA at Yale in 2014, Gaignard’s work has popped up in buzzy solo exhibitions at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery and the California African American Museum (CAAM), both in Los Angeles, where she lives and works. This fall, you can see her work at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Houston Center for Photography, and the Prospect New Orleans triennial, where she’ll debut a new, sitespecific installation. … Gaignard took the latter self-portrait in a house in the 7th Ward of New Orleans, where her father and much of his side of the family is from. Over the past year, as she prepares for her installation at Prospect New Orleans, she’s spent more and more time in the city, getting to know her extended family and hearing its lore. These stories will inform a new environment, with a number of mirrored elements for effect. And for the first time since she left art school, the images that decorate it will incorporate subjects other than herself.

Read the article on the Artsy website.

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One of an occasional series profiling artists in the Prospect.4 art triennial, a citywide art exhibit that opens Nov. 18 in New Orleans. For artist Wayne Gonzales, his participation in this fall’s Prospect.4 triennial represents a homecoming of sorts. Born in New Orleans in 1957 and reared in Arabi, Gonzalez attended Chalmette High School and later studied art at the University of New Orleans before striking out for New York City to make his name as an artist. But growing up in New Orleans was just as formative for that career. Subjects like the Kennedy assassination — and Jim Garrison’s subsequent New Orleans-based (mis)investigation of it — became motifs for Gonzales to explore in his work. “The Garrison investigation was a subjective reading,” said Gonzales. “That’s what art does too. I can create a whole body of work that concerns itself with subjective readings.” The connection between New Orleans and his art was also echoed on a personal level: Gonzales’ mother worked at the New Orleans Museum of Art when he was growing up. “Even though my mother worked at the museum, we weren’t really an ‘art family.' My main memories of NOMA were the blockbuster exhibitions, like King Tut. I was more interested in the way the museum pulled off these exhibitions — the machinery behind the spectacle,” said Gonzales.

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“Still, NOMA was the place I taught myself to make connections about art, to make connections that maybe weren’t quite so linear on the surface — like how you get from African art to Gauguin and Picasso.” Exploring those connections has been a hallmark of Gonzales’s work ever since. “When I showed at NOMA in 2012, (former NOMA curator) Miranda Lash made connections between my Lee Harvey Oswald pieces and (artist) John Graham’s harlequin figures. Making connections like that is what art is all about.” For Prospect.4, Gonzales will be showing a new body of work at the Ogden. It too concerns itself with a subjective reading of history and culture. “I’ve been working on some paintings based on Walker Evans photographs and Charles Sheeler — looking at differences between then and now and overlaps in landscape in places like New York City and Bethlehem, Pa.,” said Gonzales. “And for the new New Orleans project, I’m looking at places in places in south Louisiana where the Bayou Painters worked. Some of them were Barbizon-trained — painters who painted in places I could relate to, including St. Bernard Parish. So it’s almost like I came full circle.” Gonzales also believe that Prospect.4 will be a unique source of inspiration to a new generation of artists in New Orleans. “As a young artist in New Orleans, I was hungry to see things I didn't already know about,” said Gonzales. “And Prospect.4 will provide access for young artists to be stimulated by things that are going on elsewhere. It’s a chance to see how other people are looking at the world.”

Read the article on The New Orleans Advocate website.

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Prospect New Orleans is a contemporary art triennial with exhibits all over the city. Featured exhibitions include the works of local, national, and international artists in a uniquely New Orleans setting. Prospect.4 (P.4) opens to the public on Saturday, November 18 and runs through February 25, 2018. The timing aligns with the New Orleans Tricentennial celebrations, so P.4 places special emphasis on art of the Global South, including North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, and the region’s European colonial history. We spoke to Ylva Rouse, who is serving as Prospect’s Interim Director during P.4. She has been part of the Prospect team from the very beginning, when Founding Director Dan Cameron asked her to be a part of the team. “I was living in Spain and thought, ‘It must be fate!,’” she said. “Which brought me back to the city where I was born.” When asked what she was looking forward to during Prospect.4, Ylva said “I’m particularly excited to bring our visitors to the river, as for the first time we have artwork in Crescent Park, on the streetcars of the Riverside Line, on the Algiers Ferry and installed in Algiers Point.” She also recommends those visiting for P.4 begin their journey at the Welcome Center at 750 Carondelet Street to get oriented. Ylva share her favorites things about New Orleans, as well as tips on things to see and do, below.

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20 Questions with Ylva Rouse 1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined? My father. He was an uptown boy, grew up on Burthe Street, and was recruited from Tulane to work for NASA on the moon landing. 2. What first brought you to New Orleans? Touro Infirmary, where I was born. 3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans? I love Faubourg St. John, where I live, for its diversity and neighborhood feel. You can often find me at the CC’s on Esplanade with my neighbors. 4. If it’s a beautiful day, where are you going to spend it? Sailing on Lake Pontchartrain. 5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans. Still Commander’s Palace brunch. 6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot? Currently Paladar 511 in the Marigny. 7. What’s your favorite type of po-boy? Where do you get it? Oyster Po’Boy well-dressed at Parkway Tavern. 8. You’ve got friends visiting, and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them? To the levee in Holy Cross for a spectacular sunset on the river.

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9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar? R Bar on Royal St. 10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail, and where do you go to get it? Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House. 11. What’s your favorite dessert or sweet treat in the city? Anything from Shake Sugary on St. Claude. 12. Best spot to see live music? Jazz Fest is my favorite place to hear music, rain or shine! 13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band? Louis Armstrong—I am so excited that Prospect.4 will include collages made by Louis Armstrong being shown for the first time ever in New Orleans at the Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint. 14. Favorite New Orleans festival? Prospect! Every three years our city-wide triennial of contemporary art packs the city with artwork and artists, the city never feels as alive with creative energy! 15. What’s your ideal New Orleans date night? Bike Ride with my partner along the river, ending at one of the great restaurants in the Marigny. 16. What are your favorite local shops? I love all the incredible farmer’s markets throughout the city. 17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum? I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work closely with all the great institutions in our city. Parts of Prospect.4 will be at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, the Historic New Orleans Collection, and the Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint. 18. Where do you go to watch The Saints play? Watching the Saints is best at home! 19. Describe New Orleans in one word. Celebration. 20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans, and why? Everytime I come back from travelling – the smell as you come out from the terminal, the ride into town with WWOZ on the radio, and the accent that greets you.

Read the article on the website.

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Read the entire list on the Departures website.

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Read the article on the New Orleans Magazine website.

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Read the online version on the WHERE New Orleans website.

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Read the article on the New Orleans Living website.

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Read the entire list on website.

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Read the full article on the Los Angeles Times website.

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See the full article on the Hyperallergic website.

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The front lawn of the Old U.S. Mint at the foot of Esplanade Avenue has a new addition: a oneton bronze sculpture of a young black boy riding a kind of mollusk called a nautilus. The creature’s bronze antennae now arch toward the fire station across Esplanade. It will stand sentinel in that location at the edge of the French Quarter for the next three months, as part of the New Orleans-wide art exhibition Prospect.4. The sculpture’s installation Saturday morning showed the depth of work that it takes to put Prospect.4 together. All across town, installation crews and artists labored to put 250 pieces of artwork into place. The appetite for the exhibition’s art, which will dot the city, also seemed high. A stream of curious passersby began to inspect the nautilus sculpture even before the crane had lowered it into place. Rance Jefferson, 37, a forklift driver working nearby, strolled across North Peters Street during a break to get a peek. No question about the message, Jefferson said: “A black man on a snail. He’s saying that it’s been a slow process to get where we are now.”

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Pat Duplessis, 33, rubbed the sleep from his eyes and walked across Esplanade from where he had just spent the night with some of his buddies slumbering under a live oak tree on the neutral ground. “I just find it intriguing,” he said, gazing at the sculpture. Nearby, a woman leading a well-groomed toy poodle on a leash talked with a friend about the statue’s different patinas, which give the curve of the nautilus’ shell a glossy, almost mirror-like look, while an intricate top ridge is detailed like an ornate brocade that goes underneath the boy and heads toward the creature’s antennae. “It’s stunning in its intricacy,” the woman said, as the two walked away toward the river. Chris Berntsen, 32, who was part of the sculpture’s installation crew, has worked with Hank Willis Thomas, the artist, for about 10 years. He particularly likes the “fantastical” elements of the sculpture, which reminded Thomas of the city’s Mardi Gras floats. “I love that quality of it,” Berntsen said. Crane operator Landry Dupont, 60, admired the craft of the piece. “It’s a well-done little contraption,” said Dupont, whose crew typically places HVAC units on top of buildings. After he’d finished his work, Dupont stood back and puzzled over the larger meaning of what he’d just helped to deliver. He saw a message of optimism: “He’s riding him a snail. He won’t get anywhere fast, but he will get there.” Thomas' work is infused with political sensibilities about race and wealth and power. So, in some ways, it seemed as though his sculpture may have been placed intentionally at a historic crossroads, at the edge of the wealthy Quarter, across the street from where slave traders once showed off their human wares and not far from Esplanade Ridge, once a stronghold for the city’s large population of free people of color. Yet the location also was chosen for a practical reason: The ground along the river is not quite as spongy as back-of-town soil, which makes it able to support a one-ton bronze sculpture, said Emily Wilkerson, the deputy director for curatorial affairs for Prospect New Orleans. Thomas, who also does photography and film and other media, once made an exhibit of Nike "swoosh" logos superimposed onto the bodies of black men, recalling the branding of slaves by their owners. His image displayed in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., is called “Strange Fruit,” after the Billie Holiday song about lynchings of African-Americans. The image is of two black basketball players playing a game of one-on-one, but above them is a noose instead of a basketball net. Last year, Thomas helped to found For Freedoms, a "super PAC" run by artists that notably created a controversial billboard near Selma, Alabama, that showed a photo of state troopers about to descend on peaceful protesters. Across the image was the phrase “Make America Great Again,” Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. To Thomas and the PAC’s other artists, “all we could really think about as a time when America was great was when citizen heroes of the civil rights movement stood up to injustice and brutality with dignity, love, integrity and courage,” he told The Washington Post.

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Thomas was raised in a household filled with arts and activism. His mother is Deborah Willis, professor and chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His father is Hank Thomas, a longtime civil rights activist who on May 24, 1961, rode out of Montgomery, Alabama, on one of the earliest Freedom Ride buses, along with New Orleanians Jerome Smith and Doris Castle, Oretha Castle Haley’s younger sister. The New Orleans sculpture, which Thomas titled "History of Conquest," is based on “Snail with Nautilus Shell,” a delicate 8-by-10-inch piece of art that was created in 1630 from a nautilus shell and gilded silver by German artist Jeremias Ritter. It’s now in the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. On top of the creature’s shell, Ritter placed a rider, described by one exhibit guide as a “wellmodeled figure of a Nubian, enameled in black, with a dark-red and green loincloth and carrying a bow with a quiver of arrows on his back.” Other museum descriptions refer to the rider as a Moor. Both Nubians and Moors were black people who lived in North Africa. In his proposal to Prospect.4, Thomas noted that some art historians had “speculated that the snail motif was meant to symbolize the vilified, in this case ‘the Moor.’ ” Trevor Schoonmaker, Prospect.4's artistic director, recalls his excitement when Thomas proposed the idea a few years ago. “The work speaks to our current cultural climate, with so much tension, fear and animosity toward people of color and Muslims,” Schoonmaker said. The sculpture was fabricated earlier this year in China. A ship carried it to a port in California, where a crane placed it into a tractor-trailer truck for its cross-country ride to Louisiana. Early on Saturday morning, the crane truck left Pearl River carrying the sculpture. In some ways, the bronze mollusk’s long journey is emblematic for those who have worked for the last few years to create Prospect.4, which opens to the public on Nov. 18. On Friday night, registrar Linda Stubbs and her crew worked until 10 p.m. installing works at the Contemporary Art Center. They arrived early Saturday morning to oversee installation of the nautilus. From there, they headed to Crescent Park to install a 5,000-pound sculpture by artist Radcliffe Bailey that came on a wide-load truck with a police escort but had to be relocated downriver at the last minute, because the Piety Street Wharf’s boards couldn’t support the crane truck. As she stood at Crescent Park near the river, Wilkerson figured out a new solution by talking with the park’s managers and Facetiming by phone with Bailey. Wilkerson was thrilled to see another piece emerge from its wooden crate. “Because we’ve been working on it so long, each piece has intricacies that I love,” she said.

Read the article on The New Orleans Advocate website.

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The world is already taking note of next year's New Orleans Tricentennial celebration. And, New Orleans has received an early birthday present. The city has been named one of The Best Places to Go in 2018 by Frommer's Travel Guides. Pauline Frommer, Editorial Director for the Frommer guide books, says the city's birthday is just one of the reasons the city has been so honored. But, it's a big deal.

"New Orleans hit big a long time ago. But, we're really excited about your 300th anniversary celebrations. We love New Orleans, we love a party and we think that this is going to make the party even more special." "What makes a visit to New Orleans so rich is your history," says Frommer. "Around every corner is something fascinating to be learned. And we love the fact that, in the coming year, New Orleans will be spotlighting that for the 300th anniversary celebrations." "A lot of them are going to have something to do with history, which we think is a really cool concept." She notes that Mardi Gras floats in the Rex parade will each having something to do with the history of New Orleans in the last 300 years. Frommer also mentioned recent and future progress being made in the city. "We're excited about the expansion of the North Rampart streetcar line, which gets people to what is, maybe, my favorite neighborhood...the Bywater neighborhood. And, the way you're redeveloping the waterfront, we think, will really be great for both visitors and locals." Any other reasons to visit New Orleans? "Just 'cause your food is so extraordinary," says Frommer. Here's what Frommer's Travel Guide had to say about New Orleans: New Orleans, marking its 300th birthday with new riverfront parkland, a streetcar extension, and (of course) party after fabulous party. Laissez les bons temps rouler! NOLA turns 300 in 2018, and as you'd expect, it's throwing a party. Make that 160 parties, which is the number of festivals this jubilant city holds each year. For 2018, each will have a Tricentennial theme or element. So the 28 hand-painted Mardi Gras floats of the iconic Krewe of Rex will retell the history of the city from its founding through today. And the pop-up art fest Prospect 4, which covers all areas of the city with sculptures, massive murals, and more (it's like an art scavenger hunt) will adopt the city's history as its muse. New Orleans has also just completed two major projects that will make visiting here even more beignet-sweet: After decades of blocking the Mississippi River with unsightly warehouses and railroad tracks, New Orleans has planted lovely riverside parks, serene and wonderfully breezy respites from this bustling and often humid burg. Plus the North Rampart streetcar line has been extended, making it easier than ever for visitors to get from Downtown and the French Quarter to the trendy Bywater District with its galleries, clubs, and restaurants.

Read the article on The WWL website.

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Later this month, the Prospect.4 triennial will bring New Orleans the work of 73 international artists, many new to the city. But there’s one artist local audiences already know quite well — though not in the way you might expect: The Prospect.4 installation at the New Orleans Jazz Museum in the Old U.S. Mint will include a collection of collages by none other than New Orleans’ own Louis Armstrong. Prospect.4 artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker says the collages may come as a surprise to audiences who only know Armstrong as a towering presence in jazz music. “Armstrong played a critical role in the formation of that musical art form, but most people don’t know he also made beautiful collages from magazine and newspapers on top of his reel-toreel tapes,” Schoonmaker said. “These hidden gems are one of many examples of works in Prospect.4 that engage both sound and the visual.” Trumpeter and bandleader Armstrong began making collages in the early 1950s, using scrapbooks and the walls of his apartment in Queens, New York, as his canvases. But most of his collages were done on the 7-inch-square cardboard covers of his collection of reel-to-reel tapes. Armstrong’s visual art was very much of a piece with his musical experimentation. Just as his jazz improvisations synthesized elements of existing compositions, the collages combined photographs, news clippings, handwritten notes and various bits of printed ephemera. All were affixed to the boxes with different kinds of adhesive tape that became as much a part of the visual rhythm of the collages as the images themselves. The hundreds of collages that Armstrong made are currently in the collection of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, New York, which is lending 28 of them to Prospect.4 for the upcoming exhibition.

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For Armstrong, making a collage was a way of constructing a narrative. “My hobbie [sic] is to pick out the different things during what ever I read and piece them together and make a little story of my own,” wrote Armstrong in a 1953 letter to a fan. The collaged boxes complement the material on the tapes, which Armstrong would use to record selections of his own performances and pieces by other musicians he admired along with snippets of personal commentary on everything from music to race relations; conversations with family, friends, fellow musicians and fans; and background sounds from his home and backstage environments. In a way, Armstrong was an early pioneer of the mixtape culture that would coincide with the explosion of aural sampling and hip-hop several decades later. Perhaps unsurprisingly for an artist who had a healthy sense of self-regard and his own importance in musical history, Armstrong cast himself as the main subject in most of his collages, whether combining his own image with that of his wife, Lucille; a snapshot of his fellow musicians working in a recording studio; or alongside a saucy photo from a cheesecake magazine. While several of the collages have been shown previously in an exhibition organized by the Louis Armstrong House Museum in 2009 (and published in an accompanying catalog), the Prospect.4 exhibition at the New Orleans Jazz Museum is the first time they will be on view in New Orleans. Along with Armstrong’s collages, work by nine other Prospect.4 artists will be exhibited at the Old U.S. Mint: Larry Achiampong, Michael Armitage, Satch Hoyt, Rashid Johnson, Darryl Montana, Rivane Neuenschwander, Dario Robleto, Hank Willis Thomas and Peter Williams. This puts Armstrong, who died in 1971, in the company of some of the most important contemporary artists working today — and indeed, Armstrong believed that his work had an importance that transcended his own lifetime. When asked the purpose of his collages in a 1961 interview, Armstrong answered with a characteristic witty malapropism: “For posterities.” Ricky Riccardi, research director at the Louis Armstrong House Museum, sees New Orleans as the perfect venue to introduce new audiences to another dimension of Armstrong’s immense artistic legacy. “For Prospect.4, they return to Armstrong’s birthplace to tell his story,” said Riccardi in the Prospect.4 catalog. “‘For posterity’, in the place where it all began.” "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" opens citywide Nov. 18. For more information, visit **************** Collages by Louis Armstrong A Prospect.4 exhibit WHEN: Nov.18-Feb. 25 WHERE: The New Orleans Jazz Museum Old U.S. Mint

Read the article on The New Orleans Advocate website.

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Read the article on Art 21’s website.

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Prospect.4, an exhibition of avant-garde sculpture, paintings, photos, and installations by 73 artists from across the globe, opens in New Orleans on Saturday (Nov. 18). Art lovers will find Prospect shows in all of the city's major art venues, such as the New Orleans Museum of Art, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, plus other scattered locations, including outdoor sites. Prospect.4 is the latest in a series of large-scale exhibits that began with the amazing postKatrina Prospect.1 show in 2008. The 2014 show (Prospect.3) is fondly remembered for its moving selection of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat. The 2017-2018 exhibit, subtitled "The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" is meant to tie-in with New Orleans 300th anniversary and will reflect the "long history of human interactions including colonization, the transatlantic slave trade, waves of migration and displacement, and Gulf Coast trade buoyed by the city's position as the American South's largest port." The show will include vintage collages by legendary jazz great Louis Armstrong, a billboard and mural designed by conceptualist Yoko Ono (yes, that Yoko Ono) and an installation and performance by renowned artist Kara Walker. Note: Walker's artwork at the Algiers Ferry landing will be installed during the last week of the show. Prospect. 4 continues through Feb. 25, 2018. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admissions may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect. 4 website.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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As 2017 comes to an end — and with the mayor’s race almost over and the New Orleans Saints ascendant again — you’ll soon be hearing about a major citywide initiative that will encompass much of the city’s cultural life in 2018: the tricentennial of the founding of New Orleans, or what city leaders are calling NOLA 300. Tonight, WYES-TV premieres New Orleans: The First 300 Years, a two-hour documentary narrated by John Goodman exploring the city’s history (the program repeats at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 23), and there’s a coffee table book of the same name by Errol and Peggy Scott Laborde, with an introduction by historian Lawrence Powell. Yesterday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and more than a dozen local leaders held a symposium at the Orpheum Theater “to recount the past, discuss the present and envision the future of New Orleans.”

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Renowned Jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp once described jazz as “a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit, not its degradation. It is a lily in spite of the swamp.” Today, the fourth rendition of the biennial art exhibition, Prospect.4, captures Shepp’s spirit, with an installment titled “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp.” The citywide exhibition is set to open Nov. 18 and run through Feb. 25, 2018, showcasing art from more than 70 artists worldwide at 17 satellite locations around New Orleans, including the Contemporary Arts Center and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Prospect.4 Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker said he chose to reference Shepp’s quote in the 201718 theme because he thought it was the perfect metaphor for the purpose of the show. Art strives to bring neglected issues to the forefront of the conversation, much like the “lily in spite of the swamp.” According to Schoonmaker, however, the lily was switched out for a lotus in Prospect.4 because “both lotuses and lilies do live in Louisiana, but the lotus is a little bit more international and historic in its reach in that the lotus is a symbol of spiritual enlightenment in Buddhism and Hinduism.” In fact, the Prospect.4 exhibit description says, “lotus suggests the possibility of overcoming arduous challenges. It reminds us that, from the depths of difficulty and desolation, art brings the invisible to light.” Despite having a global focus, the biennial exhibition concentrates on the city of New Orleans, with much of the show navigating the relationships between the South and the rest of America, as well as the rest of the world.

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Though there is no specific ratio or quota of New Orleans-based and non-local art, Schoonmaker said there is a healthy balance of both. Such a balance, he hopes, will spark conversations between artists and visitors of all backgrounds. “Artists can’t solve anyone’s issues, but they can bring them up and make them a part of the discussion and the dialogue, and that in and of itself can be quite helpful,” Schoonmaker said. In the years leading up to The Lotus in the Swamp, Schoonmaker expressed his interest in integrating one of the most unifying works of humanity – music – into the biennial. But rather than bring a band or passively incorporate music into the exhibition, he searched for artists who use music in their pieces in less conventional ways. “What I was wary of in a place like New Orleans is [bringing] music to New Orleans. New Orleans doesn’t really need any music brought to it, so it was moreso finding artists who engage music in some way.” Israeli artist Naama Tsabar, for instance, merges music into her artwork by turning her felt “paintings” into string instruments. What is initially a visual art transforms into a performance art, and essentially music. “I try to find those ways, that are clearly visual art and performance art, and not just engaged music,” Tsabar said. Along with Tsabar, highlighted artists like Margarita Cabrera, Wilson Diaz and Dave Muller successfully incorporate music into their work. Muller, specifically, has even integrated the recent passing of New Orleans-born music legend Fats Domino and other local music references into his featured mural at the Contemporary Arts Center. Having only been launched in 2008 by Dan Cameron, Prospect.4 is a relatively young exhibition. But in its youth lie the elements of possibility and growth. Schoonmaker said he believes one of the major assets of Prospect.4 is its location, deeply involving and grounded in the city of New Orleans. There are countless biennials around the world, which can make it difficult to differentiate one from another. But those that embrace their locations tend to stand out far more. “The people who drop in for the opening weekend from the art world will see it for three days,” Schoonmaker said. “But you all get to live with it for three months, so there’s a totally different level of engagement and connection [with the art and the city].” The intersection between the art and the city is actually a part of what makes Prospect.4 such a relevant exhibition. It addresses current social justice issues such as racial inequity, political turmoil and more, issues that are pertinent not only in New Orleans or in the U.S., but across the world. “There’s great inequity between communities,” Schoonmaker said. “Those are issues that connect, let’s say, New Orleans and the American South to the Global South … How do we address this power dynamic and this inequity? And New Orleans is right in the middle of it. It’s right on the axis.”

Read the article on the Tulane Hullabaloo website.

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“EXPLOREVisit the Ogden Museum of Southern Art this month to view Prospect.4, a citywide exhibition highlighting New Orleans’ natural environment.”

Read the article on the Southwest The Magazine’s website.

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Read the article on the website.

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There’s going to be a lot to see when Prospect.4 opens citywide on Saturday. But you can get a head start now with a visit to Crescent Park. Over the past two weeks, four works by Prospect.4 artists have been installed along the length of the park, which extends along the Mississippi River from the Faubourg Marigny to the Bywater. The installations, which were made possible with support from Whitney Bank, mark the first time the park has been used as a venue for a major art exhibition. And although public art has been a part of every iteration of Prospect, here multiple installations are on view in a single outdoor public space. Moreover, the park is a great (and free) “gateway” to exploring the rest of the exhibition, which will be on view in 17 locations across the city. You can take in the four pieces in Crescent Park before exiting via the Mandeville Crossing bridge at its southern end; the New Orleans Jazz Museum and riverfront streetcar line, which are other prominent Prospect venues, are just a short stroll away. Prospect.4 artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker says the use of the park as a venue fits perfectly with the themes of the exhibition. “The Mississippi River’s winding presence features prominently in Prospect.4 as a creative stimulus and geographic anchor,” said Schoonmaker. “Crescent Park provides beautiful access to the river that has helped shaped the city of New Orleans and connects it to the world.” Start your visit by entering the park via the Piety Arch (known fondly to neighborhood residents as the Rusty Rainbow) where Piety Street meets Chartres. (Free parking is available in a lot adjacent to the arch.) Listen closely when you come to the park side of the bridge: You may hear New York City and Durham, North Carolina-based artist Hong-An Truong’s “To Speak A Language” before you see it.

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The audio component of Truong’s piece is a melange of recorded samples including an a cappella excerpt from Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 “Somebody to Love.” The song, which reached its peak of popularity at a moment which coincided with the escalation of the Vietnam War (which was known as the American War in Vietnam), helps situate the piece in a particular time and place. The piece also includes a neon sign spelling out the Vietnamese word for “to become” or “becoming,” which rests amid a tangle of wires and utility poles of a type that are ubiquitous in Vietnam. Taken together, the components form a sort of visual rebus that “speaks of displaced and intertwined histories,” according to the Prospect.4 catalog. Sound and identity — as well as a resistance to easy interpretation — are also parts of a starkly enigmatic piece by Atlanta-based artist Radcliffe Bailey. Located near the intersection of Gallier Street, Bailey’s “Vessel” resembles an abandoned fallout shelter, or maybe a long-forgotten piece of alien spacecraft that fell to earth. For the artist, it represents a sort of time machine linking different moments and spaces in AfricanAmerican history and culture. Inside, an open ceiling frames a suspended conch shell and the expanse of sky behind it. Listen to the sounds that emanate from the shell, and how the curved surfaces of the piece amplify and distort sounds coming from the park outside. Bailey notes that the piece is situated between two powerful modes of transit — the river and the railroad — and both factor into the energy and meaning of the work. Further south in the park, in an area of the riverbank near the intersection of Press Street are New Orleans artist Jennifer Odem’s “Rising Tables”: Three sets of tables of different sizes which Odem found at garage sales and on Craigslist are stacked on top of each other, echoing the shapes of the city skyline in the distance and functioning as a sort of symbolic totem protecting the fragile waterfront from the powerful force of the river. Nearby, Runo Lagomarsino’s “If You Don’t Know What The South Is, It’s Simply Because You Are From The North” consists of the work’s title phrase printed across three adjacent walls. According to the P.4 catalogue, the artist (who was born in Sweden to Argentinian parents and is currently based in Sao Paolo, Brazil) intends the work to decontextualize geographic terms and ultimately show how arbitrary they are — though since the terms “South” and “North” do indeed have specific meanings in New Orleans, the piece also underlines a very real (and not so simple) division rather than pointing out its arbitrary nature. Whether or not you agree with its sentiment, at the very least it’s a work that gets passersby talking. And like the best art in Prospect.4, it will definitely give you something to think about. Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp opens citywide on Nov. 18. For more information, visit

Read the article on the New Orleans Advocate website.

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Prospect New Orleans is a citywide triennial of contemporary art now in its fourth iteration. This year’s installment, entitled “Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp”, will feature 73 local, national, and international artists presenting their work across 17 venues, as well as exhibitions and events at numerous satellite locations. Emphasizing collaborative partnerships, Prospect presents the work of diverse local, national, and international artists in unique and culturally exceptional venues, creating an optimistic cartography through the education and engagement of residents and visitors. Prospect.4 (or P.4) will open to the public on Saturday, November 18 and run through February 25, 2018, aligning with the Tricentennial celebration for the City of New Orleans. P.4 will host Preview Days on Thursday and Friday, November 16-17 with the Opening Gala scheduled for Friday evening, November 17. According to P.4 organizers, this iteration will continue the Prospect tradition of showcasing the work of artists from around the globe. Taking into consideration the 300th anniversary of the city’s founding and its strategic location on the Gulf of Mexico, P.4 will direct its focus southward, placing greater emphasis on art and artists that engage the Global South, specifically from North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the European powers that colonized this region. via YAYA Arts Center The YAYA Arts Center will host an opening reception for Orenda, an exhibition of YAYA Alumni Artwork as part of the P.S. Satellite Program. The reception will be on Saturday, November 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. the center, located at the corner of LaSalle St. and Louisiana Ave. The opening reception will feature live painting by Gerard Caliste and a performance by Quinton Hakeem. The YAYA Arts Center and Orenda exhibition will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays from November 16, 2017 to February 25, 2018. P.S. Satellite Locations in Uptown Public Installation 5113 Magazine St. Open 24/7 Window Shopping: Artemis Antippas Carroll Gallery Woldenberg Art Center, Newcomb Art Department, Tulane University Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tulane Contemporary.4: Nov. 16 – Feb. 9 TEN Gallery 4432 Magazine St. Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fertile: Ten Gallery Group Exhibition – Nov. 4 – Dec. 1 Gulf Currents: Box 13 (Houston) Guest Artists Exhibition: Dec. 2 – Jan. 31 Humid: Feb. 3 – Feb. 28 YAYA 3322 LaSalle St. Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm Orenda: An Exhibition of YAYA Alumni Artistry: Level Art Collective, Jourdan Barnes, Gerard Caliste

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Mural/Outdoor Space 2200 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. One More Time: Commemorative Mural Honoring Big Chief Bo Dollis, Sr. of the Wild Magnolias Cole Pratt Gallery 3800 Magazine St. Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. Inventory of the Possible: Evert Witte – Oct. 31 – Nov. 25 Recent Work: Richard A. Johnson – Nov. 28 – Dec. 30 Topographical Narratives: Mac Ball – Jan. 2 – Feb. 2 Thomas Mann 500 Napoleon Avenue Xavier University Art Gallery 1 Drexel Dr. Administration Building Najma Nuriddin 1315 S. Jefferson Davis Pkwy. #116 Najma Nuriddin New Orleans Photo Alliance 1111 Saint Mary St. HiVolt Coffee 1829 Sophie Wright Pl. Shores of Perception Courtyard Brewery 1020 Erato St. Monday – Wednesday, 4 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Tuesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Catalyst Collective Dryades Public Market, 2nd Floor 1307 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Lavi Dous: The Haitian Cultural Legacy Collection CANO Creative Spaces at Myrtle Banks Building 1307 Oretha Castle HaleyBlvd. The Divide: Kim Rice Kevin Gillentine Gallery 3917 Magazine St. Open Daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Kevin Gillentine Pelican Bomb Gallery X 1612 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Wednesday – Sunday, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Queer Tropics: Ash Arder, Kerry Downey, Madeline Gallucci, Victoria Martinez, Joiri Minaya, Carlos Motta, Pacifico Silano, and Adrienne Elise Tarver Potence Collective 5700 Magazine st. New Orleans 70115 For more about Prospect.4 and Prospect New Orleans, visit their website here.

Read the article on the Uptown Messenger website.

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Prospect New Orleans is a citywide triennial of contemporary art now in its fourth iteration. This year’s installment, entitled “Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp”, will feature 73 local, national, and international artists presenting their work across 17 venues, as well as exhibitions and events at numerous satellite locations. Emphasizing collaborative partnerships, Prospect presents the work of diverse local, national, and international artists in unique and culturally exceptional venues, creating an optimistic cartography through the education and engagement of residents and visitors.


Prospect.4 (or P.4) will open to the public on Saturday, November 18 and run through February 25, 2018, aligning with the Tricentennial celebration for the City of New Orleans. P.4 will host Preview Days on Thursday and Friday, November 16-17 with the Opening Gala scheduled for Friday evening, November 17. According to P.4 organizers, this iteration will continue the Prospect tradition of showcasing the work of artists from around the globe. Taking into consideration the 300th anniversary of the city’s founding and its strategic location on the Gulf of Mexico, P.4 will direct its focus southward, placing greater emphasis on art and artists that engage the Global South, specifically from North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the European powers that colonized this region.

P.4 Locations in Mid-City New Orleans Museum of Art 1 Collins Diboll Cir. Featuring: Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Alexis Esquivel, Gauri Gill and Rajesh Vangad, Barkley L. Hendricks, Dawit L. Petros, and Xaviera Simmons New Orleans City Park City Park Ave. Featuring James Webb

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Lafitte Greenway N. Jeff Davis Pkwy near Lafitte Ave. Featuring Michel Varisco

P.S. Satellite Locations in Mid-City Steve Locke 2527 Ursulines Ave. Featuring Steve Locke TREO 3835 Tulane Ave. Open daily 4pm – 11pm DRIFTING: Tricia Duffy Vitrano, Eva Maier, Susan Norris Davis Nov. 16 – 30 PHOTO NOLA and P4 Meet: Erin Nelson, Muffin Bernstein, Elisa Mason Dec. 1 – 31 If I Ever get my Act Together: Ralph Chabaud and Ron Romanski from IATSE 478 Jan.1 – Feb.25 Isaac Delgado Fine Arts Gallery 615 City Park Ave. Monday–Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Wednesday–Thursday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. We’re Still Here: Delgado Visual Arts Faculty

For more about Prospect.4 and Prospect New Orleans, visit their website here.

Read the article on the Mid-City Messenger website.

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Opening Weekend & Reviews

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View the posts on the WWLTV Instagram and Facebook pages.

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Prospect.4, “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp,” opens Saturday in 17 locations in New Orleans, continuing through Feb. 25. The exhibition brings 73 prominent contemporary artists from all over the world to New Orleans. Curated by Trevor Schoonmaker of the Nasher Museum at Duke University, the exhibition features many examples of original work that were commissioned for the show. Many of the works incorporate themes that resonate specifically with New Orleans, including colonialism, cross-cultural fertilization, the environment and celebration. Outdoor exhibits are free. Others are by admission to museums and galleries. Check websites for entry fees and remember that most have free days or discounts for locals. The great outdoors Especially if you work, live or play downtown, the citywide exhibit will be hard to miss. There's an installation on the Riverfront streetcar line plus a wall mural over a parking lot at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art by none other than Yoko Ono. It inquires, cryptically, "Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?" Look for Nigerian-born painter Odili Donald Odita's brightly multicolored flags at places of "cultural, racial and historical importance" around the city, and more of his work on the Algiers ferry — which will take you to yet another Prospect.4 installation by artist Mark Dion.

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In Crescent Park, the Mississippi River serves as a backdrop for four outdoor sculptures. It’s the first time the park has been used as a major art venue. Stroll over the pedestrian bridge at Piety Street to check them out. Art all over the CAC Housing the work of 26 Prospect.4 artists, the Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., boasts a third of the works in Prospect.4. Many are installations that were built on site in the past few days and sometimes tweaked for their New Orleans locale. Predictably, perhaps, the Crescent City took hold of the imaginations of many artists, such as Lavar Munroe, originally from the Bahamas. His native land has its own Carnival traditions, so maybe it's not surprising that the tall, multi-media horse that rears up on the ground floor of the CAC sports a magenta feather on its forehead. Upstairs at the CAC, Penny Siopis created an installation linking Zulu warrior culture in her native South Africa to Zulu Carnival culture in New Orleans — linked by a video of New Orleans’ own Louis Armstrong performing a composition based on a traditional South African folk song. That kind of cross-cultural pollination is a hallmark of many of the works in Prospect 4. Across the street Ten more Prospect.4 artists are exhibited across the street at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St. Local favorites Quintron and Miss Pussycat screen videos featuring his distinctive soundscapes and her handmade puppets. Woodcuts by the late New Orleans artist John T. Scott fill an upstairs gallery. All that jazz At the New Orleans Jazz Museum in the Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave., experience a different spin on jazz legend Louis Armstrong: a rare collection of his collages, mostly created as covers for reel-to-reel tapes of his work, radio shows and mixtapes. Armstrong is one of 11 artists being exhibited at the museum.

Museum quality At the other end of Esplanade Avenue, view six Prospect.4 artists at the New Orleans Museum of Art along with the outstanding permanent collection. In the Great Hall, large, vivid oil paintings by the recently deceased American portrait painter Barkley L. Hendricks evoke both Renaissance portraiture and Pop Art in their depiction of the artist’s friends, family and colleagues.

For a complete guide to the exhibit, go to

Read the article on the New Orleans Advocate website.

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When Prospect.1 opened in two dozen locations across New Orleans in October 2008, it’s safe to say that the city had never seen anything like it. Touted as the largest contemporary art exhibition of its kind ever organized in the United States, Prospect.1 was conceived by curator Dan Cameron as a New Orleans-based response to art biennials in major cities in Europe, Asia and South America. Many of the 80 prominent international artists chosen for the exhibition designed site-specific pieces for parts of the city that until then had remained far off the radar of the contemporary art world. Installations included a giant ark by Mark Bradford in a deserted lot in the Lower 9th Ward, where the ravages of Hurricane Katrina three years before were still plainly evident. A few blocks away, Nari Ward filled a flood-damaged church with salvaged gym equipment to create a giant sculpture in the shape of a diamond. And at the Contemporary Arts Center, Skylar Fein recreated a long-vanished New Orleans gay bar and memorialized the lives that were lost when a fire consumed it in 1973. But all that art — more specifically shipping, insuring, installing and protecting it — came at a cost. Despite claims by Prospect.1 on its website that the 11-week exhibition raised more than $25 million in visitor revenue, the exhibition itself opened in the midst of the 2008 national financial crisis and its attendance fell short of expectations. Its eventual expenses wound up outstripping its nearly $5 million budget to the tune of more than $1 million, according to The New York Times, with tales of unpaid vendors, artists and arts organizations circulating in art world circles during and after the exhibition’s run.

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On Saturday, the fourth iteration of the triennial, dubbed "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," opens after more than a decade of retrenching and rebuilding. After years of downsizing, Prospect appears to be gradually returning to the scale conceived by Cameron in its initial outing: While its footprint is significantly smaller than Prospect.1, with 17 venues mainly concentrated between the Warehouse Arts District and Bywater, the Prospect.4 lineup numbers nearly as many artists as Prospect.1. And that’s a boon for New Orleans art lovers and the more than 100,000 visitors who are expected to enjoy this year’s main exhibition and satellite programs. For Prospect New Orleans interim director Ylva Rouse, who has been part of the Prospect team since the beginning, Prospect.4 represents the latest step in an ongoing journey. “This exhibition is an enormous undertaking,” she said. “I’m excited to share what we have been working on for the past three years.” The budget deficit that resulted from Prospect.1 was one of the main factors that led to the resignation of most of the Prospect board members in early 2010. Cameron himself resigned as artistic director a year later. The operating budget was cut by more than half for Prospect.2, which opened a year behind schedule in October 2011. The retrenching was necessary to protect the long-term viability of the biennial — which practically speaking had already become a triennial, though that wasn’t made official until the announcement of Prospect.3 in 2014. That third iteration was the first to be curated by someone other than Cameron: Los Angeles-based curator Franklin Sirmans, who brought a well-received “show within a show” of paintings by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat to the Ogden Museum for the exhibition. Officials say that the triennial reached financial solvency with Prospect.3, even ending with a budgetary surplus, and that Prospect.4 is anticipated to end up in the black as well. Its current $3.8 million budget is commensurate with past installments, and proportionate to the number of artists it includes. That budget was raised through a combination of grants and donations from government sources, foundations, corporations and private individuals. Locally, Prospect receives funding from the Mayor's Office of the Cultural Economy, the Wisner Donation fund and the Arts Council of New Orleans. In addition, this weekend’s fundraising gala at the Sugar Mill is expected to raise $800,000 for the organization.

Read the article on the New Orleans Advocate website.

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Prospect.4, the fourth edition of the Prospect New Orleans international contemporary art triennial, kicks off with a performance event at 11 a.m. Saturday in Washington Square Park. Artist Naama Tsabar has orchestrated a performance by 21 local women musicians, who will all stand on amplifiers. They're grouped into four bands, each playing a separate piece of music created for the event. Participating musicians include Helen Gillet, Meschiya Lake, Sarah Quintana, Kelly Mae, Julie Odell and others. The event is free. There also is an official ribbon-cutting ceremony opening Prospect.4 at 11 a.m. in the park. There are a couple of performances during the P.4's opening weekend, as well as gallery talks and events. The opening Swamp Galaxy Gala is tonight (Friday) at the Sugar Mill. P.4 runs through Feb. 25, 2018. Prospect.4 features 73 artists from 25 countries. Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker of Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art, curated the show, The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. It explores the "Global South," or New Orleans and the South's connections to the world. See D. Erik Bookhardt's preview in the Nov. 21 issue of Gambit for more on P.4 and the Global South. (A short slideshow of P4. art is posted here.) There are 17 P.4 venues, including many museums, a couple of galleries and outdoor installation sites, such as Crescent Park, Algiers Point and Lafitte Greenaway. (A map of venues is posted on the P.4 homepage.) Other events this weekend include: - Michel Varisco's Turning installation at the Lafitte Greenway will be dedicated at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. - Several P.4 artists will participate in a gallery talk at NOMA at 2 p.m. Saturday. - There are open studios at the Joan Mitchell Center 12:30 p.m. - 2 :30 p.m. Sunday. Two P.4 artists, Satch Hoyt and Maider Lopez, are currently in artist residencies at the center. - P.4 artists Otabenga Jones and Kitchen Sisters will be at the center Sunday for "Levee Stream: A Live Pop-Up Cadillac Radio Station Installation" from noon to 5 p.m. It will include live music and three DJs spinning — DJ RqAway, Matt Knowles of Domino Sound Record Shack and DJ Flash Gordon. Free admission. In grounding the expo in New Orleans Schoonmaker looked for musical connections, especially in how jazz and New Orleans music has reached around the globe. He created a playlist, including New Orleans music, contemporary popular music and music from around the world to go with Prospect.4. The YouTube link is posted to the Nasher Museum's page. Prospect.4 playlist on YouTube.

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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The fourth edition of the Prospect triennial, which was first launched in 2008 as a way to revive the city of New Orleans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, reflects the melting pot that is the city. This year, New Orleans's rich musical history is a key theme of the show, which is called The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. For example, Charles “Buddy” Bolden, an “almost mythical figure” and “the first person known to have explored the music we now call jazz”, is the focus of a new film by the British artist John Akomfrah, says the triennial’s artistic director, Trevor Schoonmaker. Another highlight is a selection of the jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong's collages, which will be shown outside the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York for the first time. But New Orleans (which celebrates its 300th anniversary next year) also has a grimmer history. The picturesque French Quarter is just across the Mississippi River from Algiers Point, where “African slaves were first quarantined before being sent across the river to be sold”, Schoonmaker says. The US artist Kara Walker has created a new sculpture for the site, titled The Katastwóf Karavan (Creole for "the catastrophe caravan") (2017). The work will be covered in slave imagery and will include a score composed with the jazz pianist Jason Moran.

Read the article on The Art Newspaper’s website.

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pubblicato venerdì 17 novembre 2017

"Prospect” è un progetto nato nel 2006 a New Orleans da un’idea di Dan Cameron, curatore, critico d’arte e da sempre fan della città. L’iniziativa realizzata all’indomani dell’uragano Katrina inaugura con il suo direttore artistico la quarta edizione cogliendo appieno la sfida. Trevor Schoonmaker ha invitato per quest’unica edizione di triennale d’arte americana i più importanti artisti internazionali per dare una lettura della città che inglobasse anche la sua identità ed il momento di rinnovamento che sta vivendo. … Per questa edizione sono presentate le opere di settantatre artisti: Abbas Akhavan, NjidekaAkunyili Crosby, Kader Attia, Rina Banerjee, Maria Berrio, Sonia Boyce, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Mark Dion, Alfredo Jaar, Rashid Johnson, The Kitchen Sisters, Jillian Mayer, Lavar Munroe, Yoko Ono, Sineb Sedira, Penny Siopsis, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker. La rassegna si sviluppa in circa diciassette sedi espositive, tra queste citiamo: Contemporary Art Center, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, che ospita per l’occasione la collezione Joyner/Giuffrida, Historic Algiers Point ed infine il New Orleans Museum of Art, l’Old U.S. Mint, la vecchia zecca dello Stato, e il famoso storico edificio Perseverance Hall No. 4. A questa lista di spazi espositivi si aggiungono parchi, hotel e una serie di mostre satellite sparse per tutta la città.

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… Tra gli artisti è presente Odili Donald Odita che con la sua caratteristica pittura geometrica dipinta su bandiere ricopre più di sedici muri della città; il filmmaker John Akomfrah che presenta un nuovo video intitolato "Precarity”, un viaggio esplorativo per la città con gli occhi del primo musicista jazz Charles "Buddy” Bolden. L’opera è stata realizzata appositamente per "Prospect” e verrà trasmesso su diversi canali. Per quest’edizione è stata dedicate una sezione in omaggio a Barkley L. Hendricks da poco defunto, un artista innovativo che ha influenzato tutte le successive generazioni. Un ruolo importante è stato rivestito anche dalla Helis Foundation, sponsor principale dell’evento, che ha partecipato a diverse iniziative artistiche. Tra queste l’importante restauro della fontana scultorea del 1984 di Lynda Benglis che da decenni era nascosta in una vecchia area di depurazione dell’acqua ed ora gloriosamente installata nel parco cittadino di Big Lake. Per la giornata d’apertura di Prospect.4 l’artista Naama Tasabar ha dedicato la sua opera Composition 21. Si tratta di un lavoro che è stato eseguito con la partecipazione locale di ventuno musiciste donne raggruppate in quattro diverse bande musicali. L’evento aperto al pubblico si svolge gratuitamente a Washington Square. Prospect.4 è veramente un incentivo a visitare New Orleans in tutto il suo splendore, nel suo momento di vivacità e rinascita.

Read the article on the website.

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Prospect.4, the fourth edition of the Prospect New Orleans international contemporary art triennial, kicks off with a performance event at 11 a.m. Saturday in Washington Square Park. Artist Naama Tsabar has orchestrated a performance by 21 local women musicians, who will all stand on amplifiers. They're grouped into four bands, each playing a separate piece of music created for the event. Participating musicians include Helen Gillet, Meschiya Lake, Sarah Quintana, Kelly Mae, Julie Odell and others. The event is free. There also is an official ribbon-cutting ceremony opening Prospect.4 at 11 a.m. in the park. There are a couple of performances during the P.4's opening weekend, as well as gallery talks and events. The opening Swamp Galaxy Gala is tonight (Friday) at the Sugar Mill. P.4 runs through Feb. 25, 2018. Prospect.4 features 73 artists from 25 countries. Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker of Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art, curated the show, The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. It explores the "Global South," or New Orleans and the South's connections to the world. See D. Erik Bookhardt's preview in the Nov. 21 issue of Gambit for more on P.4 and the Global South. (A short slideshow of P4. art is posted here.) There are 17 P.4 venues, including many museums, a couple of galleries and outdoor installation sites, such as Crescent Park, Algiers Point and Lafitte Greenaway. (A map of venues is posted on the P.4 homepage.) Other events this weekend include: - Michel Varisco's Turning installation at the Lafitte Greenway will be dedicated at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. - Several P.4 artists will participate in a gallery talk at NOMA at 2 p.m. Saturday. - There are open studios at the Joan Mitchell Center 12:30 p.m. - 2 :30 p.m. Sunday. Two P.4 artists, Satch Hoyt and Maider Lopez, are currently in artist residencies at the center. - P.4 artists Otabenga Jones and Kitchen Sisters will be at the center Sunday for "Levee Stream: A Live Pop-Up Cadillac Radio Station Installation" from noon to 5 p.m. It will include live music and three DJs spinning — DJ RqAway, Matt Knowles of Domino Sound Record Shack and DJ Flash Gordon. Free admission. In grounding the expo in New Orleans Schoonmaker looked for musical connections, especially in how jazz and New Orleans music has reached around the globe. He created a playlist, including New Orleans music, contemporary popular music and music from around the world to go with Prospect.4. The YouTube link is posted to the Nasher Museum's page. Prospect.4 playlist on YouTube.

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Collages by jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong, three versions of a work by Yoko Ono, a dream-like video about jazz trumpeter Buddy Bolden, a steam calliope that plays African-American protest music, and a chunk of wall bearing a restored mural by graffiti artist Banksy are among hundreds of works to be shown as part of or during a citywide exhibit called Prospect.4. Prospect.4 opens to the public Sunday and ends Feb. 25. It’s the fourth citywide Prospect New Orleans show, and includes photographs, sculptures, prints, videos and other work by 73 artists from around the world. The show commissioned new works by 32 of those artists. Armstrong’s collages have never been shown in New Orleans before the current display in the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, said Trevor Schoonmaker, artistic director for Prospect.4. Armstrong covered reel-to-reel tape boxes with photographs, cartoons, art and words from magazines, newspapers and other sources. A collage also covered his home studio walls, Schoonmaker said. “This wasn’t a Sunday afternoon ‘I’m going to make a little artwork.’ It really was something that was part of his everyday life, which I think makes it all the more exciting,” he said. Work by nine other artists, including Mardi Gras Indian costumes by Darryl Montana, is in and outside the Old Mint, one of 17 Prospect.4 venues. Ono’s work — a “revisiting” of her 1960s text “Have you seen the horizon lately?” — shows a long line, the question, and “Yoko Ono, 2017.” Schoonmaker said it’s on a billboard, a mural on the side of the New Orleans Museum of Art, and a series of panels across every advertising slot on one side in a riverfront streetcar. “It’s kind of nice getting an artist’s statement instead of just an advertisement,” he said. The video by John Akomfrah, a Briton born in Ghana, will be shown in one gallery of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Three different screens run simultaneously, exploring Bolden’s life and times “in a very poetic ... surreal way,” Schoonmaker said. “It uses Bolden as this figure at the forefront at the founding

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of jazz and a catalyst and a way to explore the city of New Orleans itself as this amazing cultural crossroads that gave birth to jazz.” The calliope built by Kenneth Griffard for artist Kara Walker will stand in a “parade wagon” decorated with her signature silhouettes. Schoonmaker said Walker wanted a calliope playing African-American protest music, from chants to jazz improvisation, to answer the Dixieland jazz she heard wafting from the steamboat Natchez. The Banksy mural was to be unveiled late Saturday, with a showing of the movie “Saving Banksy” and a panel discussion among graffiti artists and restorer Elise Grenier, who worked on the mural, It isn’t part of the official Prospect showings. Rather, it’s among more than 100 local projects timed with the exhibition. Many are publicized in the Prospect.4 map, guide and website as “P.S. Satellites .” The mural is among 17 that Banksy painted on vacant New Orleans buildings in 2008. It shows two National Guardsmen — one of them sitting in a painted window — looting a television, with a boom box already in a shopping cart. Developer Sean Cummings, who owned the warehouse where it was painted, said he tried unsuccessfully to protect it. “We tried Plexiglas, we tried plywood, we put a reflective clear coating on top of it that’s supposed to act like Teflon,” but nothing worked, he said. By the time he removed a 10-foot square of the wall for restoration in 2014, he said, it was covered by nine layers of paint and paper. “People tagged it and painted it and rolled over it and put election posters of president Obama and all kind of stuff on top of the mural,” he said. Those were documented in a blog which Grenier, the third restorer to work on the piece, said significantly helped her work. Cummings plans to install the mural in the lobby of his International Hotel in December and keep it there for New Orleans’ tricentennial in 2018.

Read the article on the AP website.

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View the photos on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Since 2015, under the direction of Brooke Davis Anderson, Prospect New Orleans has undergone significant changes that responded to the challenges involved in remaining faithful to its community and thriving on a global scale. The organizers recommitted to being a city festival by moving all operations back to New Orleans and revising their mission. In March, Anderson appointed Jennifer M. Williams to Deputy Director of Public Experience before resigning as Executive Director after being with the organization for four years. What emerged—similar to the first edition, Prospect.1, conceived in the aftermath of Katrina—is a narrative hovering between the local and the global. In a recent public press release the organization, still under Anderson’s direction, stated: “There is so much we can learn from New Orleans ... we work to draw the map we want to live in, the place we want to dwell, faithfully led by artists and art.” On the other hand, Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker promised that Prospect.4 “will be particularly global in scope,” and formed an artistic directors council with big-ticket names such as Wangechi Mutu and William Cordova. To be both global and local is not an impossible task, nor are those two states mutually exclusive. For a city such as New Orleans, whose history extends beyond that of the United States and is rooted in international communities—Spanish, English, Creole and African, to name a few—this mix of global and local makes sense. But the history of the festival, launched as a means of rebuilding the city post-Katrina, must also be accounted for. Perhaps this is why Williams is an exciting choice. As the former Executive Director of the McKenna Museum of African-American Art and participant at other community-based art biennials, such as Senegal’s Dak’art biennial, Williams has proven expert at using cultural institutions to build and engage communities. I spoke with Williams and our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, explored her ideas on community-building, the vibrant history of New Orleans and what makes Prospect.4 unique in our times. LG: In an interview in 2012 you said that art is a part of life in New Orleans. In your work and as a critical consumer of art, how does one build and grow a cultural event while keeping it rooted in the

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community? JW: I think that that is one of the most debated questions that we have and there are different sides of the equation. I find myself in the middle. I think you have to be really intentional, you have to be aware that culture is something that is created with a group of people over time in a space—it is very space-specific. We can’t just pick pretty pictures to put on the wall. It is important to look at the content of the work, the artists who are producing that content, where they are from and who they are. I had a debate recently with someone who said to me, “I just want to look at work, who the artist is and what their background is and where they are from doesn’t matter to me.” But representation matters. As we produce an international triennial we have to be very clear that there are artists in New Orleans creating amazing work and not forget about those individuals. That is why Prospect has instituted a satellite program so artists and curators can participate by producing an exhibition in their own space. This has been an integral part of the project because it is very much about who the people are who create the work, where they are from, what their work says and if it is speaking to a specific people, theme or place. Trevor Schoonmaker has been very intentional about everything, including choosing the theme—it is about celebrating people across cultures. New Orleans is truly a gumbo. But unfortunately key cultural producers and artists are being pushed out of the very city in which they created the culture. What I love about Prospect is that it always accounts for those who physically create work in New Orleans. Even though it is international, it is also speaking directly to who is here. Art is functional and engrained in the life here.

LG: What positions Prospect.4 to answer this difficult question, of how one creates art and culture that stays rooted in the community? JW: Art is not just going to a museum to look at work on the wall and then leaving. It is music, it is video and it is documentation. At Prospect.4, there are talks and opportunities to debrief and give feedback.

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There are also opportunities to interact with the work in ways that were not encouraged in the past. We are interacting in a way that to me is very similar to how people in New Orleans have been for hundreds of years. You don’t just see art on a wall, you go for the dialogue with your community members. Prospect.4 is unique because it brings the visual arts to the forefront of New Orleans. Now, if you want to see great visual art, you don’t just go to New York or Los Angeles or Miami, you also come to New Orleans. LG: What does it mean for Prospect.4 to be part of a more “optimistic cartography?” That’s a phrase that I picked up from the mission of the triennial. Can you define what it means and how it applies to Prospect.4? JW: I moved to New Orleans in 2007, after Katrina. I really don’t want to create that kind of narrative around pre- and post-Katrina, even though it is a reality. Work was being done before Katrina and continues to be done. I moved and I made it my home, and I give that background because from the outside sometimes New Orleans seems like just Louis Armstrong, Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras. An optimistic cartography refreshes the world’s memory—that New Orleans generated so many things: food, music and, most importantly, visual arts. New Orleanians are creating their own future. We live and understand the challenges of the present and the past. But we are utilizing art and culture to make and transform communities. They also know that there is a renaissance and a real movement of people. They want to see a better New Orleans and they are using the arts and the existing culture. Prospect is helping to show that to the world. LG: I like the idea of using what you have to create a better future. How does that play into your role right now as the Deputy Director of Public Experience? What are some ideas to help bridge this gap between community and the world? JW: I’ve had several conversations around this idea of intentionality, but it can’t just be an idea. My plans begin with our team and our networks. What is special about this iteration is that our team is based in New Orleans. They are not individuals who just moved here yesterday, so they have a sense of the community. We are also aware of ways we can engage community, from holding meetings to going where the community is. The art world can be off-putting. It can be seen as an elitist place if you don’t have a certain level of experience. I want to flip that notion on its head and make sure people feel welcome. I want a space that is ethnically and racially diverse. This is often overlooked. When we look for art writers we also include individuals who live in the South who are interested in and write about art. I also want to make sure that the artists are not inaccessible. We are creating experiences for people to meet the artists by having them give gallery talks where they can walk around the space and have conversations instead of being on a panel. LG: How does the artists’ work or activism speak to the goal of Prospect.4 being a part of the city? JW: In crafting his exhibition plan, Trevor Schoonmaker identified artists that have ties with the history of New Orleans, the history of migration here and melding of its cultures. He’s chosen artists from all over the world. It’s one of the most diverse and intentional exhibitions I have seen. From Derrick Adams and Kara Walker to Darryl Montana and Beatriz Santiago Muñoz—he really looked at places that often don’t have representation, and made sure that they were present in a real way. There are some people who

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have been featured in other biennials and are well known, but there are also new artists who are fresh and have great work. There are those who were born and raised here and those who are not, and this speaks to this New Orleans renaissance.

Read the article on The Studio Museum website.

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Like other Prospect New Orleans events, Prospect.4 (P.4), features local, national, and international artists with exhibitions in culturally significant venues. To honor the 300-year anniversary of New Orleans, P.4 places special importance on the art of the Global South, including North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the European colonial history of the region. Prospect’s Interim Director Yvla Rouse, who GoNOLA interviewed in preparation for P.4’s opening, and her team have worked tirelessly to make this event one for the books. Thirty-two of the participating P.4 artists created new works or sitespecific installations just for The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss any of these original pieces. Additionally, several participating artists are from New Orleans, including Darryl Montana, Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas, local underground legends Quintron and Miss Pussycat, filmmaker and native daughter of the Houma Nation Monique Verdin.

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Navigating P.4 P.4 exhibitions are spread throughout New Orleans and you won’t want to miss a single one. To make navigating the event easier, attendees can pick up an official map and guide from the P.4 Welcome Center located in the Arts District at 750 Carondelet St. The nearby Contemporary Art Center houses the works of 26 Prospect Artists, so this may be a good place to start your P.4 journey. In addition to the official venues, over 100 local artists, galleries, and studios are participating in P.S Satellites, so keep an eye out for P.S signage as you explore New Orleans. P.4 attendees can travel to exhibitions in all corners of the city by car, bike, or public transit. GoNOLA’s Must-see Pieces 1. A new permanent work by Michel Varisco on the Lafitte Greenway. 2. Louis Armstrong’s own collages, primarily created as covers for reel-to-reel tapes, radio shows, and mix tapes, displayed at the Old U.S Mint. 3. Kara Walker’s Algiers Point work The Katastwóf Karavan featuring a thirty-two-note steam calliope and re-envisioned plaque marking the site of the historic slave barracks. 4. Mark Dion’s Algiers Point sculptural instillation titled “Field Station for the Melancholy Marine Biologist,” featuring curiosity cabinets filled with scientific specimens and artifacts as well as everyday objects belonging to the fictitious scientist inhabitant of the field station. 5. Outdoor sculptures, murals, and video in Crescent Park, marking the first time the park has been used as a venue for a major exhibition. 6. John Akomfrah’s feature length three-channel conceptual documentary on Buddy Bolden, shown at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. 7. Odili Donald Odita’s “The Indivisible and Invincible: Monument to Black Liberation and Celebration in the City of New Orleans,” featuring a series of custom flags hung at 16 sites throughout New Orleans that were important to African American History. 8. New paintings by 2017 MacArthur Genius Fellow Njideka Akunyili Crosby at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Read the article on the website.

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Curator Trevor Schoonmaker has given the title “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp” to his edition of Prospect New Orleans , the justopened fourth installment of an ambitious art fest that has evolved into a triennial affair. Prospect 4 is a more geographically focused event than the previous edition, the well received, Franklin Sirmans -curated Prospect 3, “Notes for Now.” But it sti ll scatters across a total of 17 venues, sending viewers in pursuit of such Easter eggs as an art installation nestled among the offerings of a French Quarter antiques store, an artist designed flag planted on a ferry, and a hidden audio installation that inserts the sounds of non-native birds into a park. Several concentrations of art do center the show at the bigger venues. So, while I allow more critical thoughts about Schoonmaker’s event to congeal, here are photos from some of the main sites to give a sense of how “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp” looks and feels.

Read the article and view additional images on the ArtNet website.

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New Orleans is proudly multicultural, resilient, boisterous, and decidedly complicated (even more so in these days of ongoing post-Katrina, Airbnb-facilitated gentrification). What kind of internationally focused art event would ever fit this uniquely idiosyncratic, storied place, which is on the cusp of celebrating its 300th anniversary? That has been the struggle of Prospect, the biennial-turned-triennial now open in its fourth iteration, under the direction of Trevor Schoonmaker, a curator of contemporary art hailing from the Nasher Museum at Duke University. “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp,” its title borrowed from a quote from jazz musician Archie Shepp, does try to live up to the challenge. There are thrills and discoveries, to be sure, but after a few days of exploration I was left hoping for more—a more unbridled, risky, sprawling proposition to match the energy of Prospect’s host city. Let’s start at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, where Patricia Kaersenhout’s mixed-media banners and collages are quietly horrifying—craft in the service of righteous disgust. The Dutch artist defaces imagery of historical white colonizers with embroidery and beadwork, setting their faces crawling with insects and decay. That fraught mood inadvertently carries over into an adjoining room of hazy, moody paintings of ships at sea by Katherine Bradford (a favorite subject for the artist, along with bathers). The Ogden also holds a P.4-specific commission by John Akomfrah. It’s a ponderous, three-channel poetic biopic that purports to tell the story of jazz pioneer Charles “Buddy” Bolden, who was institutionalized in 1907 for schizophrenia. The cinematography is gorgeous, but the payoff is minimal; an elliptical voiceover, plus too much slo-mo emoting in graveyards, weathered houses, and asylums adds up to a film that is both heavy and didactic, a sort of tragic music video. If you have limited time, consider saving it instead for a concurrent but unrelated-to-P.4 survey on a lower floor of the museum, “Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection,” which celebrates a lineage of African-American art and abstraction from Jack Whitten and Sam Gilliam to Shinique Smith and Kevin Beasley. Stand-out moments do dot this triennial, along with welcome bursts of the unexpected. At the New Orleans Jazz Museum, sculptures by big-ticket names like Hank Willis Thomas and Rashid Johnson are joined by less expected inclusions. There are beautiful and elaborate “Mardi Gras Indian” costumes by Big Chief Darryl Montana; some truly singular collages by jazz icon Louis Armstrong, one of which features a packet of his preferred herbal laxative, Swiss Kriss; lushly impressionistic paintings on rough bark-cloth by young Kenyan painter Michael Armitage; and unabashedly weird and political canvases by Peter Williams. The New Orleans Museum of Art has filled its entrance lobby with a commanding selection of paintings by Barkley L. Hendricks. I certainly can’t be the first person to think that the artist, who died in April of this year, would have made a thrilling choice to paint Obama’s portrait—no offense to Kehinde Wiley. Don’t miss an additional, modest piece tucked away in a side gallery of Renaissance paintings. There, Hendricks’s Innocence & Friend—a 1977 triptych depicting a toothpick-chewing hipster, a banana, and two oranges on an aluminum leaf

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ground—has a curious neighbor in the form of a circa-1460s Coronation of the Virgin by Bartolomeo Vivarini. Upstairs at the same museum, an inventively installed selection of images from Dawit L. Petros’s “The Stranger’s Notebook”—a quasi-documentary series about migration—is a highlight, as are works on paper by 2017 MacArthur Grant winner Njideka Akunyili Crosby. The Contemporary Art Center packs a wealth of work in its multi-level space, including much that focuses on craft and unconventional mixedmedia. Lavar Munroe is showing a raw and shambolic sculpture, its centerpiece a rearing horse, assembled from tennis balls, wood, fabric, and pieces of costuming from the Bahamian Junkanoo celebration. Margarita Cabrera has a series of soft sculptures, including one of a lumpy, thread-dangling piano and a variety of cacti-like flora sewn from U.S. border patrol uniforms. Throughout the CAC, a series of figurative sculptures by Taiyo Kimura—small figures huddled into themselves, facing walls and corners—are a consistently disturbing punctuation for the exhibition as a whole. Over at the Ace Hotel, rising star Genevieve Gaignard has turned two rooms into a combination living room and chapel, importing vintage furniture, church pews, figurines, found photos, mirrors, and wallpaper (part of which reproduces schematic diagrams of slave ships). The aesthetic is a bit too cozily close to that of the hipster hotel itself, which takes away some of its bite, but the installation—and its series of quasi-narrative photographs and self-portraits—confirms Gaignard as a whipsmart artist, both accessible and nuanced. That said, it would have been nice to experience this piece’s layered mood in a stranger, less familiar location, rather than adjacent to Stumptown Coffee. That brings up a larger point. P.4 has streamlined its roster of venues so that they’re now in a tighter cluster, with most displays occupying institutions and museums. (There are a few notable, offbeat exceptions, like a series of works by Pedro Lasch incorporating old clocks and mirrors, sited in the back of the M.S. Rau Antiques store.) That certainly makes for a more convenient visitor experience, but it negates the scavenger hunt feel that I remember from the Franklin Sirmans-curated P.3, in 2014. Part of this decision might just have been logistical. One of the most anticipated moments of this triennial, I imagine, was the inclusion of a new commissioned work by Kara Walker, entitled Katastwóf Karavan, that was meant to be located on Algiers Point, a farther-flung spot that requires a ferry ride from the French Quarter. This piece was temporarily shelved about one week before P.4.’s opening. “The scale and unprecedented complexity” of the work “posed multiple challenges,” according to a press statement from interim director Ylva Rouse. There’s still a Mark Dioninstallation on Algiers Point—a small wooden cabin meant to resemble a Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist—but it’s modest and underwhelming on its lonesome, marooned on the flat shores of the Mississippi. Overall, the future curator of P.5, in 2020, would do well to focus less on recognizable names and more on new energy. Does this triennial really benefit from a large wall mural by Yoko Ono, whose message (“Have You Seen The Horizon Lately?”) reads like an advertisement for an ultra-minimalist clothing store? Does a series of abstract flags by Odili Donald Odita scattered

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throughout the city bring much to the table? I overheard an acquaintance during the press weekend express a pithy criticism of P.4; namely, it could have been weirder. It might just be time to turn over the reins to someone whose C.V. is less institutionally polished (which presupposes patrons willing to make that leap). More risk, more reward. What would this triennial look like if it was organized by the team behind local art space Pelican Bomb, whose satellite show “Queer Tropics” should also be on your itinerary this year? What would it look like if it really tried to mirror the elusive character of this city? I’d be happy with a rougher-edged Prospect that partially took place in someone’s attic, or the basement of a bar, in addition to the city’s museums. A Prospect along those lines might resonate more, generally, with the collaborative transcendence of Naama Tsabar’s commissioned performance, Composition 21, held in NOLA’s Washington Square Park during the opening day of P.4. (Sadly, it’s a one-off affair.) In a reprise of a concept that Tsabar has staged in Miami, among other places, 21 local musicians, arranged in a triangular formation, stood atop amplifiers, wielding guitars, basses, drumsticks, and—in one case—a cello. The performers (primarily women, with some identifying as gender nonconforming) were divided up into three groups, which took turns performing a song that they had composed based on Tsabar’s specifications. Afterward, everyone played simultaneously, and spectators were welcome to meander through the musicians, creating a surround-sound effect in which melodies competed and overlapped. What better use of a sunny Saturday morning than to wander inside this joyous forcefield, a living social-sculpture—women soloing; tapping; harmonizing; thumbing bass lines; riffing, stoically—a thoroughly defiant, bad-ass retort to the everyday oppressions of the world outside its boundaries.

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20 NOV 2017: Collages by jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong, three versions of a work by Yoko Ono, a dream-like video about jazz trumpeter Buddy Bolden, a steam calliope that plays African-American protest music, and a chunk of wall bearing a restored mural by graffiti artist Banksy are among hundreds of works to be shown as part of or during a citywide exhibit in New Orleans, called Prospect.4. And, Congratulations to New Orleans who just made history by electing it's first woman Mayor, LaToya Cantrell. Prospect.4 opened, to the public Sunday and ends Feb. 25. It's the fourth citywide Prospect New Orleans show, and includes photographs, sculptures, prints, videos and other work by 73 artists from around the world. The show commissioned new works by 32 of those artists. Armstrong's collages have never been shown in New Orleans before the current display in the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old US Mint, said Trevor Schoonmaker, artistic director for Prospect.4. Armstrong covered reel-to-reel tape boxes with photographs, cartoons, art and words from magazines, newspapers and other sources. A collage also covered his home studio walls, Schoonmaker said. “This wasn't a Sunday afternoon 'I'm going to make a little artwork.' It really was something that was part of his everyday life, which I think makes it all the more exciting,” he said. Work by nine other artists, including Mardi Gras Indian costumes by Darryl Montana, is in and outside the Old Mint, one of 17 Prospect.4 venues. Ono's work - a “revisiting” of her 1960s text, “Have you seen the horizon lately?” - shows a long line, the question, and “Yoko Ono, 2017.” Schoonmaker said it's on a billboard, a mural on the side of the New Orleans Museum of Art, and a series of panels across every advertising slot on one side in a riverfront streetcar. “It's kind of nice getting an artist's statement instead of just an advertisement,” he said. The video by John Akomfrah, a Briton born in Ghana, will be shown in one gallery of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Three different screens run simultaneously, exploring Bolden's life and times “in a very poetic ... surreal way,” Schoonmaker said. “It uses Bolden as this figure at the forefront at the founding of jazz and a catalyst and a way to explore the city of New Orleans itself as this amazing cultural crossroads that gave birth to jazz.” The calliope built by Kenneth Griffard for artist Kara Walker will stand in a “parade wagon” decorated with her signature silhouettes. Schoonmaker said Walker wanted a calliope playing African-American protest music, from chants to jazz improvisation, to answer the Dixieland jazz she heard wafting from the steamboat Natchez. The Banksy mural was to be unveiled late Saturday, with a showing of the movie “Saving Banksy” and a panel discussion among graffiti artists and restorer Elise Grenier, who worked on the mural, It isn't part of the official Prospect showings. Rather, it's among more than 100 local projects timed with the exhibition. Many are publicized in the Prospect.4 map, guide and website as “P.S. Satellites .”

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The mural is among 17 that Banksy painted on vacant New Orleans buildings in 2008. It shows two National Guardsmen - one of them sitting in a painted window - looting a television, with a boom box already in a shopping cart. Developer Sean Cummings, who owned the warehouse where it was painted, said he tried unsuccessfully to protect it. “We tried Plexiglas, we tried plywood, we put a reflective clear coating on top of it that's supposed to act like Teflon,” but nothing worked, he said. By the time he removed a 10-foot square of the wall for restoration in 2014, he said, it was covered by nine layers of paint and paper. “People tagged it and painted it and rolled over it and put election posters of president Obama and all kind of stuff on top of the mural,” he said. Those were documented in a blog which Grenier, the third restorer to work on the piece, said significantly helped her work. Cummings plans to install the mural in the lobby of his International Hotel in December and keep it there for New Orleans' tricentennial in 2018.

And a new Mayor … LaToya Cantrell, a City Council member who first gained a political following as she worked to help her hard-hit neighbourhood recover from Hurricane Katrina, won a historic election Saturday that made her the first woman mayor of New Orleans. The Democrat will succeed term-limited fellow Democrat Mitch Landrieu as the city celebrates its 300th anniversary next year. “Almost 300 years, my friends. And New Orleans, we're still making history,” Cantrell told a cheering crowd in her victory speech.

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The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, the title of Prospect.4, the latest iteration of the Prospect New Orleans international art triennial, is as colorfully mysterious as its name implies. Like its predecessors, starting with Prospect founder Dan Cameron's stellar, critically acclaimed Prospect.1 in 2008-09, Prospect.4 makes the city itself part of the show — sometimes to an extent that makes it hard to tell where the art begins and the city recedes. While it also has its share of art stars, Prospect.4's artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker, curator at Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art, saw the city's upcoming 300th birthday as a way to artistically reunite the city with the broader world that made it a global city almost from the start. "New Orleans is the most European and the most African city in the United States," Schoonmaker said while overseeing installation of works at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC). "It is called the northernmost Caribbean city and is still distinctly of, and in, the American South ... its rich history and culture provide boundless inspiration for artists from all over the world." Indeed, many of their works were created with this city's tumultuous history in mind. As Mayor Mitch Landrieu notes in his catalog essay, Prospect.4 "connects over three centuries of history through the work of 70-plus contemporary artists who have responded to the city's unique cultural and natural landscape ... Drawing synergistic parallels between New Orleans and other parts of the world, P.4 aims to illuminate the interconnectedness of all things, both seen and unseen." If such ideas sound idealistic, they also set the stage for a better understanding of what Prospect.4 is all about and what it represents. The triennial opened Nov. 18 and runs through Feb. 25, 2018, and there is much to see. Prospect exhibitions are in museums and galleries and there are installations and sculptures in public spaces and parks, including Crescent Park, Lafitte Greenway and Algiers Point. With so much work from so many far-flung places, a good starting point is the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, where the familiar and the unfamiliar come together much in the way the Mississippi River connects the muddy waters of Middle America with the exotic Caribbean currents — the loop currents — of the Gulf of Mexico. Because we live with water in every aspect of our daily lives, it is easy to overlook its association with the otherworldly realms of dreams and rebirth. New York-based Katherine Bradford's colorful near-hallucinatory canvases, like her Five Moons painting of a luminous ocean liner buoyantly plying a

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mythic sea, couldn't be more appropriate for the way they remind us of the intimate connection between nature's watery depths and our own psychic depths. In a related vein, New Orleans native and longtime New York resident Wayne Gonzales explores the way water's inescapable presence has interacted with our more ephemeral human attempts to live with it. A painter influenced by photography and print media processes, Gonzales took his cues from the Ogden's collection of 19th-century New Orleans paintings, pairing pastoral scenes like vintage maestro George Coulon's picturesque rendition of a stately bayou home with his own, more recent view of an aging trailer home next to a bayou — a scene where Gonzales' hazy, old newsmagazine photo quality complements Coulon's atmospheric evanescence to explore how culture, time and technology influence our perceptions. That sensibility is reinforced in a different way in a nearby gallery filled with John Scott's startlingly expressionistic urban landscapes. Though only a fraction of the artists in Prospect.4 are local, many of its international artists have connections to the global influences of New Orleans' musical history. Schoonmaker has called jazz "arguably the preeminent art form of the 20th century," so the pervasive presence of musical themes is no surprise. But even many New Orleans natives are hazy about how it all began, so it helps that London-based video artist John Akomfrah has created a beautifully rendered look at the life of the legendary "inventor" of jazz, Buddy Bolden, the tormented genius whose supersonic-wailing cornet blasted him from clubs into the limelight as New Orleans' most popular musician, until the abrupt end of his career in 1907, when he was committed to an asylum. The visual lyricism of Akomfrah's Precarity video gives us a dreamy look into the poignant story a man who forever changed New Orleans — and the world — yet is remembered mainly by music buffs today. A different take on art and music is provided by the dynamic New Orleans duo Quintron and Miss Pussycat, whose raucous "swamp tech" performances involve space-age garage rock and '80s techno-dance modulated by maracas. On the Ogden Museum's terrace, Quintron's latest iteration of his Weather Warlock electronic invention that translates atmospheric conditions into ambient music now channels the inner electro-biology of common local plants. His partner, Panacea Theriac, aka Miss Pussycat also is known for her colorful handmade puppets that look quite at home in a gallery of their own at the Ogden, a museum known for its insightful collection of Southern crafts. As the latter 20th-century intellectual fashion of postmodernism continues its slow fade into the annals of art history, a new hybrid aesthetic is emerging. It fuses social awareness with a more meditative or even celebratory exploration of the broader and deeper meanings of the cultures of the former European colonies that, along with Latin America, comprise what is now called the Global South — places like New Orleans, where deeply rooted local traditions were often taken for granted, but never really died. Prospect.4's abundant assortment of artworks based on those communities' cultural reawakenings is prevalent throughout its venues, and epitomized by the works occupying all available exhibition spaces at the CAC. Often vividly quirky, many reveal an unexpected kinship with New Orleans' longstanding traditions. Kolkata, India, native Rina Banerjee's colorful sculptural concoctions seem eerily familiar for their suggestion of an Indian variation on our Carnival culture, which should come as no surprise considering that India's traditional Hindu processions can look remarkably like Mardi Gras parades. Similarly, Colombian artist Maria Berrio's gorgeous collage paintings combine the dreamy wildness of Colombian jungles and her own colorful mythologies into new psychic geographies where wild women and wild animals come together in a vivid new ecology of the imagination. Carnival culture is implicit in the work of London-based Afro-Caribbean artist Sonia Boyce, whose two-channel color video Crop Over focuses on a mythic figure named Moko Jumbie, a towering character associated with the Crop Over festival in Barbados. In the video, Moko Jumbie is represented by a costumed character on stilts who wanders around the Harewood House, a historic estate near Leeds, England, originally built with a fortune derived from colonial sugar plantations and the transatlantic slave trade. Here, bizarrely colorful figures from indigenous Barbados mythology reclaim Harewood House as their own in a scene that, despite its symbolic sociopolitical judo, actually looks not so different from a Mardi Gras costume party in the Garden District. It's in yet another example of how scenes from faraway places associated with the Global South can seem oddly familiar to anyone who has come to know New Orleans. Well-known California-born, Chicago-based artist Cauleen Smith was inspired by a residency on Captiva Island, Florida, where the remnants of Native American ritual shell mounds were all that remains of the Calusa tribe, the island's original inhabitants. Those shells struck her as a lingering ghostly reminder of a tribe that seemed to have much in common with the Yoruba people of Nigeria, which inspired her to make her film Egungun, in which an imposingly mysterious mythic figure known by that name appears in elaborate layers of cloth embellished with shells. In West Africa, costumed dancers inspired by the legend of Egungun are said to be possessed by the ancestors, and in Smith's film, Egungun emerges from the ocean in a carnivalesque meditation on places like West Africa, Captiva Island and New Orleans that all share complicated histories with the sea.

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Our own Carnival mythology is addressed directly at the Old U.S. Mint Jazz Museum in the richly beaded suits and feathered ritual paraphernalia of Mardi Gras Indian Darryl Montana, long-time Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas tribe, which rose to prominence as the "modernist" Mardi Gras Indian movement that stressed aesthetic excellence under the long reign of his father, legendary Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana. Originally inspired by the Native Americans who gave sanctuary to runaway slaves in antebellum Louisiana, Mardi Gras Indians need no introduction to most New Orleans residents, but their presence at the Mint reminds us that their traditional chants, such as "Iko Iko" or "Hey Pocky Way," are inseparable from the musical feedstock that gave us jazz, rhythm and blues and, ultimately, rock music. The most surprising, if not startling, music-related art offering at the Mint is the little-known collages by Louis Armstrong who, arising from humble origins and a troubled home, eventually led jazz's conquest of America and the world. His collages are modest, homey concoctions he created to embellish the lids of the boxes that housed his massive collection of reel-to-reel tapes and photographs, but in their own unpretentious way they reflect something of Armstrong's legendary improvisational genius. Other intriguing music-related artworks at the Mint include Berlin-based, British-Jamaican artist Satch Hoyt's sculptural pyramid made of cymbals, each representing musical luminaries such as Jelly Roll Morton, Sun Ra, Prince and Alice Coltrane. Music and movement, time and space, set the tone at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) where the late Barkley L. Hendricks' monumental portraits line the walls of the Great Hall. His intense colors and pop-culture sensibilities led to his first retrospective (curated by Schoonmaker at Duke's Nasher Museum) being titled Birth of the Cool, but underlying all that sensory and somatic vivacity is an extraordinary technical precision that has caused him to be compared to northern Renaissance masters. Unfortunately, Hendricks died while working on a commission specific to Prospect.4, but his paintings live on, extending a lively personal greeting to visitors passing through the museum's atrium. NOMA's upper galleries feature works based on local history by well-known American mixed-media artist Xaviera Simmons, as well as some engagingly innovative and eerily psychological domestic interiors by Nigerian-Los Angeles artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby and a colorful array of poetic visual explorations by Alexis Esquivel, Dewit Petros and the graphical duo Gauri Gill and Rajesh Vangad. If the colorful variety and sheer abundance of Prospect.4's varied offerings can seem overwhelming at first, it should be noted that this is the largest exhibition exploring the Global South to be staged in North America, and while it might be tempting to think of it as an unusually lively take on multiculturalism, it is really something far bolder and more pioneering than that. Multiculturalism mostly viewed ethnic identities as a sociological problem to be "solved," but that rather dour clinical approach stands in stark contrast to the Creole traditions of New Orleans, Latin America and the Caribbean that took the most appealing and joyous aspects of European, African, Native American and Asian cultures and assimilated them into diverse communities where common ground was found in broadly shared cultures of celebration. The power of that process, known as "Creolization," was vividly on view during south Louisiana's cultural renaissance of the 1970s, as the rousing Afro-Creole sounds of once marginalized Mardi Gras Indians, zydeco musicians and formerly forgotten pioneers of local rhythm and blues like Professor Longhair provided a lively soundtrack for the civil rights and architectural preservation movements that arose from our shared cultural gumbo of wildly diverse ethnic traditions. Although most of the work in Prospect.4 reflects a varied range of views and approaches, it is hard to ignore its ebbing and flowing, yet pervasive, emphasis on the transformational power of music and the celebratory masking and carnivalesque traditions of cultures that, while different from most of Europe and North America, have much to offer anyone willing to take the time to look and listen.

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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Algiers Point 101-199 Mississippi River Trail, Algiers Point Environmental installation artist Mark Dion created Field Station for the Melancholy Marine Biologist, a structure that's like a monument to the whimsical ruminations of a philosophical scientist confronted with the quandary of knowing how to save our rapidly deteriorating coast while lacking the means to do so. • Slated to appear in February at Algiers Point is art star Kara Walker's Katastwof Karavan, a 30-note steam calliope that plays the songs and sounds associated with the newly arrived slaves who were held at Algiers Point prior to being taken across the river to be sold at slave auctions. Lafitte Greenway Lafitte Avenue at Jefferson Davis Parkway • Louisiana's troubled coastal ecology inspired Michel Varisco's five-foot-tall, cylindrical steel Turning, which appears like solarpowered Nepalese prayer wheels emanating blue light. Citywide • Social ecology takes center stage in Odili Donald Odita's colorfully interwoven abstract flags located at 15 sites about town. Rather than any one nationality, they symbolize his ideal of a world driven by the recognition that different cultures "need each other's energy to exist in beauty and freedom." Crescent Park 1008 N. Peters St. • Jennifer Odem's Water Tables constructions (above) suggest visual puns left behind by playful water sprites, but look again, and their gracefully spindly forms are actually stacked wooden tables that not only suggest stylized Asian pagodas but also recall the huts on stilts built by 18th century Filipino mutineers from Spanish galleons in the waters of Lake Borgne at St. Malo, the oldest Asian community in North America. • Radcliffe Bailey's stark steel cylinder like a tugboat smokestack enclosing a suspended conch shell resonating the ambient sounds of the waterfront. • The most powerful piece in the park is the Afro-minimalist Piety Street bridge designed by Ghana-born, London-based architect David Adjaye. (Not part of Prospect.4.) Old U.S. Mint 400 Esplanade Ave. • Hank Willis Thomas' surreal yet stunningly gorgeous History of Conquest (below) is a large bronze sculpture of a Moorish boy warrior astride a giant snail located at the foot of Esplanade Avenue outside the Old U.S. Mint. It is based on 17th century German jeweler Jerimias Ritter's much smaller decorative bauble, Snail with Nautilus Shell. Did Europeans really think Moorish boy warriors rode giant snails into battle? Considering Christopher Columbus was so insistent that America was India that Native Americans still are sometimes called "Indians," anything is possible. But beyond how its dreamy lines might make for a dynamite Mardi Gras float, History of Conquest reminds us that even the most ignominious errors of history can be reborn, through the healing hands of artists, as sublime objects of wonder.

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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The latest installment of Prospect New Orleans remains optimistic about the redemptive power of art. Steeped in history and its own deep French-tinged culture, New Orleans is a compelling city that’s also a scrappy underdog, beleaguered by civic corruption, entrenched social division, and environmental disaster. Last week, artists, curators, and journalists descended on the Big Easy for the opening events of the Prospect.4 triennial (P.4). The brainchild of curator Dan Cameron, Prospect began in 2008 as a response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Yet, while New Orleans was, and in many respects remains, ground zero for climate-change catastrophe in the US, the greater destruction caused by Maria just two months ago—and the scale of the government’s inadequacy in the face of the continuing crisis in Puerto Rico—makes one wonder if similar reactive and remediating art-world initiatives in the wake of that and future calamities are even possible. But such concerns, as well as discussion of other political and cultural emergencies, were mostly on the back burner here. Suggesting beauty growing out of the morass, P.4's subtitle, The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, provides an aspirational notion of contemporary art today and a descriptor of New Orleans itself, which concurrently marks the 300th anniversary of its “founding” by Europeans. The Artistic Director of P.4, Trevor Schoonmaker, is Chief Curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, where he has championed black artists, assembling an impressive collection and organizing well-received traveling exhibitions of artists such as Wangechi Mutu and Barkley L. Hendricks. The roster of 73 artists in P.4 leans heavily on artists of color, representing the curator’s expansive vision of the “Global South.”

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The nature of periodic shows like P.4, which sprawls across 17 venues around the city and includes a healthy dose of video, film, and performance, is that one never actually takes it all in. An intriguing new commission by Kara Walker, in fact, won’t even be seen until the final few days of the show next February. This dilation in time and space allows for significant slack in the curatorial concept, and for a certain number of artworks that look to have been airlifted in from other projects. Yet while there’s an overall earnestness to the affair, many works are affecting, and Schoonmaker traces several through lines from location to location. Yoko Ono’s huge painted question on the side of a building in the museum district asks HAVE YOU SEEN THE HORIZON LATELY?, and its vague, slightly Whitmanesque interrogation of vision and landscape, both literal and figurative, resonates with Runo Lagomarsino’s words on three consecutive walls along the Mississippi in Crescent Park: IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE SOUTH IS/IT’S SIMPLY BECAUSE/YOU ARE FROM THE NORTH. Installed before the official opening, the latter work reportedly generated pre-game controversy as residents complained, deeming it somehow racist. Glenn Ligon’sUntitled (America America), two face-down neon signs on the floor of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, also textualizes geographic metaphor as it intermittently flashes the name of our imperfect body politic. The work doesn’t technically belong to P.4, however, but instead to a show of black, mostly abstract art from the Joyner Giuffrida Collection, with which the triennial shares the Ogden’s galleries.

The Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans has devoted the entirety of its exhibition space to P.4, making it something like an HQ. The great Alfredo Jaar fills one dark gallery there with One Million Points of Light, a single black-and-white photograph writ large as a still projection and picturing sunlight dancing on the surface of the ocean. Jaar took the photo in 2005 from the coast of Luanda, Angola, looking across the Atlantic towards Brazil, making it a memorial to the Middle Passage of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Easily misunderstood or overlooked, it has a mournful, evanescent beauty. A strikingly similar image sits in the middle of Eritrean Canadian Dawit L. Petros’sHistorical Rupture from The Stranger’s Notebook, a series given its own mini-exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art, as are the works of several other artists. (A small group of paintings of African American urban dandies by Hendricks, who passed away unexpectedly while P.4 was being organized, makes a wonderful rejoinder to the buttoned-up neoclassical grandeur of the museum’s entrance hall.) Petros intersperses silvery photos of the sea taken from opposite sides of the Mediterranean—Spain and Italy on one end, Morocco on the other—with close-ups of foil emergency blankets that might have been given to migrant refugees arriving from the perilous crossing. The shots of sea and blankets look nearly identical to each other, a formal conflation of terror and comfort that makes the installation both somber and moving. Water runs throughout Schoonmaker’s show, as befits a project for the delta city with a long and lately double-edged relationship with both river and gulf. At the Historic New Orleans Collection in the French Quarter, Verdin’s exhibition of blackand-white photos documents her family and community, the indigenous Houma people who live in the wetlands of southeastern Louisiana, the land in the US most affected (so far) by climate change. “Places where my grandmother picked pecans as a child,” the artist observed, “when she was in her 90s, people were setting their crab traps there.” At the UNO-St. Claude Gallery, another photo show, of Jeff Whetstone’s color prints, accompanied by a slow, meditative video projection, pictures life along the batture, a local term for the land between river and levee. Lined with oil refineries and other manufacturing plants, adjacent to the

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shipping lanes traversed by supertankers, it also supports fishermen and crabbers. An image of a flayed and gutted catfish covered in iridescent green flies, one saucer eye still glowing balefully, suggests the almost certainly toxic nature of the catch. Mark Dion sites The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist on thebatture at Algiers Point. The full-scale shack filled with plausibly scientific accoutrements, seen through windows, intimates the damaged ecological health of the region with fishy specimens preserved in jars, copious tubs for animal necropsies, and an enamel tray of ominous black sludge. And at the Ogden, Wayne Gonzalez connects past and present along area waterways by hanging his recent canvases of nearby postindustrial scenes amid a selection of 19th-century landscapes by Bayou School painters. Rendered in oversized crosshatching, Gonzalez’s images examine the ordinary ugliness of a degraded environment with a flat affect, in contrast to the lingering and picturesque romanticism of the earlier views. Music also plays across many of the works in P.4, especially, fittingly, at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old US Mint. Sometimes, the tunes are only implicit, as in Satch Hoyt’s Ascension (The Chain), an endless column made of tambourines and mirrors. A mindblowing group of reel-to-reel tape boxes made by New Orleans native Louis Armstrong combines snippets from popular culture with personal mementos, stamping the jazz giant as an unexpected bricoleur. Dario Robleto’s three vitrines highlight a deep archival dive into early recordings of Southern music, and Dave Muller’s mural at the CAC is hung with watercolors of record labels, tatty album spines, and the stickers that used to adorn the shrink wrap of vinyl records, evoking the subjective and material joys of his research into local music history. With so much absorptive art like this, it’s difficult to point to a single work for excessive praise. But if P.4 has produced a masterpiece, it’s John Akomfrah’s video installation, Precarity, one of many new commissions at the triennial. In a glancing and allusive accumulation of fragments, Precarity refers to the story of Charles “Buddy” Bolden, a turn-of-the-century New Orleans cornet player often credited with inventing jazz. Schizophrenic, he was institutionalized for life in 1907 at the age of 30, and no recordings of his music survive. Akomfrah’s long, slow takes of unspeaking costumed actors—sometimes overlooking the modern city—intercut with shots of antique photos and documents submersed in a running stream, and accompanied by a soundtrack with suggestive poetry in the musician’s voice, bring Bolden back to enthralling, if still fundamentally unknowable, life. Weaving together all of P.4’s themes—water, music, blackness, history, subjectivity, contemporaneity, and New Orleans itself—Precarity may well prove the show’s signature work.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Washington Square on Saturday, P.4 opened to the public with Composition 21, a performance in the park by Naama Tsabar. Arranged in a vast triangle that managed to recall Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, 21 female musicians and singers played similar-sounding songs in rounds. The wall of sound they created, coupled with the halcyon sunshine of the early afternoon, was something close to euphoric. At an earlier press conference at the Ashé Power House Theater, Carol Bebelle, its Executive Director, noted that New Orleans is a “prophetic city for America,” one given “a chance to do a do-over.” She referred, of course, to the locale as a bellwether for climate change and its encouraging resurrection from a soggy mire. It was hard not to wish that the feminist and multicultural optimism of Tsabar’s concerto was equally prescient. Prospect4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, is on view through February 25, 2018.

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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B y Sue Strachan, | The Times -Picayune For those who already know about the magic that happens at the Music Box Village - a land of creative collaboration of art, architecture, sound and sight - it was natural to have it as the site for Prospect.4's first-ever Artist Party on Saturday (Nov. 18). The Music Box's installations are always a source of wonder and were integrated in the night's performances, with new structures created by P.4 artist Darryl Montana, Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indians, as well as one from New Orleans Airlift's Delaney Martin and Alita Edgar in collaboration with artist Elizabeth Shannon. Hosted by Prospect New Orleans and New Orleans Airlift, which Music Box Village is part of, the party took its cues from this triennial's theme, "The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp." New Orleans Airlift produced a show that illustrated how women succeed despite obstacles, featuring performances from multi-generational all-female ensembles The Pinettes, Dixie Cups, Katey Redd, and Delish Da Goddess. Preceding them were invite-only performances featuring P.4 artist Satch Hoyt and Quintron, as well as from Meschiya Lake, Tif Lamson, and Sabine McCalla backed up by the Lower East Side Girls Club, Ya Ya, and Break Out. This citywide contemporary art exhibition will be on view through Feb. 25, 2018.

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Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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From a two-story memorial portrait of the late Fats Domino, to a conceptual mural by 1960s icon Yoko Ono, to a restored 2008 stencil by Banksy, to a few controversial words by Donald Trump, November has been a big month for graffiti and street art in New Orleans. Here are some highlights. Yes THAT Yoko Ono A mural by conceptual artist Yoko Ono titled “HAVE YOU SEEN THE HORIZON LATELY?” on the Ogden Museum of Southern Art north wall is part of the Prospect. 4 international art exhibition. Prospect.4, an exhibition of avant-garde sculpture, paintings, photos, and installations by 73 artists from across the globe, opened in New Orleans on Saturday (Nov. 18). Art lovers will find Prospect shows in all of the city's major art venues, such as the New Orleans Museum of Art, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, plus other scattered locations, including outdoor sites. For more backstory read: “Prospect.4, New Orleans' international art show, opens Saturday Nov. 18.”

He got the jokes In this photo dated April 18, 1972, John Lennon, right, and Yoko Ono, left, are seen outside the U.S. Immigration offices in New York City. Note: I was once able to interview Yoko Ono, who is now 84 (No lie). I asked if John Lennon understood her avant-garde artwork. She said he always understood the humor.

Baksy’s Looters, 2017 Since Banksy's painting of hurricane looters first materialized on Elysian Fields Avenue in 2008, it's been vandalized repeatedly, sawed from the wall that held it, and almost burned. But the elaborate stencil by the world's most famous graffiti artist (perhaps the world’s most famous artist, period) is back to its former glory.

Banksy’s Looters, 2008 The most controversial New Orleans Banksy was the multi-colored stencil near the foot of Elysian Fields Avenue that depicted looters piling stolen goods into a shopping cart. Since the thieves wore camouflaged uniforms, they could be seen as the National Guardsmen who'd been dispatched to the city after Katrina in part to prevent looting. Banksy's intended meaning is unknown, but it was safe to say the message was subversive.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Prospect New Orleans, the biennial founded in 2006 in response to Hurricane Katrina, opened this weekend in New Orleans as a newly minted Triennial. Massive in scale, the new schedule would presumably give the organization more time to organize, fundraise, and create a stronger exhibition. But some events have a harder time than others making changes, and if this iteration of the Triennial is any indication, Prospect 4 is one. Opening day, art was still being installed. Worse, there has been little improvement in exhibition design and visitor experience, so finding the locations of art in this show remains an exercise in frustration. Sites are poorly marked — when they’re marked at all — and the printed site map doesn’t help. It clearly indicates all the locations of art, but not which artists are at these locations.

All this would be forgivable if what was at the sites made the trip worth the effort. There’s not been much buzz about the artwork, though, because a lot of it disappoints. Some of the blame for that lies with artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker, who took few risks. The theme of the Biennial, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of The Swamp, might easily be summed up as an exploration of oppositions, which is almost too broad to be meaningful. The show draws inspiration from a blossom in the mud. Beauty grows from ugliness. Redemption exists in the ruin. You get the picture.

We see the theme play out through boldly colored installations and transformative figurative sculptures exploring how colonialism has impacted the city (Rina Banerjee, Penelope Siopis), delicate site-specific sound works juxtaposed against noisy landscapes (Hong-An Truong, Radcliffe Bailey), and provocative text based art (Runo Lagomarsino, Jillian Mayer). These constitute some of the strongest points in the show. There are less successful works, too, but I’ll leave the bulk of t hose for the more fleshed-out review. A taste of what’s in store below.

Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans Kader Attia and Halem Tawaaf’s mandala made of beer cans (above) is the visual center piece of the exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center. The cans mimic the posture of Muslims engaging in prayer.

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< Rina Banerjee, Viola, from New Orleans-ah, a global business goods raker, combed, tilled the land of Commerce, giving America a certain extra extra excess culture, to cultivate it, making home for aliens not registered, made business of the finer, finer, had occupations, darning thread not leisure with reason and with luster, in a”peek a boo” racial disguises preoccupied in circulating commerce, entertaining white folks, pulling and punching holes in barriers, places that where was once barren, without them, white banks made of mustard and made friendly folks feel home, welcomed and married immigrants from noted how they have been also starved, fled from servitude and colonial dangers, ships like dungeons, pushing coal in termite wholes, curing fitre, but always learning, folding, washing, welcomed as aliens. She wandering, hosting, raising children connected to new mobilities and most unusual these movements in Treme’, New Orleans was incubating enmeshed embedded in this silken cocoon when she land, she’s came to be parachute mender, landed those black immigrant peddlers from Hoogali network of new comers (2017). Yes, that’s actually the whole title. The sculpture is a masterpiece, depicting a winged figure attached to what appears to be a winged parachute behind her. Banerjee drew inspiration from the marriage of Viola Ida Lewis, an African American woman, and Joseph Abdin, who was Indian.

“You’ll Be Okay” appears to be text written by an airplane, but it’s in fact a digitally produced image. Whether a viewer knows this or not is of no consequence to how it’s read. It’s a fading image, but one that can be rewatched indefinitely as long as it is needed.

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Found objects relating to the Zulu tradition speak to Siopis’s home country of South Africa and her home in New Orleans.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art

A non-linear look at the life of Charles “Buddy” Bolden, a key figure in the development of jazz until his career was cut short due to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Don’t expect to hear a lot of jazz in this piece. It’s mostly shots of Bolden staring off into the horizon interspersed with poetry spoken by the actor.

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Above are displays for the puppets Miss Pussycat has used in her performances. Her puppet shows provide the opening act for Quintron, a musician known for his unusual homemade instruments and electronic sound. Quintron and Miss Pussycat are based in New Orleans.

Chung covered the room with her custom cyanotype print on watercolor paper. Inside the room feels like being wrapped in warm ocean water (though apparently itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s supposed to be scary because there are floating fish bodies depicted.)

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New Orleans Museum of Art

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The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the US Mint This strange, office-cubicle-ready cube houses books including Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout,” records purchased in New Orleans, and a few abstract sculptures tucked into the nooks of the piece. One surprise lurks inside: speak into its walls and viewers will find their voice amplified. In a talk, the artist explained that the function was meant to reflect the erroneous belief that a louder voice is the one that reaches more people. The mics barely worked in the echoey chambers of the bank vault, though, so it was hard to draw that reading from the piece.

According to the wall label this still-to-be realized project will replace advertised material with brightly colored surfaces in construction sites across the city. This piece — presumably a prototype for the site specific work — doesn’t do that, though. The Tyvek and DUPONT trademarks remain throughout. Confusing.

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Park Locations

Arguably the strongest piece in Prospect 4. Here, Bailey wraps a conch shell inside a large metal structure to amplify the sound of the ocean emanating from the shell. It’s a simple, elegant gesture that reveals that quiet sound you hear inside a shell to be an honest-to-goodness actual thing.

An easy-to-miss installation located adjacent to the Algiers Point Ferry. The piece reflects the title — it’s an imagined, obsessive replica of a marine biologist’s lab.

Inspired by New Orleans Street tappers, this piece collages recorded footage of kids tapping on top of moving clouds and a slowed down version of “When the Saints Go Marching In”. It’s a beautiful video, but unsettling for its oddly colonialist positioning. Adams told me he intentionally recorded only the shoes of the tappers to avoid using any identifying features of the kids. (Adams includes the names of the performers— Torrance and Derrick Jenkins—in the wall text.) At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but when a friend mentioned that the strategy seemed off putting to her I began to see her point. It’s an ugly kind of borrowing that seems more akin to stealing for the purposes of profiteering than it does appropriation. Prospect 4 continues at various locations in New Orleans through February 25, 2018.

Read the article on the Hyperallergic website.

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Find additional images on @markatthemuseum, @vajiajia, @rcembalest, and @artsy.

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When four Confederate monuments came down in New Orleans this spring, some worried history was being irrevocably and physically erased from the landscape. Never mind, one supposes, the inescapable embeddedness of the Confederacy elsewhere in the names of schools, a major highway, even the neighbouring community of Jefferson Parish. The monument’s supporters—championed by President Donald Trump—heralded the statues as public art. And now that a stories-high NOLA podium that once carried the figure of Confederate general Robert E. Lee is, instead, conspicuously empty—and amid the omnipresence of America’s extraordinary political moment and its volatile president—it happens to be a highly auspicious time to explore the implications of history and art, of race and colonialism, cultural synthesis, nationalism and the land upon which New Orleans was built 300 years ago. The triennial international exhibition Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, which offers reflections on many of these themes, opened in New Orleans this past weekend, bringing the works of 73 artists (including some Canadians) to galleries, parks, museums, the banks of the Mississippi River and even a streetcar. The exhibition was already designed to coincide with celebrations of the city’s 300th birthday this winter, but artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker agreed it’s become, “sadly, all the more timely.” “Everything really feels like it’s just going to hell in a handbasket,” Schoonmaker, who is also chief curator of Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art, told me. He’s never seen the American public so politically engaged, he said. He argued the scaffolding of white supremacy, among other systemic problems, is being revealed.

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“At the same time, the artists are making these works that—you know, it’s such a sensitive, thoughtful response to the moment we’re in, and trying to find proactive ways or approaches to get out of it, to find a way out of the mess.” The mess, or to use the exhibition’s vernacular, the swamp. Not to be conflated with Trump’s “drain the swamp,” a phrase deemed racist by many, which had hardly registered in Schoonmaker’s mind when he chose the exhibition’s title. Instead, in one of the many entwined ironies, Schoonmaker pulled the title in part from a quote from jazz musician Archie Shepp, who called jazz a “lily in spite of the swamp”—a metaphor evocative of the Louisiana’s humid, mucky landscape and one that explicitly describes both New Orleans’ vibrant cultural production and the enduring suffering of its Black citizens in particular. The show has created striking juxtapositions: Nearly a dozen large, iridescent, candy-coloured portraits of urban African-Americans by the late American artist Barkley L. Hendricks hang on the vaulted stone walls of the New Orleans Museum of Art’s cavernous lobby, just rooms away from the museum’s collection of pristine furniture from antebellum era plantations. Also: Into the vacuum of what belongs in public spaces created by the Confederate monument controversy comes New Yorker Kara Walker’s upcoming installation Kataswof Karavan (planned for Prospect.4’s February program).This collaboration with jazz pianist Jason Moran will feature a custom-made steam pipe organ (called a calliope) housed inside a large covered wagon, blasting protest songs from Algiers Point, a public site on the Mississippi River once used to corral slaves. Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp probes echos of Deep South culture in cities around the world, seeking artists with overlapping concerns, including Iranian-Canadian Abbas Akhavan and Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore, both of whom present work with contextual ironies of their own. For the exhibition, Akhavan created Service, an installation featuring an image printed on a casket-sized flag that remains folded and unviewable for most of the day, placed carefully on a kitchen table. Once a day, for the final minute before the show closes, the flag is unfolded and hung next to the table. It remains there overnight, and is folded again before the show’s opening. Crucially, “while it’s up for that one minute, no photographs are allowed of the image,” Akhavan emphasized in conversation. For most viewers—myself included—the main experience will be of arriving at the wrong time. Of being denied access to the exact thing we’ve come to see. Or for those arriving at the right time, of a largely un-Instagrammable experience. The reaction for some (as it was for me) might initially be irritation. “That’s fair,” Akhavan told me. “But I think it’s more about restraint.” Restraint, that is, around the image that is printed on the flag: a close-crop of a viral picture of Myeshia Johnson, the nowfamous military widow, draping herself over her husband Sgt. La David Johnson’s flag-covered casket after he was killed in Niger.

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“She wore this incredible dress that has this floral pattern on it, a magnolia or lotus-looking flower,” Akhavan said. (Looking at it, one might be reminded of plant motifs in his other works, like the large bronze casts of plants from around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Study for a Monument, shown of late at the Guggenheim.) For Service, Akhavan cropped the source image so severely that not even Johnson’s face is visible—an effort not to further exploit her image. “And so what’s printed on the flag is actually part of the American flag,” says Akhavan. “But where the stars would be is basically her shoulder, and that’s the lotus—the flowers have basically replaced the stars.” Despite its title, its use of a funeral flag and its source image, Akhavan said the piece doesn’t question service or sacrifice per se (though viewers may not avoid such inferences). “My interest was more about representation, and also ways of looking at images, and also ways of looking at people who are exploited through imagery or through political lenses,” he said. “It was a remarkable moment, and it’s so proliferated in really wrong ways, and it needs its own ritual of looking.” Far from being conceived for the exhibition is Rebecca Belmore’s iconic megaphone, Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother, which appeared originally in 1991 in reaction to the Oka Crisis and celebrations of 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in North America. The concept of speaking to the land feels especially precarious in southern Louisiana, as coastal erosion threatens the surrounding communities, aided by oil development and rising sea levels. And yet, while chosen for its references to the environment, spirituality, protest and Indigenous cultures, Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan has been placed against the white walls of the New Orleans’ Contemporary Arts Centre among other exhibition works—removed from the site-specific natural landscapes for which it was made, away from the Mother to whom Belmore has, in the past, invited others to speak. “Clearly, it’s meant to be outdoors and meant to be performed, and meant to speak to a very specific landscape and people,” Schoonmaker admitted. “But at the same time it transcends that, and it speaks to issues that we all need to be addressing,” in addition to being “stunning in its visual impact.” Aside from the explicit politics of The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, Schooner argued it’s political even in the choice of artists, many of whom are people of colour. Among them is Dawit L. Petros, a photographer based in Montreal, New York and Chicago; his project The Stranger’s Notebook, chronicling of a 13-month journey through Africa that ended in Europe, is another Prospect.4 highlight. And while this show is not explicitly part of “the resistance”—a broad U.S. political movement that’s sprung up to resist Trump’s presidency—it’s hard to view Schooner’s exhibition as completely outside it.

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Akhavan, for his part, argued America’s current politics has implications for everyone, especially racialized people around the world. A certain “collegiality,” he says, could be one outcome of the current moment. White supremacists are “so prejudiced that they bring the rest of the world together. It could be Palestinians, Jews, Iranians, blacks, queers.” From that collegiality, “there’s a lot of sophisticated, nuanced cross-pollinating,” Akhavan said, artistic and otherwise. “A rich conversation.” Something beautiful, something growing.

Read the article on the Canadian Art website.

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NEW ORLEANS — Trevor Schoonmaker was hopping in and out of Uber cars recently as he raced around this soulful Southern city helping artists finalize works for the fourth edition of Prospect New Orleans, which has turned the entire city into a giant multicultural gallery. “The installation is the best part — you’ve been talking about the work for so long, and you’re finally seeing it in person,” said Mr. Schoonmaker, the sneaker-clad artistic director of the exhibition, titled “Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp,” on view through Feb. 25. He has been commuting from his day job — that of chief curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, in Durham, N.C. At one stop, Mr. Schoonmaker was helping hang some of Genevieve Gaignard’s photographic self-portraits at the Ace Hotel New Orleans, where she is presenting work that meditates on race, beauty and cultural identity. The curator held up one image to the wall, featuring the artist confronting the viewer with her gaze, turned to Ms. Gaignard and lifted his eyebrows to say, “How about here?” Mr. Schoonmaker, who is 47 but looks 15 years younger, is not an art-world gabber offering extraneous chitchat. He is sober without being self-serious. “It’s a watery show,” he said of his concept for “Prospect.4,” which spreads the work of 73 artists across 17 venues and includes Rashid Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Njideka Akunyili Crosby and even the jazz legend Louis Armstrong (represented by his collages). Most of Prospect’s $3.8 million budget comes from local and national foundations, and it’s expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors. New Orleans, which will mark its 300th anniversary in 2018, has thrived from its location where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico, but is also battered by hurricanes and floods and breaking levees. The same waters that have fed commerce also brought slave ships from Africa. So Mr. Schoonmaker’s focus is Atlantic-centric, looking at New Orleans as a nexus of cultures, with work primarily from the United States, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

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“The crux of it is the lotus that grows from a fetid, yucky swamp that is also nutrient rich,” Mr. Schoonmaker said. “You can’t have the good without the bad.” “It’s such a great metaphor for being able to rise above trying circumstances,” he added. Having lost overall population and remaining mired in economic inequality along racial lines, New Orleans still grapples with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Prospect, too, has faced trying times. Its lauded debut in 2008 — organized by the curator Dan Cameron to buoy the city — and the long-delayed “Prospect.2” in 2011 ended up in the red financially. With “Prospect.3” in 2014, the event stabilized and morphed from a biennial to a triennial, but it does not have a permanent executive director at present. “I still think they struggle for resources, but they are on a lot firmer ground than they ever have been,” said Amy Mackie, who runs Parse NOLA, a nonprofit curatorial residency here. Then there was a last-minute hiccup earlier this month, when Kara Walker, one of the biggest names in “Prospect.4,” had to postpone her piece, “Kataswof Karavan,” until the closing weekend of the show because of the work’s complexity and scale. Not that viewers will lack for art to see. Mr. Schoonmaker presents dense concentrations of work in four locations: the New Orleans Museum of Artwithin City Park; the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, both in the Warehouse District; and the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, in the historic French Quarter. At the Contemporary Arts Center, the artistic duo Ellen Gallagher and Edgar Cleijne were puzzling out exactly how to present “Highway Gothic,” which encompasses a series of cyanotype banners printed on 70 millimeter film — with images of crayfish and catfish — and a movie. (The title refers to an official typeface on road signs.)

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“I want to drink in this color!” Ms. Gallagher exclaimed as she laid out some of the bright blue banners on the floor. She and Mr. Cleijne set about to explore the displacement of both people and animals caused by the construction of Interstate 10, the cross-country freeway that slices through New Orleans and the Atchafalaya Swamp, an enormous wetland, to the west. Ms. Gallagher called the work an example of magic realism, a story about the highway “as a sick child,” she said. “It registers all the characters that move across it, from the swamp to the city.” The duo — based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Red Hook, Brooklyn — lived on a houseboat in a swamp for a few weeks as they filmed, and Mr. Cleijne had a short take on the experience: “It was a bit scary.” There are two projects right on the banks of the Mississippi itself: Jennifer Odem’s “Rising Tables” in Crescent Park and, across the river at Algiers Point, Mark Dion’s “Field Station for the Melancholy Marine Biologist.” Ms. Odem’s piece is a series of antique tables stacked from biggest to smallest at the top. “It’s about reaching higher ground and stacking for survival,” Ms. Odem, a New Orleans native, said as she looked out at the tankers passing behind her tables. As the water rises seasonally, she added, “The river completes the piece.” Reactions have varied: Passers-by have thought she was selling the tables or drying them out after a refinishing.

Across the way, Mr. Dion, whose art installations have scientific premises, was painting the inside of a cabin, a temporary structure meant to look venerable, clad in weathered boards and placed on an existing concrete foundation. Its location is the batture, the area between the river and the levee. “Locals know that no sane person would build here,” Mr. Dion said. “So it must be an artwork. They’re probably hoping it’s a new barbecue joint.”

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The artwork’s imagined resident, a scientist, is melancholy because he is “watching the Gulf disappear in front of us, as we all are,” Mr. Dion said. “We have this spectacle of ecosystem collapse. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion.” As if on cue, a mournful ship’s horn sounded. Race is one of the crucial fault lines for the work in “Prospect.4,” as it is in the larger contemporary art scene. Ms. Gaignard, who lives and works in Los Angeles, talked about how she stars in her own photographs, as she installed the show, titled “Grassroots,” in the Ace Hotel. “My mom is white, and my dad is black — I can pass as white, but it’s not my full story,” she said, noting that her father was from New Orleans. Her installation transforms two adjacent gallery spaces, one with 19th-century furniture and old-fashioned wallpaper and another with church pews. The photographs include “Trailblazer (A Dream Deferred),” with Ms. Gaignard dressed in an antebellum-era bustle dress. Mr. Schoonmaker said that Ms. Gaignard was among the artists who could break out to larger fame based on her Prospect work. “Much like Cindy Sherman, she’s a shape shifter,” he said. “Except that she’s a race shifter.” But is a white curator like Mr. Schoonmaker the right person to tackle such issues, especially in New Orleans, where the population is some 60 percentblack? “It’s a fair question,” said Mr. Schoonmaker, who specialized in African art in graduate school and has organized several shows on colonialism and race. He was the curator of “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey,” the Africanborn artist’s first American survey, which traveled to the Brooklyn Museum in 2013; and “Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool” (2008). He also edited the book “Fela: From West Africa to West Broadway.” “I bring voices to the table,” he added. Mr. Schoonmaker noted that the water theme may have come from a personal wellspring: his North Carolina childhood. “Maybe some of that is just me pouring out my love for the water, growing up around it and fishing and boating,” he said. The Berlin-based artist Satch Hoyt, whose art addresses how African sounds change as they spread, has worked with Mr. Schoonmaker on three shows previously. “Trevor is the type of curator who does a massive amount of research — he doesn’t come into town and plunk something down,” Mr. Hoyt said. His sculpture “Splash, Ride, Crash” is made from 216 cymbals, each representing a musician of the African diaspora. That work is on view at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, as is “Fiend,” a piece by the New York-based artist Rashid Johnson. “Fiend” looks like a large, blocky piece of furniture but is in fact an interactive sound piece. “It’s a microphone,” Mr. Johnson said. “The performer has to perform to the monolith, to the object. Imagine if you were singing to a Sol LeWitt and it could amplify your voice.” The metaphor, Mr. Johnson said, was that of speaking out: “Through social media and protest, you see people trying to make sure their voices are heard.” Curators have to sift through many voices to create international exhibitions. It can be cacophonous at times. Even Mr. Hoyt, who is featured in such shows, said, “Every time I hear of a new biennial I think, ‘Not another one!’” So the leadership of such exhibitions matters to ensure that they remain distinct and necessary. “I think Trevor can see the forest through the trees, and he’s not subject to what’s popular,” Mr. Johnson said. “Art has the ability to heal,” he added. But he didn’t think the speaking-up metaphor of “Fiend,” or the rest of Mr. Schoonmaker’s lineup, was going to heal the city’s wounds tomorrow. “It’s not a social service,” Mr. Johnson said. “My practice has a more philosophical ambition. And over time those ideas may inform practical outcomes.”

Read the article on The New York Times website.

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Read the mention on the artnet news website.

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For some time now, identity has been the driving force of contemporary art, which has felt the heat of America's blood boiling for years before Donald Trump's election sharpened the edges of those feelings, gave them a foil, and drew the bitter lines. But New Orleans, where the fourth Prospect triennial opened this past week, is a more blurry place. It's at once the most African, most European, and probably most Caribbean city in the U.S. And the mix isn't smooth like a roux—it's more a jambalaya. Things are complicated there. On the one hand, there are the sunny lifestyle reports on the rapidly gentrifying parts of the city, on the other there is the dark forecast for neighborhoods that still haven't fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina, more than 10 years later; on the one hand, there is the pleasing scent of the city's reputation as a Creole-flavored melting pot, on the other there is the bitter after taste of the white supremacist protests, and the counter-protests, following the removal of four Confederate statues in New Orleans just this year. Artists who make art in the first person—in both the "I" and "we" forms—seem to have also arrived at a crossroads of public image these days: either the art is seen as an act of protest or it is seen as an act of celebration of self. With some notable exceptions, the most visible artists at Prospect.4—titled "The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" and put together by Trevor Schoonmaker, an established curator from the Nasher Museum at Duke University—have opted for the latter. "Everything I do is about that," said Derrick Adams, who has revived interest in black artists like the cult fashion designer Patrick Kelly by featuring them in his own work. "As an artist, you have the ability to talk about so many things. For me, I don't want to acknowledge direct relationships to oppressive

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structures—I know other artists are already dealing with that. I want to make people aware of brilliant things that exist in American culture that aren't talked about, and to bring light to it in a way that enhances its discovery." We were sitting in Louis Armstrong Park near the French Quarter, where Adam was showing a video work featuring his own discovery: a duo of street dancers, cousins Torrance and Derrick Jenkins, who with youthful ingenuity had nailed crushed soda cans to the bottom of their Air Force 1s to reinvigorate one of the oldest black arts, tap dancing. Adams happened upon the kids by chance two years ago while visiting New Orleans for a friend's birthday—and then had to work hard to find them again for his Prospect commission. "They didn't have phones even," he said. Eventually, after driving around the Quarter for hours, he located the Jenkins cousins, and paid them handsomely to film what was by definition public domain. "I was paying them to do this street performance, but other people were walking by us, just filming it on their phone and posting it," Adams recalled. "And I’m laughing. But I wanted them to know I was investing the time and money to do this presentation of the piece so that people who see it in New Orleans will have a totally different appreciation for this art form, whereas they may have overlooked it as a tourist attraction." The video, Saints March (2017), is an attractive formal rendering of a happenstance art, with a slow and mournful a cappella version of Louis Armstrong's "The Saints Go Marching In" soundtracking the tapping sneakers. Originally, the video was meant to be projected inside street trolleys, but there were technical difficulties— probably for the best, Adams suggested, since the noise and crowds in a trolley would've drowned out the contemplative work. That raises one of the central questions of every Prospect: How to make public art stand out in the streets of a city already overflowing with it? Out in Algiers Point, visible across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter and reachable by a 10-minute ferry, there were some answers. Historically, it's known as the site where African slaves first landed in New Orleans, before being taken and sold in the Quarter. The firebrand artist Kara Walker, last seen presenting the severed head of Donald Trump to New Yorkers, was commissioned to create a riverboat calliope—a pipe organ like those on old steamboats—along with the MacArthur-winning jazz pianist Jason Moran. The work was ambitious, a little too much so—it wasn't ready for the opening of Prospect.4, but likely will be for its closing ceremonies in 2018, which happens to be New Orleans' 300th birthday. Walker, however, did give a preview of it last week on her Instagram. Still a work in progress, it looks to be, like the best of her work, both spectacular as a visual and devastating as commentary. Less cutting but also eye-pleasing is the work of the artist Odili Donald Odita, a Philadelphian by way of Nigeria. For Prospect, he adapted his identity-based abstract installations—the colorful fields and geometric shapes of his wall murals are metaphors for the different people who come together in one place—to places like the ferry at Algiers Point, one of the 14 sites across the city where his brightly-hued flags fly high. Though the ferry flag tells the narrative of slavery at Algiers, it

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is not a starter of conflict—it's too well-designed and well-balanced for that—but an argument for the open and heterogenous mixing of colors and histories. As Odita and I chatted at the dock by the French Quarter, our conversation was constantly interrupted by the bleating of the ferry horn. There was a lot going on, in general, on the boardwalk, and I feared that his flags might get swallowed up by the noise of the city. To the public eye, these weren't conversation starters, exactly—they didn't scream, as Marilyn Minter's do, "Resist." It made me almost hope for a little controversy. In fact, yes, I wanted there to be something to talk about. (Maybe I wanted the Kara Walker.) Despite being in a city where there is so much public art, or because of it, Prospect.4 feels a little unsure out in the open (save for the blistering plein air guitar performance created by the artist Naama Tsabar and put on by a group of 21, most of them women, in Washington Square Park). This triennial is still very much for its core art world audience. One of my favorite Prospect discoveries is the rising star Genevieve Gaignard, a kind of mixed-race Cindy Sherman who re-designed two rooms into a combination salon and chapel, with old furniture, church pews, found photos, mirrors, and wallpaper that works in the schematics of slave ships. The installation was located in the lobby of the Ace Hotel, where many of the artists were staying, not to mention guests of Serena Williams's wedding, which took place in New Orleans at the same time. Gaignard's made-over room and her inventive self-portraits were vibrant and fresh and felt right in their place. It was something that people were talking about—and not just because Beyoncé was spotted admiring it.

Read the article on the W Magazine website.

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ASK ALMOST ANYONE IN NEW ORLEANS about Charles “Buddy” Bolden and they’ll tell you he was the king and, loosely speaking, the father of jazz. A cornet player who was active at the turn of the twentieth century, Bolden drank too much, lived too hard, played too loud. He was known for a syncopated squawk, weaving in and out of crowds gathered in the French Quarter on parade days and bursting onto the street at irregular intervals to blast his horn. Since he died, in 1931, at the Louisiana State Insane Asylum—twenty-five years after he suffered a psychotic break and disappeared from public life—he has been remembered for creating an intuitive combination of church hymns and blues music, gospel spirituals and ragtime. Some say it was precisely that unsanctioned intermingling of the sacred and profane that broke him. Others say his music was so lacking in wisdom you’d want to clean every note that he played. The known facts of Bolden’s life are few, and a century’s worth of conjecture has filled the gaps between them. It is said that he worked as a barber, that for several years he published a newspaper called The Cricket, that he bashed his mother-in-law in the face with a water pitcher. He is the subject of least five biographies, a handful of films, and two daring novels, the most famous of which is Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter, published in 1976. The New York Times critic Anatole Broyard, who was born in New Orleans, hated Coming Through Slaughter: “Too many sentences float between cliché and bombast,” Broyard wrote. But his most damning conclusion sounds today, in the context of contemporary art, like challenging praise: “The author gives us all the broken pieces and leaves it to us to infer the final form.” Whatever the form, Bolden was a huge influence. On his album Live at the Village Vanguard, from 1999, Wynton Marsalis said: “Buddy Bolden could play so loud that when he opened up his horn in New Orleans, Louisiana, people way across the river in Algiers could hear it and it made them feel good, because they knew it was time to swing, and that’s where everybody likes to be.” A fortnight ago, where everybody wanted to be during the preview days of Prospect 4, it seemed, was in the fifth-floor gallery of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, on Camp Street, where John Akomfrah’s three-screen video installation about Buddy Bolden was showing for the first time. Prospect 4 is the latest edition of New Orleans’s biennial turned triennial––which was founded by curator Dan Cameron in the calamitous wake of Hurricane Katrina––and has stumbled since 2008 through lesser storms of budgetary, staffing, and organizational distress. Commissioned for Prospect 4 and titled Precarity, Akomfrah’s film coaxes Bolden’s story into a capacious rumination on the experience of double consciousness, W. E. B. Du Bois’s term, in The Souls of Black Folk (1903), for the psychic burden on black Americans made to see themselves through the eyes of a hostile other. (In one of those great, lightning-quick exchanges that make endeavors like these worth it, curator Thomas Lax pointed this out to me, and also the few lines in Akomfrah’s work—“two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body”—that come directly from Du Bois’s text.)

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Akomfrah interprets double consciousness in relation to ever-finer terms such as “enjambment” and “immanence,” and he uses it to echo Bolden’s possible schizophrenia. As a narrative, Precarity is elliptical, repetitive, and at times frustratingly unforthcoming. Some of the professionals milling around Prospect 4’s main venues argued that the new film was too similar in structure to The Unfinished Conversation, Akomfrah’s wondrous 2013 portrait of the cultural theorist Stuart Hall, but not nearly as satisfying. That seems true enough, though Buddy Bolden is a very different subject from Stuart Hall, and what is remarkable about Precarity is the way in which Akomfrah withholds the very thing you want most from Bolden—his music, loud and clear. There is a practical reason for that. Only a few photographs of Bolden survive, but there are no known recordings. The rare evocations of Bolden’s playing in Precarity come muffled and distorted through the sounds of running water. At the same time, the film says more about the horrific, unhealed legacies of slavery, segregation, and institutional racism in the United States— finding a form for all those broken pieces—than anything Akomfrah has done before. It demands viewers connect the dots of Bolden’s story to the context of his silencing. Akomfrah’s take on Bolden practically embodies, in its audiovisual mesh, how freedom, experimentation, and the risky mixing of unlike things have been as stifled by the cruelty of American politics as the brash cornet player’s music was muted by the wardens of his insane asylum. More prosaically, Akomfrah’s work, with its constant footage of moving currents, is a reminder of the extent to which New Orleans is tormented by water—by the last unspeakable storm and the next one coming. That Precarity was the most talked-about piece ahead of Prospect 4’s public opening on Saturday, November 18, was perhaps expected but also something of a consolation prize. It was meant to be another work, reversing Bolden’s sound and drawing people way across the river to Algiers to hear a butane-powered, thirty-two-note calliope steam organ built by the artist Kara Walker and played by the musician Jason Moran.

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Walker visited Algiers Point last summer and was stunned to discover not only that it was the site of a former slaves’ quarantine but also that it bore a plaque wholly inadequate to this brutal history. Her piece, titled Katastwóf Karavan after the Haitian Creole word for “catastrophe,” was conceived as a retort to the Natchez, a steamboat with its own calliope bringing tourists up and down the Mississippi River while listening to antiseptic Dixieland. The idea was that the Natchez would play, and the Katastwóf would answer—with songs, chants, and shouts taken from the long history of African American protest music. Just six days before the preview, however, Prospect 4 announced that the work had been postponed until February, when the triennial closes. For a city that celebrates life as much as death, that’s a passable proposition. But it left more than a few observers, chiefly journalists coming from the more cynical regions of Los Angeles, New York, and London, smelling the blood of disorganization. I, for one, arrived on the Wednesday before the two-day preview expecting no less than total disaster. But beyond the inevitable fraying of last-minute details, Prospect 4 gave me little material in that regard. The most egregious error on the part of the triennial seemed to be the damaging of an artwork by the London-based French Algerian artist Zineb Sedira, who was meant to be exhibiting a diptych of large-scale photographs showing a warehouse in Marseille full of sugar, on the left, and empty, on the right. Only the right-hand image was hung in the CAC, which effectively rendered her contribution moot. Otherwise, given how much had been yoked to Walker’s project in terms of hype, a few of the artists were justifiably upset to learn of its postponement. On Friday afternoon, sitting under an old tree in front of the New Orleans Jazz Museum, across from a bronze sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas of a black cherub posed warrior-like on top of a snail, Prospect’s affable interim director, Ylva Rouse, told me Walker’s visit to Algiers Point had been intense for everyone. It was her first major project in the South—Walker was born in California but grew up in Georgia, and much of her work is rooted, with great ambivalence, in the Antebellum era—which had grown over time into “an incredibly ambitious piece, technically and conceptually.”

Later that day, taking a breather on a bench outside the New Orleans Museum of Art, Prospect 4’s equally genial artistic director, Trevor Schoonmaker, echoed the point, saying Walker’s calliope was complex, weighed more than a ton, and was highly sensitive to temperature and weather conditions. It simply needed more time for testing. What no one seemed willing to say was that while the artist had brought some $200,000 in funding for the project, the triennial needed more to get the thing shipped down to New Orleans. (For perspective, Prospect 4’s total budget, including seventy-three artists and collectives— thirty-two of them contributing specially commissioned work—was $3.8 million.) That aside, it speaks to the atmosphere Rouse and Schoonmaker have achieved that I was basically won over—by everyone and everything associated with Prospect 4—by 11 AM the next day, when Carol Bebelle, of the Ashé Cultural Center, opened the morning’s press conference with what amounted to a Thanksgiving sermon. She expressed gratitude “not for the narrative that’s been given to us” but rather to the American Indians who welcomed the first settlers of New Orleans and paid for it with their lives, and for the African slaves who were brought to the city against their will but made it what it is today. Sounding a common refrain, she called attention to the fact that New Orleans was nearly lost in (and after) Katrina. “We’re the prophetic

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city of America,” Bebelle said. “We’re the do-over capital. Now I ask you,” she added, casting her gaze around the room, “to carry your excitement [into the city] but also your hankering and yearning to be better.” From there on out, I was pleasantly surprised by a triennial that seemed, at almost every turn, relevant, thoughtful, and politically sound. Schoonmaker included very little work that felt like filler and almost nothing that was truly awful (rare for perennials anywhere). He has an obvious ear for music—Dan Cameron gave him his first break in New York, at the New Museum, where his exhibition “Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti” ran in 2003—and this edition of Prospect honors the rich musical heritage that has emerged from the great historical confluence of New Orleans, “the most African city in the United States, the most deeply Southern city in America, the most European city in the US, and the northernmost city of the Caribbean,” as Schoonmaker put it during the press conference. Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and now based in Durham, where he’s the curator of contemporary art at Duke University’s Nasher Museum, Schoonmaker, boyish and southern, is a perfect curatorial fit for Prospect.

And yet, it became increasingly clear that on the local level, Prospect was struggling for attention. On the same days, and in some of the same spaces (the CAC, the Ace Hotel), as the triennial’s preview, the tennis star Serena Williams was getting married, which had traffic going berserk and everyone abuzz about “celebrities” in town. Then, on Saturday, when Prospect 4 was opening to the public, a mural by Banksy, showing soldiers looting after a lesser storm, was being unveiled after renovation. The Times-Picayune critic Doug MacCash went so far as to call Banksy “perhaps the world’s most famous artist, period.” Also on Saturday, the city of New Orleans elected its first-ever female mayor, LaToya Cantrell. (Prospect’s board might want to take note of that ahead of announcing the curator for Prospect 5, in February; so far, it’s been an exclusively male engagement.) In January, Cantrell will succeed the career politician Mitch Landrieu, who was on hand for Prospect’s Swamp Galaxy Gala on Friday, shaking hands and cracking jokes about the Duke contingent in the house (southern rivalries die hard, apparently). John Akomfrah’s new film may be this Prospect’s blockbuster, but at least two dozen other artworks are as provocative and compelling, including Dawit Petros’s installation of photographs from the 2016 series The Stranger’s Notebook; Sonia Boyce’s split-screen video Crop Over, 2007, about the explosive incongruities between lingering colonialism and festival culture in Barbados; Radcliffe Bailey’s lovely new sound piece in Crescent Park; Daryl Montana’s incredible Mardi Gras costumes; and Jeff Whetstone’s recent photographs and video of the batture, a liminal stretch of land along the river that is only exposed when the tide goes down. I loved getting an impromptu tour of the triennial’s public sculptures from John D’Addario, who writes for The Advocate and moved to the city reluctantly (he’s originally from the Bronx) but stayed (for twenty years now) to become one of New Orleans’s most loyal critics. Ditto learning from the painter Wayne Gonzales, a New Yorker who was born and raised in New Orleans, about the history of NOMA, where he used to study as a boy, writing papers on the collection’s one small Monet. The museum is an encyclopedic institution in miniature, and the concurrent exhibition at the Ogden, “Solidary & Solitary,” on black abstraction (among other themes), curated by Katy Siegel and Christopher Bedford, is a knockout. As an astute young man on the largely white press junket remarked that it’s one of several shows of modern and contemporary black artists currently making the rounds—it’s touring seven US cities—but there isn’t a single New York institution on its itinerary.

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Schoonmaker named his triennial “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp” after a (slightly altered) quotation by the saxophonist Archie Shepp, who in 1970 described jazz as “a lily in spite of the swamp,” a beautiful thing growing in, but weirdly dependent upon, the muck. In that sense, Prospect counters but also draws strength and material from all the chaos, corruption, and violent history that has made New Orleans so fascinating and tenacious. Wynton Marsalis said that Buddy Bolden’s music made people dance because it was syncopated, made them dance with feeling because it was the blues, and made them dance with accuracy because it was jazz. Prospect 4, for all its hitches and hiccups, does all that—and more. — Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Read the article on the ARTFORUM website.

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B y Peli can Bomb

Curator Dan Cameron conceived Prospect New Orleans, whose first iteration opened in November 2008, as an international contemporary art biennial in the tradition of Venice, Istanbul, and Sao Paulo. These famed mega exhibitions around the world draw art-world jetsetters and cultural tourists to their host cities every two years. Art biennials find their roots in the grand expositions of 19th-century Europe, and to the average New Orleanian the concept might feel equally remote. With "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," which opened to the public Nov. 18, this year's curator Trevor Schoonmaker delivers a triennial (Prospect has since moved to a three-year schedule) that is relatable to general audiences. Critics in several national publications have cited a lack of curatorial risk in Schoonmaker's vision, but they miss the fact that there have been only a handful of museum quality group shows in New Orleans including international artists since Cameron's original exhibition. Visitors need not have any experience with the biennial model, with Prospect, or with contemporary art at all to enjoy it. That's because Schoonmaker, who works as the chief curator of Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art, has created a citywide exhibition that actually seems in conversation with the city and its familiar sights and sounds, from the towering pillars of the Claiborne Avenue overpass to the rolling squawk of cornets and the coveted painted coconuts of the Zulu parade. And despite spanning 17 museums, galleries, and other public sites -- billboards, the Riverfront Streetcar line, and a French Quarter antique shop, to name a few --the exhibition rewards viewers who see its entirety with surprising moments and repetitions that feel like curatorial Easter eggs.

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Presentations at individual venues are tight, cohesive and distinct with clear themes and emotional threads that are generous to both audiences and the artists included, the vast majority of whom are exhibiting in the city for the first time. Viewers being introduced to the work of New York-based artist Rashid Johnson (Johnson did have several pieces in the exhibition "30 Americans," which traveled to the Contemporary Arts Center in 2014) are likely to get more from his bulky interactive sculpture made of speakers, vinyl records, and other assorted objects, simply because of its location at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Add its proximity to Black Masking Indian suits by Darryl Montana plus collages by jazz great Louis Armstrong and Johnson's abstract sculpture, whose speakers double as microphones, connects to a history of African-American musical and cultural production recognizable to any New Orleanian. That's just one example of how Schoonmaker amplifies the potential impact of works on view. Colorful portraits of dapper subjects by Barkley L. Hendricks, who died in April of this year, look that much more regal against the marble columns of the New Orleans Museum of Art's Great Hall. And a massive mixed-media sculpture by India-born, New York-based artist Rina Banerjee appears fresh off the parade route amid the raucous rock-and-roll meets Carnival atmosphere created on the CAC's first floor. The three-channel video installation by British-Ghanaian John Akomfrah may very well be this year's best in show. An enchanting ghost story centered on New Orleans musician Charles "Buddy" Bolden, the film sets the tone for a haunting series of installations of paintings and works on paper by Wayne Gonzales, Andrea Chung, Patricia Kaersenhout, and others on the Ogden Museum of Southern Art's third floor. And while the large museums offer an easy entry point for viewers looking to sample the breadth and diversity of artists and practices on view, it's the smaller and sometimes non traditional venues that offer the special encounters that make Prospect unique. Visitors should not miss the complementary pairing of Los Angeles-based filmmaker Kahlil Joseph and beloved Ninth Ward musician Quintron in Prospect's makeshift Welcome Center on Carondelet Street. North Carolina-based Jeff Whetstone takes over the intimate UNO St. Claude Gallery with lush wallpaper, color photographs, and a video. Whetstone's beautiful meditation on life on the Mississippi River was birthed from an artist residency at A Studio in the Woods in Lower Coast Algiers, demonstrating how Prospect.4 soars when its artists have sustained engagement with local organizations and the city itself. Visitors need not even venture indoors to sample Prospect.4. Odili Donald Odita has designed flags in the style of his signature murals to mark important sites in the history of black liberation throughout the city, including the location of Homer Plessy's arrest and the elementary school integrated by the young Ruby Bridges.

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The Bywater's Crescent Park has a series of outdoor sculptures for those strolling along the river. The perhaps easiest to miss installation of all is located in City Park directly across the street from Ralph's on the Park restaurant. There, visitors find a plaque in the grass, tucked away from the street, where South African artist James Webb has installed an audio recording of a Japanese robin, not native to Louisiana, into one of the majestic oak trees dripping Spanish moss. It's a subtle intervention that encourages visitors to quiet down and listen carefully, allowing them to simultaneously tune into the breeze, the traffic, and the bell of the park train coming round the bend--in other words the rhythms of daily life. Prospect.4 continues through Feb. 25, 2018. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website. This article was produced as part of a partnership between Pelican Bomb and | The Times-Picayune. More information about Pelican Bomb can be found at

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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By Pelican Bomb Walking through the Contemporary Arts Center, there seem to be young children, dressed in long-sleeved shirts and track pants, oddly crouched between the artworks on view. Topped with messy mops of black hair, these figures look like students ducking during a school tornado drill or kids playing a game of hide and seek. Without seeing their faces, it's hard to tell if they're sad, upset, or angry, but step closer and each one is harshly whispering what sound like commands or warnings. Suddenly, a museum guard patrolling the galleries takes a seat, her knees bent over the rounded back of one of the children. These figures, on view in multiple locations throughout the CAC for the citywide exhibition "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," are actually sculptures by artist Taiyo Kimura. His unconventional furniture invites playful interaction by offering museum staff and visitors surprising places to sit in the building. (When taking a rest, expect to see astonished looks from others who have not yet read the artist's hand-drawn instructions on the nearby labels.) Kimura, who was born and lives in Kamakura, Japan, is known for his sculptures, videos, and installations, which create scenes that are at once disturbing and funny. Here, the artist asks viewers to do something forbidden (touching the art) and places them in the nonsensical and unsettling position of sitting atop another human being--an action that makes one consider the ways in which power dynamics are embodied in the simplest of everyday encounters. Prospect.4 continues through Feb. 25, 2018. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website. This article was produced as part of a partnership between Pelican Bomb and | The Times-Picayune. More information about Pelican Bomb can be found at

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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View the photos on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of the United States. New Orleans was hit particularly hard. Due to the massive destruction and the city’s unfavorable geographic location, there were even calls to relinquish the metropolis. But the residents of “The Big Easy” did not give up and began rebuilding. Artists and curators also played a part. In 2008, just three years after Katrina, Dan Cameron initiated the Prospect triennial in an effort to revive New Orleans’ cultural life. He was successful. Today, it is one of the most important regular art exhibitions in the USA. The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp is the title of the current installment. The image of a lotus blossoming in mud alludes to Buddhist spirituality, according to which something beautiful can emerge even under the most difficult of circumstances. As always, the triennial is closely connected with the city’s special identity: its diverse cultural landscape, its location on the Mississippi Delta, and its colonial history. This time there is a special focus on music. John Akomfrah’s new video work Precarity tells the story of the New Orleans-born bandleader Charles “Buddy” Bolden. He was the city’s most popular musician at the beginning of the twentieth century and regarded as the “inventor” of jazz. On account of an alcohol-related psychosis, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital in 1907, where he remained until his death in 1930. In elegiac images, Akomfreh tells the story of legendary “King Bolden,” repeatedly setting it in relation to his home city. Another famous son of New Orleans, Louis Armstrong, is also represented in the show. The exhibition presents a selection of collages created by the jazz trumpet player. Unfortunately, Kataswof Karavan, a joint contribution by Kara Walker and jazz pianist Jason Moran, will only be finished toward the end of the triennial. The sound sculpture will be installed in Algiers Point, a neighborhood where slaves arriving from Africa were once penned in before being sold in the French Quarter. As in Walker’s silhouettes in the Deutsche Bank Collection, the artist devotes herself to one of the darkest chapters in American history, which still has repercussions today.

New Orleans creole culture, mingling European, Indian, and African influences, also figures prominently at this year’s Prospect. Darryl Montana’s fantastic Mardi Gras costumes document links between African Americans and Native Americans. Montana was a chief of Yellow Pocahontas, a Mardi Gras Indian tribe. These African-American Carnival organizations were inspired by indigenous American culture. The contribution by South African artist Penny Siopis, in turn, points to surprising parallels between Zulu warrior culture and Carnival culture in New Orleans. Part of her installation is a video in which Louis Armstrong interprets a South African folk song. Fields of Sight, a joint project of the Indian photographer Gauri Gill and an illustrator from the Warli tribe, Rajesh Vangad. A work from this series was recently purchased for the Deutsche Bank Collection. Fields of Sightnot only unites two different media, but also very different artistic languages and traditions. It is works like these that best embody the multicultural spirit of the Prospect triennial. Prospect 4. The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp at 17 different sites in New Orleans Until February 25, 2018

Read the article on the ArtMag website.

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Some days the clichés of New Orleans are so cloying, like the number of fake second lines snaking through the French Quarter, that residents cringe. Locals chafe under the mythologizing of New Orleans, and that becomes a problem when the Prospect triennial rolls around every few years and resurrects the tropes in order to offer work that fits the city. Usually a fake second line opens the big show, but this year the exhibition tossed the cliché and opened with a performance by P.4 artist Naama Tsabar. It featured twenty-one local female musicians standing on amplifier pedestals that had been arranged in a big triangle in the middle of Washington Square Park, just down the block from the jazz clubs on Frenchmen Street. Each musician was dressed differently, such as a bass player in a New Orleans Saints football jersey and black high tops bedazzled with gold studs, and a guitarist in a flowing floral dress, short cowboy boots, and a big hat. The music built slowly, rotating through each leg of the triangle until all of the musicians were playing at the same time. Then people started to cross the threshold and enter the triangle. Soon everyone was swarming around the musicians, usually with cell phone in hand to take panoramic video. The sun was shining, it was warm and windy, and it had started to sprinkle just a little bit before the performance began. I had that out of body experience that great music evokes, and the catharsis felt communal. Tsabar’s performance proved that some days, the clichés recede and the magic of New Orleans inspires. The New Orleans triennial is leaner this time around — Prospect.4 has more artists than the 2014 edition, Prospect.3, but uses fewer venues. The smaller footprint makes the logistics of getting around in New Orleans a bit easier, though it still took me three days to see almost everything. The 73 artists are spread between 17 venues, with most concentrated at the CAC (Contemporary Arts Center), the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, NOMA (the New Orleans Museum of Art), and the Old Mint (the New Orleans Jazz Museum). There are certain tropes in Prospect, and this iteration checked them all off. Bring in lots of artists from around the globe, and toss in a few from New Orleans. Of the locals, choose one who made it big and left the city (Wayne Gonzalez), some who are central to the scene (John T. Scott, Quintron, a garage tinkerer musician, and Miss Pussycat, his partner in crime, a beloved maker of subversive puppet shows); and some who are emerging (Jennifer Odem, Michel Varisco, Monique Verdin). Fill out the roster with a few big names — Mark Dion, Kara Walker (whose installation was postponed until the closing in February). Finally, include a long-dead artist to shake up our assumptions about contemporary art biennials. Here, it’s Louis Armstrong, the beloved musician from New Orleans who also made collages on his master reel boxes with cutout photographs of himself and other people in his circle, as well as bits of ads and other ephemera. Armstrong also showed up as the topic of Penelope Siopis’s World of Zulu and its accompanying video Welcome Visitors: Relax and Feel at Home, which explores Armstrong’s visit to Zimbabwe in 1960. In addition to celebrating New Orleans and citing its unique history, Prospect tends to use the city to connect to the theme of the Global South. Runo

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Lagomarsino’s text piece at Crescent Park is particularly funny in that respect: on three panels, it reads “If you don’t know what the South is / it’s simply because / you are from the North.” This year, much was made of Prospect coinciding with the 300th anniversary of the city in 2018, and several artworks did engage that history. No local art viewers would be surprised that the show included Mardi Gras Indian costumes, featured in a thoughtful installation of Darryl Montana’s work that included contextual photographs by Prospect veterans Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick. Prospect also tends to succeed with sitespecific work, and Odili Donald Odita’s project Indivisible and Invincible: Monument to Black Liberation and Celebration in the City of New Orleans is a good example. Odita designed abstract flags that are installed at several locations associated with African-American history, from Dooky Chase’s restaurant to the Algiers ferry — and I recommend a sunset crossing on the ferry in order to see the work. Works by Derrick Adams and Yoko Ono are displayed on the riverfront streetcar line, and Pedro Lasch is showing a site-specific work at M.S. Rau Antiques, a well-known store in the French Quarter that is a cultural landmark. Titled Reflections on Time, it offers an intriguing commentary on time and illusion by using black mirrors to pair images in the mirrors with clocks and other objects from Rau’s collection. Prospect.4 curator Trevor Schoonmaker, who is the chief curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, has titled this year’s edition “the lotus in spite of the swamp.” The unfortunate wording could imply that the art rises out of the dirty swamp of New Orleans, but the curator insists that it refers to how the greatest art can emerge from difficult circumstances — thus the title’s derivation from saxophonist Archie Shepp’s description of jazz, as well as Hindu and Buddhist symbolism. Schoonmaker sees our current circumstances as the setting for a new blossoming. The rhetoric emphasizes the sense that artists are responding to a crisis, delineated as environmental, social, and political. While I expected that timing to mean political art of a strident variety, it has actually resulted in moments of tenderness. “Healing” was the word of the show—an emphasis on using catharsis to counteract the negative. Or, as Jillian Mayer’s video proclaims, You’ll Be Okay (2014), the words appearing as if written by a skywriter, but actually a product of digital animation. The works alternate between deep and fun, giving visitors moments to ooh and aah while also bringing some to tears. Xaviera Simmons started her artist talk at NOMA by saying, “I thought we were much further [along] as a country.” She argued that “the country itself is a kind of heartbreak and New Orleans encapsulates that.” Simmons spoke about how the city demonstrates the cycle of “generational wealth and generational poverty” that feeds the divide between the neighborhoods with expensive houses and crystal chandeliers versus the ones that have poorly maintained and crowded housing. She was tearfully honest about her feelings at this particular moment in time: “I’m really upset.” Her work on view appropriates text from political speeches, notably Michigan Representative John Conyers’s speech about H.R. 40, a current bill that would study the legacy of slavery and make recommendations for reparations to African-Americans. In Rupture (Edition Two), Simmons painted the text of Conyers’s speech onto long wood strips that completely fill one wall of the gallery — and that she admitted was designed to be Instagram-friendly to reach a wide audience. The North Plays Innocent and Points at the South (Landrieu 2017) borrows the text of Mayor Landrieu’s speech about the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans (listen to his speech here), a topic parallel to photographs by Kiluanja Kia Henda’s Homem Novoseries (2011-12), in which people pose on the empty plinths that once held statues of Portuguese rulers in Angola. It was the shock of encountering a work about the Emanuel AME church in Charleston that made me emotional — a place that I have written about before (you can read it here). In Jon-Sesrie Goff’s A Site of Reckoning: Battlefield (2016), spoken word

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narration by Sonia Sanchez and the gospel music of Sweet Honey in the Rock accompany a 5-minute long black-and-white video about the shootings at the church on June 17, 2015. The camera follows a car pulling into the parking lot behind the church, and I’m guessing that only a Charlestonian like me would catch that the car was pulling up to the side entrance that Roof used to enter the building. The camera takes us into the sanctuary and lingers on still tableaux: the organist’s mirror, the eagle finial on a flag, the objects on the altar. Then the camera zooms in on details of the offerings left behind: votive candles, handwritten messages of love and support, sweetgrass roses hanging from a tree, a plaster angel, coins left on top of the church sign. In the spoken word narration, Sanchez implores us to “come to this battlefield called life,” exclaiming “we need your hurricane voices.” Finally the camera pans out to show the front of the church—no people at all, just flowers and stillness as the music ends and the only sound is the sound of passing cars. Goff’s video makes the church real for those who have never visited it, and the video offers an emotional sanctuary — a place to memorialize the loss of life. It refuses to show us the violence at all, and that was another theme of work in Prospect.4: the question of representation. In her artist talk, Njideka Akunyili Crosby talked about how representation is founded on the absence of the thing being represented, and how she used that idea in her collage paintings about the history of Nigeria. Alfredo Jaar has considered the logic of representation in photography throughout his career. Prospect.4 includes Jaar’s One Million Points of Light (2005), which is an image of the sun sparkling on the water off the coast of Luanda, Angola, the site where African slaves were shipped to Brazil beginning in 1538 — information provided by text on an accompanying takeaway postcard. The image serves as an abstraction of that history. Historians have argued that photography has been used as a tool of control, used to surveil or victimize its subjects. In Prospect.3, Carrie Mae Weems used that history to reflect on the absence of the black body in history, especially in her 2003 series The Louisiana Project. For P.4, the installation of Barkley Hendricks’s life-sized portraits of African-American subjects in the atrium at NOMA successfully used the institutional authority of the museum to counter the lack of the black body in the history of painting. John Akomfrah’s new film Precarity is a highlight of the exhibition, and demonstrates the project of making the absence at the heart of representation present. The film is inspired by Buddy Bolden, considered to be the inventor of jazz but who never recorded in his lifetime. The 45-minute film is shown on three adjacent screens and is structured around the six properties of double consciousness according to W.E.B. DuBois. Wearing a bowler hat, Bolden looks out onto the landscape or straight at the viewer with a sense of deep sadness. Much of the film imagines Bolden’s life in different spaces: in a fancy house (perhaps a brothel in Storyville, where jazz musicians often played), in a slave cabin, in a vast industrial space, straightjacketed in an institution. This imagined reconstruction is based on the few documents about him, such as a newspaper clipping about him striking his mother-in-law with a water pitcher, after which “he was never seen in public again,” and period photographs shown floating on water. The rhythm of the musical soundtrack and poetic narration is matched by the movement in the period footage—of streetcars on Canal Street, of carnival rides at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, of workers in factories and unloading big ships, of Mardi Gras parades in the French Quarter. In the soundtrack, we hear bits of what locals call “traditional jazz” (Dixieland), the type of music that Bolden would have played, but we don’t see Bolden play until the end. The different musicians that we’ve met throughout the film then finally converge on the

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small stagelike space of Perseverance Hall, a site of pilgrimage today for preserving the legacy of musicians like Bolden, but when they play their instruments, we hear nothing—an absence that sings. In contrast to these moments of deep reckoning, the exhibition also assumes that viewers are like cats. Dangle something sparkly in front of a cat, and it will jump. Schoonmaker refers to it as the “maximalist aesthetic” of New Orleans — the sparkle and awe of Mardi Gras. Two sculptures by Rina Banerjee and Lavar Munroe — the latter’s of which depicts a rider who has fallen off a giant horse, made from Carnival leftovers — provide the wow factor on the first floor gallery of the CAC, and even the two works that look abstract are actually interactive sound pieces hooked up to an amplifier (Naama Tsabar’s Work on Feltseries). Evan Ifekoya’s Disco Breakdown (2014) is a fantasy response to the depressing litany of our social media newsfeeds. Ifekoya suggests that a dance party is just what we need — a break from the overwhelming present. And the music really was catchy. What better way to access the Mardi Gras sense of spectacle than to install a disco ball at the CAC?

These spectacle moments are countered by the quiet pulsing of water. I found Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker’s The Voice Adrift (Voz a la deriva) late in the day, feeling out of energy, and I was mesmerized. The video starts with a thunderstorm — the rain from which carries a blue water bottle through the streets of Panama. It bounces against the curb and finds high drama when it enters a storm drain. Yes, it’s about the environment and the horrors of plastic, but the subtlety of that message is what makes it work. Jeff Whetstone’s project at the UNO St. Claude Gallery explored the life of the batture, the strip of land along the shore of the Mississippi River that often floods. His video, The Batture Ritual, shows giant barges coming down the river as local Vietnamese men fish from the batture, and the photographs in the gallery show the results of their work, such as a big catfish filleted and covered with neon green flies. Jennifer Odem’s Rising Tables is installed on the batture and viewable from Crescent Park. The stacked antique tables play with the wording of water tables and rising sea levels, as well as the history of attempts to control the Mississippi River. Also in Crescent Park, Radcliffe Bailey’s Vessel offers an intimate space of reflection that is minimalist in comparison to his other work. The round steel enclosure fits only a few people at a time, and viewers inside look at a single large conch shell (familiar from his previous work), installed just below the open roof, while listening to audio of classical cello music. These allusions to the role of water in New Orleans, to jazz music and its link to the city, to the current politics of race and gentrification all seem to follow the formula that Prospect has used in the past. There are a number of New Orleans residents who have wondered: couldn’t Prospect bring us the kind of art that does not fit the city, that challenges us in new ways, that exposes us to new things? Perhaps Prospect.5 will go there. But at the end of the day, in this shifting political landscape, the formula does make for an interesting show. The exhibition offers a moment of unearned grace, unearned because the tropes are tired for a local or regional audience, and tend to work best with the out-of-towners who are still in awe of the city. Yes, some of the nods to the clichés fall a little flat, but the surprising thing was how many did not.

Read the article on the Burnaway website.

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“Addressing the issues of identity, displacement, and cultural hybridity, Prospect.4’s “lotus and swamp” alludes to New Orleans’ ubique cultural heritage as a creative force, arising from a sometimes murky past.”

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We have thrown out the cry-baby in us. Dadaist manifesto, 1918 We are always eating from the trash can of ideology. Enda Deburka, 2017 I’m old enough to remember when the country was in a good mood. These days, whether facts on the ground wholly support it, it’s starting to feel like we are in as bad a situation as we have been in since the 1960s, if not the world wars. Like corpses unearthed in a New Orleans flood, the ills of society are freshly evident, ghastly and stinking. Your definition of what those ills actually are probably depends on your political leanings, but regardless, nobody right now appears calm. And the predominant response in the non-commercial art world of kunsthalles and biennials has been a torrent of “socially conscious” or “socially engaged” art. I say non-commercial, because the commercial art market at the global level has become its own unfortunately exposed cadaver. Many of the objects that are haggled over in the marketplace barely qualify as art. They’re high-end décor — sometimes very good décor, let’s not knock it — and of course, indecently overpriced. The commercial art market is definitely not trying to save the world. It feels like something the world needs to be saved from. Meanwhile, the other art world — the world of grants, residencies, kunsthalles and public art — is determined to save us from ourselves. Calls for residencies and public art increasingly ask artists to address specific issues like racism, misogyny, gentrification, the environment, immigration, or homelessness. Artists are expected to “develop their socially-engaged practice through volunteer opportunities” and “build and demonstrate models of a better society.” They are sometimes told specifically what non-art organizations they will be expected to work with. Woe to the introverted artist who prefers to work in relative solitude: that model is no longer fashionable or even socially acceptable. The impetus for all of this is understandable, of course. Artists and curators see what is happening in the world. They want to help. They want to make a difference. But so much of the socially engaged art out there reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of art. A century after Duchamp, I think the art world has lost its sense of what art is, and more importantly, what art can and cannot do. In a dark time, art is very good at pointing out the ills of society and articulating a collective sense of rage, anxiety or despair. William Pope.L, Karen Finley, and David Hammons, among many others, are masters of this, as were Goya and the Dadaists back in the day. Dada was a movement that emerged in the context of a war so catastrophic that it’s difficult for us to imagine. Their manifestos weren’t about addressing this or that nitty-gritty problem. They aimed to fundamentally change the way people saw the world, in order to change the world.

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Of course, changing the way people see the world is not the same as trying to fix specific problems of society. Art can illustrate problems, but it can’t fix them, and a lot of this socially conscious art we’re seeing fails in part because it’s not art — it’s political activism, or anthropology, or charitable outreach. It may work beautifully as those things, and those things are certainly worthwhile, but they are something other than art. We’re paying the price for Duchamp, having to acknowledge these “artists” are making “art,” when their works would be better suited to political rallies, classrooms, science museums, or — sometimes — dimly lit hallways in suburban municipal planning buildings. Visual art cannot fix the world because it’s not about that: it’s simply about seeing the world. And it isn’t legible. It communicates, but not as language. So when you try to make it legible and activist — when you try to spell things out and use art to solve things like flood control or gun violence — things go south in a hurry. The resulting art is not only bad, it’s about as effective as a banana cream pie, as Vonnegut would say.* At its worst, socially conscious art is preachy, naive, visually dull and condescendingly pedantic. This makes going to see it feel like going to a particularly drab church and being lectured about your sins if you don’t relate to the message, or being preached at in the choir if you do relate to the message. Which is not to say that art shouldn’t have a social consciousness, or that it’s even possible for it not to. In an interesting conversation on the British writer Matthew Collings’ Facebook page recently, the artist Enda Deburka commented that “there can be no art i.e. art production outside of society i e. social production.” Of course. All art is socially conscious, in the sense that it’s made by humans who are part of human society, responding to their experience of that society. So how does socially conscious art transcend the trite? How does it avoid becoming a slave to its message? For one thing, it can’t worry about the audience. William Pope.L and Karen Finley aren’t going to give you what you want or what you expect. Like Charles Barkley, they are not trying to be a role model. They’re fully committed, and they’re going to come out swinging heavy and hard, but with sophistication and discipline. More than anything, great socially conscious art upsets the apple cart and stakes out new territory. It surprises you. Once Pope.L and Finley have done their thing, you can’t mimic them. If you try, it will be first-rate-secondrate pastiche. Unfortunately for all of us, kunsthalles and triennials rarely reward the unfamiliar. They want something the cognoscenti can agree upon as good. Which leads me to Prospect.4, the latest installment in the New Orleans triennial of contemporary art. Prospect has succeeded over the past decade because of its location in one of the most fascinating and distinctive cities in the world. In his essay for this year’s catalog, curator Trevor Schoonmaker shines when he describes his visits to New Orleans. The city itself, in all its contradictory richness and pleasure and dysfunction and chaos, is the best thing about Prospect. But New Orleans has never been a visual art town. I think it’s because visual art can’t compete with the city itself, whereas its music interweaves with the spectacle, becoming an integral part of it. There is also no city in the United States more ready to encourage you in soft-edged, languid pleasure than New Orleans. It’s one thing to look at contemporary art in a rough building in Long Island City or the LA warehouse district; but in New Orleans, it’s hard not to feel like you’re missing out on the good stuff while you’re looking at yet another clever art installation. Schoonmaker clearly loves New Orleans. He also understands the pitfalls of his profession. He has a warmth and expansiveness as a curator that’s refreshing. He avoids constipated art jargon and he’s good at communicating a sense of joy and hopefulness, particularly when he discusses music. Writing about the deaths of Prince and David Bowie last year, he says, “Moments such as these demonstrate the critical role played by artists… not only in rousing us, stimulating debate, and sharpening our focus on the work that must be done but also in inspiring us, reminding us of the wondrous beauty in the world, and proposing alternative visions for a better future.” Of course, what he doesn’t say is that both Prince and Bowie were controversial and unrecognizable when they got going. There was no ‘consensus’ on them. They were as Dada and disconcerting as anything

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that’s happened in music, image-wise, just completely throwing out convention. It was only later that everyone caught up with how great they were. But as a curator, Schoonmaker doesn’t appear to be concerned with outwitting history. More than anything, he exhibits a warm generosity of sprit that seems to want to stay the course and keep things positive, writing “Art has the generative power to inspire, heal, and push both the spirit and society forward” and “Prospect.4 is a reminder that artistic activity in the form of resistance to injustice can be a path to healing.” His enthusiasm and optimism are endearing, but as solid as some of the individual artworks in this Prospect are, I don’t think overall it moves the needle, either towards healing or towards change. In everyone’s defense, an international art triennial is not the best venue for artists who really want to shake things up. Also, none of us are probably ready for healing just yet. We’ve barely processed police brutality or gay rights or the fact that Donald Trump is the President, to say nothing of the crappy way women are treated in the workplace. As for change, some of the works in this Prospect are too obvious and pat to do anything other than reinforce the preconceived notions of the cadre of international art-watchers who are their primary audience. The sugar industry has historically been terribly problematic: check. Monuments to bad people are bad: check. Muslims should be allowed to drink beer: absolutely. Prospect is spread out over the city in 17 different locations. This year there are roughly 80 artists participating. I wasn’t able to see everything, but I saw a lot of it. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention certain standouts, like Darryl Montana‘s astounding costumes for the Black masking Indians of Mardi Gras; or the photographer Genevieve Gaignard’s poignant, fusty-chic installation at the Ace Hotel; or Jeff Whetstone’s luscious, meditative video of Vietnamese fishermen along the Mississippi River, at UNO’s St. Claude gallery; or Jon-Sesrie Goff’s video of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, highlighted by Sweet Honey in the Rock’s cover of the Sonia Sanchez poem “Stay on the Battlefield,” with its powerful refrain, “Come to this battlefield called life.” I liked Rina Banerjee’s janky mixedmedia voodoo-ish figure and Quintron and Miss Pussycat’s jumble of cartoonish, vaguely sinister ceramic toys and sewn puppets. Finally, don’t miss Louis Armstrong’s remarkable collages from the 1940s and 50s/60s, which are on view at the Mint Museum. If jazz music could be seen, these are what it might look like: witty, riffing, and a little risqué. More than any other, the piece that has really stuck with me is Zina Saro-Wiwa’s TABLE MANNERS. Like all good ideas, TABLE MANNERS is deceptively simple: it’s a series of straightforward videos of people eating. The installation at Prospect, on the top floor of the Contemporary Arts Center, includes four monitors playing two different videos each. The monitors are set up with a small bench in front of them, so that the viewer could theoretically sit “across” from the person in the video while they share a meal.

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Each video begins with a shot of the full plate, and ends with its eaten remains. They are titled the first name of the person eating and the dish they’re consuming, i.e. Lewa Eats Roasted Corn and Pear. The people in this series of videos are all Africans eating silently with their hands. They stare calmly into the camera, and their implacable expressions could be interpreted anywhere from confrontational to assured to bored. The explicitness of their identities (they are all clearly African, wearing African clothes, eating African food with their hands) is unmistakably exotic for a Western viewer, even in New Orleans, the most African of American cities. But their activity is fundamentally, viscerally familiar. We all eat, and watching another human eat stirs a primordial recognition. If one aspect of healing is to make us all feel a part of a larger humanity, then Sara-Wiwa’s videos achieve that, in the same way the clever, simple videos of the early Sesame Street years did. These interesting people, they say, are just like you. This is not to say the videos are art: they’re too close to straight-up documentary anthropology for that. They also don’t stir the same intensity of emotion as William Pope.L’s gigantic, shredded American flag or Kara Walker’s silhouettes of horror. But they work. They stay with you. If you go to Prospect.4, see the shows, but be sure to make time for the city of New Orleans and its pleasures, however sanitized they may be post-Katrina. And if you don’t go, keep your ear to the ground. The next great work of art, the one that will change the way we see the world, is coming. It’s out there. * “Fiction is harmless. Fiction is so much hot air. The Vietnam war has proved this. Virtually every American fiction writer was against our participation in that civil war. We all raised hell about the war for years and years—with novels and poems and plays and short stories. We dropped on our complacent society the literary equivalent of a hydrogen bomb. I will now report to you the power of such a bomb. It has the explosive force of a very large banana-cream pie—a pie two meters in diameter, twenty centimeters thick, and dropped from a height of ten meters or more.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Address to P.E.N. Conference in Stockholm, 1973, as published in Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons (1974).

Read the entire article on the Glasstire website.

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By Pelican Bomb When walking into the New Orleans Museum of Art, it's hard not to be immediately struck by a group of 11 colorful artworks spaced throughout the Great Hall. On view as part of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," these portraits by painter Barkley L. Hendricks boldly and matter-of-factly depict stylish black subjects posing, dancing and relaxing. Hendricks is best known for capturing a sense of effortless cool in his paintings, which feel emblematic of a vibrant generation of African-American pop culture and fashion from the 1970s. At NOMA, the artist's subjects sport garments in denim and patterned polyester; shiny leather trench coats with matching hats; and perfectly tailored hip-huggers. The installation serves as a memorial of sorts to Hendricks, who died earlier this year at the age of 72. Prospect.4's artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker also organized the ground-breaking 2008 retrospective "Birth of the Cool" at Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art, which brought Hendricks' work back into mainstream attention after several decades. Though the artist never stopped working, his last major exhibition before that was in 1980 at New York's Studio Museum in Harlem. While studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Yale University and in Europe, Hendricks was inspired by the style and techniques of Old Masters including Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Anthony van Dyck, and Jan van Eyck. Taking art history as his starting point, Hendricks began to use the forms of Byzantine icons, early Renaissance altarpieces, and portraits of European royalty in paintings of friends, acquaintances and himself. To illustrate this connection, Schoonmaker has placed Innocence and Friend, 1977--a shimmery diptych of the artist in oversized aviator sunglasses alongside sexually suggestive renderings of fruit-in NOMA's gallery of 15th-century Italian painting. Hendricks' art historical influences are equally evident in the characteristic glossy finish of the oil paint used to render his figures. The elegant sheen, enhanced by the Great Hall's lighting when looking from up close, is foregrounded against the matte, single-color backdrops--in red, white, fluorescent yellow, and pink. Hendricks' vivid color blocking also channels more recent historical movements like Pop Art. (One of Henricks' subjects is even wearing heels printed with the pattern of Andy Warhol's iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe.) Looking back at Hendricks' practice today shows the enormous influence he's had on artists over the past few decades, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, whose collages of fabrics, prints, and photographs are on view as part of Prospect.4 on NOMA's second floor; Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, who were recently commissioned to paint the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama; and Lynette Yiadom-

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Boakye, whose emotionally charged works are currently featured in an exhibition, which is not part of Prospect.4, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. While the examples at NOMA are reflective of Hendricks' attention to portraying black lives, the artist was quick to point out that he didn't see his works as being about blackness and that he didn't exclusively paint black subjects. But still, the placement of Hendricks' works within the museum's Great Hall emphasizes the lack of representation of people of color within the commonly accepted story of art history, which has traditionally centered the achievements of white European artists. And though Hendricks resisted critics' interpretations of his work as being political, it's important to consider that black visibility is still radical in spaces like museums, which are dominated by white artists, white staff, and white visitors, even in majority-black cities like New Orleans. Prospect.4 continues through Feb. 25, 2018. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website. This article was produced as part of a collaboration between Pelican Bomb and | The Times-Picayune. More information about Pelican Bomb can be found at

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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By Pelican Bomb When you think of Yoko Ono, do you imagine something aside from the music mania and the frenzied political climate of the 1960s? Are you able to conjure an image of her that doesn't include a pensive and bespectacled John Lennon or isn't set to the tune of your favorite Beatles song? A public artwork now on view in New Orleans is a reminder of Ono's monumentally important artistic practice, which, despite its six-decade span and worldwide influence, is still often overshadowed by her ties to the world's most iconic quartet. It appears at three different locations--on the exterior of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, on a billboard on North Rampart Street, and in the ad space inside the Riverfront Streetcar line. At all three locations, Ono's work asks residents to consider the same seemingly simple question: HAVE YOU SEEN THE HORIZON LATELY? As part of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," Ono's text-based artwork is one piece in a lineup of art tucked into the fabric of the city, outside of traditional gallery spaces. At first, its stark composition (plain black lettering on a white background) and self-reflective question seem less engaging than some of Ono's other works, like Cut Piece, first performed in 1964, which invited audience members

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onstage to trim off pieces of Ono's clothing with scissors. That daring work challenged participants to think about what they were willing to do to another person in front of a crowd. HAVE YOU SEEN THE HORIZON LATELY?, 1967/2017, solicits a different, but no less provocative, kind of introspection. Ono has used the question (or similar wording) multiple times throughout her career, including in a related 1967 performance piece, a song she released in 1973, and later, in 1997, as the title of her first major solo exhibition at Modern Art Oxford. But in typical Ono fashion, the metaphorically rich horizon is open to myriad interpretations. She doesn't tell us what we might or should find there, but her lyrics to the song urge us to look anyway, reminding us that whatever it is we might see there "may not last so long." Prospect.4 continues through Feb. 25, 2018. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website. This article was produced as part of a collaboration between Pelican Bomb and | The Times-Picayune. More information about Pelican Bomb can be found at

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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By Pelican Bomb Jeff Whetstone's film "The Batture Ritual," 2017, currently on view at UNO St. Claude Gallery, 2429 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans, can be considered a portrait of the Mississippi River. Historically portraits have offered a narrowed or focused perspective on a person, and this piece does the same for a familiar place. The film opens with a nighttime shot of a bare-chested young man carrying a large catfish out of the river. He wears a small headlamp and his face is out of focus. We see only a blurry silhouette, so we contemplate the act of fishing rather than the character of the fisherman himself. Viewed alongside a series of related spotlit photographs of fish, snakes, and trees, the 23-minute film is part of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp." The film's long but shuffled shots don't allow for a narrative to form. Instead, they show how at different times of day man and nature meet on the batture (the strip of silt, between the levee and the Mississippi, that is exposed when the river is at its lowest level). Though Whetstone lives and works in Princeton, New Jersey, he was able to make sustained observations of the river during his stay with the environmentally-focused local residency A Studio in the Woods. Perhaps reflecting his extended time focused on the river, the pace of Whetstone's film is slow and poetic as it portrays a largely industrial atmosphere. Huge commercial tankers and cruise ships chug across the screen past a comparatively tiny Vietnamese fisherman perched on the bank. The catfish, dragged around by hooks in the mud or strung together by their mouths on string, are numerous and big, some even larger than a whole leg. The film's droning soundtrack is filled with the noises of the river: motors, insects, crows, dogs, sirens, and the water itself.

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In "The Batture Ritual,'' the viewer is confronted with scenes of twilight solitude. The sun is often obscured and overshadowed by the trunk of a tree. Viewers can imagine themselves within this complex universe of tourism, industry and commerce centered around the river. The film, like any body of water, invites reflection. While it may require a bit of patience, we can consider our own roles: within our communities, with the natural environments that surround us, and with the work we do everyday. This article was produced as part of a collaboration between Pelican Bomb and | The Times-Picayune. More information about Pelican Bomb can be found at

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Think of the exhibitions you’ll see advertised around town as “PS Satellite” projects over the next couple of months as just that, satellites: entities affected by the gravitational pull of the main Prospect.4 exhibition in different ways while still remaining independent of it. It’s a distinction to keep in mind if you want to explore the main, multivenue Prospect.4 show as a unified whole. But don’t look at satellite exhibitions as somehow subsidiary to the central Prospect experience. On the contrary, the best of them more than amply stand up as must-see shows in their own right. Of those, the two-part “Sin Titulo” at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery and the nearby Art Gallery of the Consulate of Mexico may be the highest profile. And it’s definitely one to see if you want to get a sense of the incredible amount of artistic energy focused in New Orleans this season. Curated by Prospect New Orleans founder Dan Cameron, the show collects the work of seven prominent contemporary Mexican artists and is described as the first of its kind to take place in New Orleans. The Julia Street half of the show has a cool and appealingly cerebral feel, with the sinuous curves of Pablo Rasgado’s twisted assemblages of rebar and concrete echoed in the biomorphic abstractions in Martin Soto Climent’s photographic compositions.

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Things feel more immersive in the consulate’s Convention Center Boulevard space, with Hugo Crosthwaite’s large-scale wall paintings providing a feverish undercurrent to Rasgado’s literal and figurative excavations of space and culture. Cameron is also credited as “interlocutor” for an eye-popping installation by the artist collective known as "assume vivid astro focus" at Good Children on St. Claude. Abstract lightforms, pixelated videos, and (mostly unprintable) variations on the collective’s name are projected on the walls of the gallery in a dizzying and disoriented kaleidoscopic display of sound, color, faces and information. But it’s not just about trippy visuals: The collective also seeks to transform the gallery into “a community resource for others to act out their fantasies of artistic virtuosity.” That translates to an interactive performance component whereby participants are invited to share their talents (“from the traditional to the practical to the undefined”) and sign up via the gallery website for a public performance slot over the first weekend in January. Several PS Satellite shows also coincide with the citywide PhotoNOLA festival, and “Clickbait” at The Front deftly bridges the two with its combination of conceptual experimentation with more traditional image-based representation. Highlights here include Tara Wray’s poignantly creepy photographs of dogs in cars; Devin Lunsford’s enigmatic studies of shadow, light and reflection; and Robyn Leroy-Evans’s surreal domestic self-portraits. But perhaps the most unusual show in the PS Satellite orbit this month is one that’s also in a category all by itself: At the Pelican Bomb Gallery X in Central City, “Queer Tropics” helps make up for the relative lack of queer representation in the otherwise inclusive main Prospect.4 exhibition and seeks to “(look) to the tropics to examine the intersections of aesthetics, landscape, and otherness”, according to curator Charlie Tatum. That curatorial aim takes some wildly unexpected forms, like Pacifico Silano’s formally precise photo assemblage spotlighting appearances of tropical vegetation in gay erotica (and yes, it’s just as sexy and funny as it sounds). On the other end of the scale, Ash Arder’s astounding (and disturbing) “Experiment Station” sound piece takes a failed 19th century New Orleans-based agricultural experiment as its point of departure and ends up examining the violent repercussions of human activity on the natural environment as a whole. It’s an idiosyncratic and thought-provoking show, and one more that underlines the richness of the art scene both within and outside of the Prospect orbit this season. ----“Sin Titulo” at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery (400A Julia St.) and Art Gallery of the Consulate of Mexico (901 Convention Center Blvd., Suite 118) through Dec. 30 “assume vivid astro focus: avalanches volcanoes asteroids floods” at Good Children Gallery (4037 St. Claude Ave.) through Jan. 7 “Clickbait” at The Front (4100 St. Claude Ave.) through Jan. 7 “Queer Tropics” at Pelican Bomb Gallery X (1612 Oretha Castle Haley Ave.) through Feb. 25

Read the article on The New Orleans Advocate website.

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If you had to name a single thing that defined this city, you'd be out of luck. But if you could name two, the river and the people might get you within striking distance. Both profoundly influence each other in a place where nature is an inescapable presence. Photographer Jeff Whetstone explores that lingering wild world in his Batture series, on display as part of the Prospect.4 contemporary art triennial. The series is focused on that shape-shifting sliver along the river where land and water change places with the seasons. As an unlikely urban wilderness coexisting with massive industrial compounds and ships as big as the tallest skyscrapers, the batture provides a haven for the fishermen and solitary wanderers whose presence blends seamlessly with its swampy foliage. Batture fishermen are as varied as the city's neighborhoods, and many of Whetstone's subjects are Vietnamese people who might look at home in the Mekong Delta. In Eastern Hope (pictured), a man waist deep in water clutches a net as a massive ship, the Eastern Hope, plies the twilight waters amid the eerie glow of a nearby industrial complex. Here a solitary human looks puny and fragile against the vast river and its mechanical behemoths. Fish Pile is a night scene of a fisherman from the waist down as he stands over his haul of freshly caught catfish. Bathed in electric light, his grimy camouflage shorts and serpentine leg tattoos mimic the baroque foliage of the forest in the surrounding shadows. In Catfish, the remnants of a gutted, filleted catfish appear on a driftwood plank used as an impromptu cutting board. Not long dead, its open eyes and dozens of iridescent green bottle flies lend the scene the bejeweled presence of a Dutch baroque vanitas painting. That portentous, allegorical sensibility is elaborated in Snake, in which a man clutches a snake by its head as its long, slender body coils around his lower arm. A Tennessee native trained in zoology, Whetstone illuminates the improbable mysteries of the batture as a kind of urban primeval forest.

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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Genevieve Gaignard is a chameleon. One day she is a cat lady, the next she is in a shirt that reads “Hoodrat Thangs” with braided hair, and the day after that she is a 1950s housewife. “At the end of the day it’s my story,” the 36-year-old explains over the phone. All of these characters originate with her and represent an extension of her biracial, female identity. Gaignard, a Los Angeles based artist, takes self-portraits in elaborate domestic installations that provide a window into the lives of her numerous personas. Gaignard’s current show, Grassroots, is part of the triennial Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp in New Orleans. The Big Easy provided plenty of inspiration for Gaignard—the exhibition includes an installation of a domestic space modeled after her father’s Southern upbringing. The other space is made up of church pews and mirrors intended for self-reflection. Gaignard has made 10 new character portraits inspired by the history of the location and her own personal connection to the city. She references the Tignon law, the removal of a confederate monument, and the antebellum wardrobe. For someone who usually appears alone in her self-portraits, this time Gaignard decided to swap solitude for some company. “The reason that I felt inclined to bring other people into my work was this feeling of connecting with someone. There’s something about the melting pot of New Orleans that you can go there and somehow people read you as who you are.” The authentic relationship is felt between the subjects because Gaignard was able to relate to their stories and experiences. In order to move forward, Gaignard says, it is necessary to look at the past. “I usually say the work that I just made informs the work that I make next.” To help get a glimpse of what is to come, the artist shared some insights into a few of her new photographs. GENEVIEVE GAIGNARD: To glow up is to go from the bottom to the top point of disbelief. That neon was from the HBO show True Detective that was shot in Louisiana. This was a new way of taking pictures because it’s me, but it’s maybe not clear that it’s me. The subject is in shadow. I like to place symbols of religion in the work as more of a critique. You go to church and claim to be this one way, but you don’t act that way. In the show, this photograph is above mirrors so the viewer becomes part of the work and has to sit and self-reflect as opposed to make judgements.

… Gaignard’s current show, Grassroots, is part of the triennial Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp in New Orleans. The Big Easy provided plenty of inspiration for Gaignard—the exhibition includes an installation of a domestic space modeled after her father’s Southern upbringing. The other space is made up of church pews and mirrors intended for self-reflection. Gaignard has made 10 new character portraits inspired by the history of the location and her own personal connection to the city. She references the Tignon law, the removal of a confederate monument, and the antebellum wardrobe.

Read the entire article on the Interview Magazine website.

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Read the article on The New Orleans Advocate website.

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By Sue Strachan Creating just the right mood in the Sugar Mill can be a challenge, but for Prospect New Orleans Swamp Galaxy Gala on Nov. 17 organizers already had an artistic edge. A kick-off party and benefit for the fourth iteration of this international art triennial - Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp - the who's who of the art world (local and global) at the fete included board Gala Chair Beth Lambert (accompanied to party by Hugh Lambert), gala Chair David Workman, and junior co-chairs Abhi Bhansali, Colleen Connor, Sayde Finkel and Trevor Haynes, board President Susan Brennan and Ralph Brennan, Prospect.4 Artistic DirectorTrevor Schoonmaker and Teka Selman, Interim Director Ylva Rouse, C.C.H. Pounder, David Kerstein, Alexa Pulitzer and Seth Levine, Susan Langenhennig, Raine Bedsole, Allison Kendrick and daughter Megan Kendrick, Babette Rittenberg, Dr. Troy Scroggins, Sidonie Villere and Jonathan Ferrara, Katye Fayard, Mallory Page and Jacques Rodrigue, Aria da Capo, Jeanne Nathan, Nicelle Herrington, Basi and Michael Carbine, Charles Urstadt, Jim Mulvihill and Miranda Lash (former NOMA curator of contemporary art, now at the Speed Museum), Vesta Fort, Jennifer Rowland, Prospect New Orleans founder Dan Cameron, Ada Polla and Edwin Neill, Amy and Garrison Neill, Quinn Jones and Shannon Foley, Michael Manjarris, and many, many more.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Good art is a contagion. It grabs hold of the senses, latches on to the mind-body-spirit and travels along neural pathways and into the bones. Good art is infectious, but unlike a disease, it heals. Good art is the physical embodiment of human emotion and evidence of our ability to creatively work through psychic trauma, ours and that of past generations. It is a transmutation of desires, frustrations, heartbreaks and resilience. I’ve recently come back from a short visit to the mighty and resilient New Orleans, and I’ve been infected with good art. Just as importantly, I’ve caught an incurable case of optimism brought on by the fourth iteration of the city-wide art triennial called “Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp.” Originally created as a method for stimulating the local economy after Hurricane Katrina, Prospect is a unification of both “high” and “low” art from international as well as local creators. It’s a collaboration between a vast array of organizations, institutions and venues all over the city, and a celebration of art as a great healer and unifier. For Prospect.4, the venues range from the back of a small antique store on Royal Street to the Jazz Museum in the old U.S. Mint. The artists include famous folks such as Yoko Ono and Kara Walker, emerging artists such as San Diego’s own Andrea Chung, and unsung local heroes like Daryl Montana, the head of a Mardi Gras Indian tribe. “Prospect was conceived as a response to Katrina, as so many biennials have been conceived as a response to crisis,” reflects Prospect Interim Director Ylva Rouse, who has been with the project since the beginning in 2007. “The idea was to really show the city—not only to people coming from outside, but also to people in New Orleans—the types of places that often weren’t on their radar. I still have people who say ‘Oh! Prospect.1 or Prospect.2 was so wonderful because it made me go to the 7th ward where I’ve never been, or the Bywater.’ Nowadays everyone goes to the Bywater, but back then it wasn’t even on the tourist’s map!” I was only in New Orleans for two full days and only able to visit five out of the 17 venues, but the experience was striking. The sheer volume of women and people of color

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represented—weaving stories of exploitation and slavery with cries of triumph of the human spirit—was as inspiring as the spirit of New Orleans itself. “One of the things that Prospect does that not all biennials do is that we make sure that as many artists as possible come here for a site visit before they even present their proposal, so that they get to know the city and can explore,” says Rouse. “Often they come to us and say ‘I want to do this and do this here’ because they’ve connected. Sometimes it’s the connection that they make that makes the space happen. And that’s beautiful.” Why write so extensively about an art festival in New Orleans in a local San Diego paper? First of all, the show goes through the end of February and it’s well worth a visit. Also, I feel San Diego could learn a lot from New Orleans. Ours too is a city of ghosts—of stolen land and abuses of power and one that has a dependent, if not complex, relationship with tourism. Prospect.4 really got me thinking about the concept of creative place-making—the idea of organic, grassroots implementation of developing public spaces, as well as how a city-wide art festival could help us come together as an arts community and as a city at large. Despite disadvantages such as rising rents and expensive land prices, there’s a sense of resilience to the arts in San Diego. Organizations that I’ve lovingly covered in this column (A SHIP IN THE WOODS, Bread and Salt, Hill Street Country Club and Space 4 Art, for example) are doing amazing work on the regular. There are also emerging groups such as NAH NAH (some of the former curatorial staff of the San Diego Art Institute), Space Time, Teros Gallery and Little Dame. Then there’s all the incredible work happening in Tijuana, as well as the colleges and universities. It seems to me that San Diego is ripe for a cross-pollinating celebration of the arts, and I’m ready to spread this New Orleans art flu all over the damned place. I’ll also be heading back to NOLA before the end of February to infect myself further. I asked Rouse if she had any suggestions for us, and I cherish her response: “In the case of New Orleans there has been an incredible development in the awareness of what’s usually called the cultural economy. Numbers speak to politicians. And you can draw from statistics and knowledge from other cities that speak for themselves. When you’re starting an adventure such as this, it’s about getting people excited about the numbers in many ways. There’s excitement over these events that truly transforms the cultural scene.” DECEMBER 20, 2017 ISSUE by Rachel Michelle Fernandes December 20, 2017

Read the entire article on the CityBeat website.

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Read the entire list on the Hyperalleric website.

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Read the entire list on the Frommerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website.

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TRICENTENNIALS Two American cities mark tri-centennials in 2018. San Antonio plans a commemoration week in May, a “Summer of Spain” marketplace highlighting Spanish food, art and culture, Day of the Dead events Oct. 29-30 and a Witte Museum exhibition about the city’s frontier history under the flags of many countries. The exhibit will include the keys to the Alamo and Davy Crockett’s fiddle. In New Orleans, tricentennial events include the Prospect.4 art exhibition, which is already underway; a blow-out Mardi Gras, Feb. 13, with the Krewe of Rex procession themed on New Orleans’ history; various spring festivals; Luna Fete next December; and a New Orleans Museum of Art exhibition showcasing works by Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt and others from the Duke of Orleans’ collection. Read the entire article on the website.

New Orleans has serious roots. Deeper than the Mississippi. Older than Antoine's, Café du Monde and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. Longer than a Drew Brees pass. Broader and more crazily spun than a cypress swamp draped in Spanish moss. Stronger than the stiffest Hurricane, or Sazerac. And bigger than the sum of its nearly 300 odds-defying years. In 2018, The Big Easy will celebrate its tricentennial in top festive form - and beg two obvious questions: 1. How has a fabled French-then-Spanish-then-French-then-LouisianaPurchased gulf-adjacent outpost remained this positively buoyant after all it's weathered over the last three centuries, beginning with the hurricane that decimated it four years after it was founded in 1718. 2. Where's the next big party happening? In a food-, music- and general exuberance-obsessed city with more than 130 annual festivals at last count, New Orleans has your good times appetite satiated with biggies like this year's Tricentennial-supercharged Mardi Gras (February 13), Jazz Fest (April 27-May 6) and the French Quarter Festival (April 12-15) as well as niche favorites like the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, Bastille Day Fête and Dirty Linen Night -- a Royal Street art (and dirty martini) hop in the French Quarter. Spring birthday-season events include a community-wide celebration at Armstrong Park, tricentennial riverfront fireworks (May 6), Tricentennial NOLA Navy Week (April 19-25) andProspect.4 (currently running until February 25) -- the fourth iteration of Prospect New Orleans' celebrated international art exhibition. On deck for year 301: a rebuilt airport and redeveloped riverfront area. All warm beignets and chicory coffee aside, it's going to be a good century.

Read the entire list on the CNN website.

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By Pelican Bomb The story of cornetist, bandleader, and proto-jazz pioneer Charles Joseph "Buddy" Bolden is also the story of New Orleans -- or at least one story of New Orleans. Bolden was a famously short-lived ragtime king who didn't receive in his own lifetime due credit for his artistic innovations, even though his brash, improvisatory style paved the way for future jazz artists like Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong. The connection between the layered histories of New Orleans and Bolden is made explicit in British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah's new three-screen film installation, "Precarity, 2017, which is currently on view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp Street, New Orleans, for "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp." Like his mother city, Bolden is often remembered by his dizzying rise to greatness and sudden tumult into disaster, plunging from local renown and sexual magnanimity to alcoholism and mental illness. And though Bolden's legacy within jazz is unquestioned, his music remains elusive, as there are no known recordings of Bolden himself. Akomfrah's film imagines the interiors of Bolden's mind in the final 25 years of his life, which he lived out at the Insane Asylum of the State of Louisiana (now called East Louisiana State Hospital) in East Feliciana Parish. Confined there, exiled from his former life and his past glories as an artist, Bolden slowly deteriorated.

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In a 45-minute series of non-narrative vignettes that center on the figure of a schizophrenia-stricken Bolden (played by Londonbased actor Christopher Udoh), "Precarity" evokes the unease and dislocation of Bolden's illness as he silently wanders through decayed Louisiana waterways, houses, music halls and hospital rooms. Almost all of the scenes in the film feel half-remembered. There are very few characters, all of them silent and nearly expressionless. The only voice heard in the film is Udoh as Bolden, in dubbed symbolically rich fragments of language that evade straightforward meaning. One of the repeated motifs comes from novelist Michael Ondaatje's book about Bolden's mental illness, "Coming Through Slaughter," one of the inspirations for Akomfrah's film: "Under the sunlight, I am the only object between water and sky." Over the course of the film the phrase is restated, split apart, and illustrated by images of trickling water and vast skyscapes. Bolden is characterized as an object, to be observed by others, rather than a subject, a person filled with self-interest and agency. In his life he was observed as a musician, as a mental patient, and as a black man. This latter point is driven home by the film's repeated use of the phrase "two souls, two thoughts," a reference to W.E.B. Du Bois' theory of "double consciousness"--that African Americans have been forced to consider their own subjectivity as individuals and from the perspective of white society. In the sunlight of Akomfrah's film, the character of Bolden is now observed by us, the audience, as the musician revisits images of his former selves. Bolden was always more than one thing, and always in conflict with himself and those around him: He was an overlooked innovator, a popular outsider, a feared and reviled musician, a husband and philanderer, a once-lucid schizophrenic. Akomfrah's employment of three screens emphasizes these tensions by portraying the film's scenes in multiple perspectives, and the effect is often unsettling. Akomfrah invites our eyes to meander across the screens and watch the solitary figure of Bolden drift, making it impossible to capture any scene whole: Like Bolden's slipping memory, we constantly slip in and out of the story, our own perspective fractured. Prospect.4 continues through Feb. 25, 2018. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website. This article was produced as part of a collaboration between Pelican Bomb and | The Times-Picayune. More information about Pelican Bomb can be found at

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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By Pelican Bomb In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. On view through Feb. 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from New Orleans and around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites, across the city. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website. This article was produced as part of a collaboration between Pelican Bomb and | The TimesPicayune. More information about Pelican Bomb can be found at

Watch the video on The Times Picayune | website.

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Most jazz and blues fans have heard the name “Buddy Bolden.” The name is not attended by a great deal of information, and without in-depth research, that information is likely to remain missing. Still, Bolden’s legacy runs deeper than most people realize. The discussions of the musician are fleeting, like a whisper or dizzy spell. His legend looms large, an appendix in a larger conversation then disappears. A new art installation tells what it can of Bolden’s life. Buddy Bolden: life and legend A great deal of what most people thought they knew about Bolden appears to be wrong. He was thought to be a barber who ended up excelling at cornet playing. However, there are no readily available sources to verify that. In fact, because Bolden lived in a time when records about black Americans were scarce, documentation of his life before his decline is difficult to piece together. Charles Joseph “Buddy” Bolden was born in 1877 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was widely believed to have gone to Fisk University, but again, reputable sources seem to be guessing at this fact. What is known is that Bolden was an innovative musician. He played loudly and he improvised. Bolden’s take on ragtime paved the way for jazz and blues. Numerous sources bear out Bolden’s nickname, “King,” and his love of women and money. What is also known about Bolden is that little of his work survives, and according to, he died in 1931 in an insane asylum, suffering from mental illness. Bolden is not the first musician with a sordid backstory. But what is known about him makes him seem like someone who lived by his own rules and reaped the benefits (financial and social) like any popular musician. According to, and other sources, Bolden is credited with being the first musician to use the word “funk” in relation to music. He used the term in 1907. So his legend extends beyond jazz and ragtime to the genres of soul, disco, and r&b. Buddy Bolden’s life in art British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah has created a non-linear film about Bolden’s life, “Precarity, 2017.” The installation is exhibited at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., New Orleans, Louisiana. Meant to be viewed across three screens, the installation symbolizes the contradictory facts of Bolden’s life. He was both schizophrenic and stable; a cheater and a good husband, and so on. reports that the dialogue such as it is, comes from novelist Michael Ondaatje’s book about Bolden’s mental illness. In the film, Bolden the character is the only one who speaks. His voice is provided by actor Christopher Udoh. “Precarity” focuses on the last 25 years of Bolden’s life, when he suffered greatly from mental illness. According to a museum employee I spoke with, the film is installed on the fifth floor and runs for 45 minutes. It plays on a continuous loop, and visitors can just stop to watch regardless of where the film is in its cycle. While more research and documentation on Bolden is necessary, the exhibit seems to be an effective means to start. The museum with its public accessibility has the potential to reach a great number of people. “Precarity, 2017” will be on display until Feb. 25, 2018. For more information on museum hours and the installation itself, visit

Read the article on the Lemon Wire website.

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If you watch television, chances are you’ve watched CCH Pounder. Over the past 38 years, the Emmy-winning Guyanese actress—who celebrated her 65th birthday on Christmas Day—has accumulated well over 100 acting credits, including recurring roles in the Avatar franchise, ER, The Shield, Law and Order: SVU, Sons of Anarchy and, currently, NCIS: New Orleans. New Orleans is the location of not only Pounder’s latest television show but also her extensive art collection featuring exclusively African artists and artists from the African Diaspora. An artist herself, her collection has been amassed through decades of patronage and her former roles as both gallery owner and co-founder of the Musée Boribana in her late husband’s native Senegal. Now part of that assemblage has been curated into a 42-painting exhibition for Xavier University Art Gallery titled “Queen: An Exhibition.” It’s a celebration of black womanhood in varied mediums, centered around the painting The Birth of Oshun, pictured above, Harmonia Rosales’ reinterpretation of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. As gallery director Sarah Clunis notes: It opens up a conversation about art and women. ... For black women to be able to enter a museum and have a conversation about fine art and to be able to see themselves in it, that’s important. Pounder helped curate the exhibit, which includes pieces of her own and explores black “feminine beauty, identity and power,” according to the Times-Picayune. The exhibit opened to the public on Nov. 16 and will be on display until Feb. 26, making it ideal for a Mardi Gras visit to the New Orleans HBCU’s gallery, which is free of charge and open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The location is a satellite site for “Prospect.4,” a citywide exhibition of avant-garde sculpture, paintings, photos and installations. This year’s theme is “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp”—a fitting metaphor for black women’s history and relationship to America.

Read the entire article on The Glow Up website.

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On the ferry across the Mississippi to the Algiers neighborhood in New Orleans, the abstract painter Odili Donald Odita has installed a colorful flag with a wavy pattern. It’s one of 18 flags planted around the city, in 16 places that have historical significance for black struggles. (Algiers was the Parish where African slaves were held before being sold.) “The city itself is the artwork, and the flags are just markers,” said the Nigeria-born artist, who is known for his kaleidoscopiccolored paintings. “The struggle is the fight for freedom. It’s something people died for and continue to fight for. But I wanted to underscore the act of celebration of what has been accomplished.” Celebration springing from the roots of hardship is the theme of a citywide contemporary art festival, Prospect.4, taking over New Orleans through Feb. 25. It’s the fourth installment of a tradition that began in 2008 as a response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and should be particularly exciting this year, as it overlaps with a monthslong celebration of the 300th anniversary of the city’s founding. The motto of Prospect.4 is “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp,” and the featured artists examine issues of identity, displacement, ecology, and racial and economic inequity. “The greatest gift and challenge is the cultural and historical complexity of New Orleans,” said Trevor Schoonmaker, Prospect.4’s artistic director and chief curator at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. “Every city is complex, but New Orleans has layers and layers. The artists don’t pretend to speak for the city. It’s more about, what a gift this city is, and how can we explore common threads?” Seventy-three artists are featured in Prospect.4, from the U.S., Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Thirty-two works were commissioned specifically for the event, and all told they spread across 17 city venues, including museums and public spaces (although most of the art is concentrated in four venues). Prospect.4’s $3.8 million budget is mainly sourced from local and national foundations, and sponsors include Hancock Holding’s Whitney Bank. About 100,000 visitors are expected over the course of the event. Outdoor exhibits are free, while the museums have admission fees. (Hours vary; check the websites.) To see everything, it could take up to three days. Here’s what we recommend catching—and some recommendations for where to eat and relax along the way. Stop One: Contemporary Arts Center, Ogden Museum If your time is limited start at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which sit across the street from each other in the Warehouse District. The bulk of the Prospect.4 art is on display at these two institutions. At the Ogden, don’t miss London-based John Akomfrah’s moody, heartbreaking multichannel video installation “Precarity” which looks at the life of Charles “Buddy” Bolden, a pioneering New Orleans jazz musician until 1907, when he was institutionalized for the rest of his life with schizophrenia. He left behind no known recordings.

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Additionally, Wayne Gonzales’s acrylic paintings from photos of contemporary Louisiana landscape are cleverly positioned alongside pastoral scenes by mid-to-late 19th century Louisiana bayou school painters to evoke the passage of time. Over at the Contemporary Arts Center, you’ll find a cacophony of materials and themes. Lavar Munroe’s towering sculpture of a rider fallen from his horse—made from fabric, tennis balls, rubber, wood, hair and so much more—is a centerpiece. Brad Kahlhamer’s wire and bell dream catchers are delicate and intricate. The green flora in watercolor panels by Cuba-born Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, who explores how identity is formed through gender, history and religion, are lush and sinewy. Check out Kader Attia’s circular floor sculpture of more than 2,900 bent beer cans crowded together and Margarita Cabrera’s vinyl, thread, metal and wood baby grand piano sculpture that looks like it’s about to fold into itself. Next, stroll over to the nearby Ace Hotel on Carondelet Street, where, just off the lobby, Los Angeles-based Genevieve Gaignard explores race, beauty and cultural identity. She’s created two rooms, a parlor with keepsakes and furniture; the second with church pews that are meant to inspire introspection. Go ahead and sit on the sofa in the installation; it’s allowed. You can even bring your Stumptown coffee. For food and drinks: Slide up to the bar at Seaworthy next to the Ace for oysters and cocktails with fun names like Betty’s Revenge (gin sour) and the Kumbaya, described as a smoky, spicy “flavor bomb.” Also near the Ogden and the Contemporary Art Center, try the rustic Peche, where chef Ryan Prewitt’s grilled whole fish can’t be beat. (Start with the tangy crab claws with pickled chilies.) Peche is part of the Link Restaurant Group of chef-proprietors Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, whose empire includes Herbsaint, Cochon, and Cochon Butcher, also all within walking distance of Prospect venues.

Stop Two: New Orleans Jazz Museum At the edge of the French Quarter on Esplanade Avenue at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the U.S. Mint, you’ll find Rashid Johnson’s cubicle-like steel sculpture with shelves for objects like shea butter, plants, and books and records that represent black literary and musical traditions. Especially fascinating are collages created by Louis Armstrong, who covered reel-to-reel tape boxes with photographs and words from magazines and newspapers. Darryl Montana’s opulant, beaded and feathered Mardi Gras Indian costumes are gorgeous. For food and drinks: The weekday three-course lunch menu for $18.56 (celebrating its 160 years of operation) at Tujague’s in the French Quarter is a bargain, with house specialties gumbo, brisket of beef and seafood in a creole tomato sauce on the list.

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Throw in a few $4 house wines, cocktails, Bloody Marys or mimosas and you’ll end up hanging out for the afternoon in this classic dining room with checkered marble tile floors, white linen table cloths and ceiling fans. It’s old school for sure. Further into the French Quarter, order the namesake French 75 champagne cocktail in one of the classiest bars in town, Arnaud’s. Sit outside Palace Caféon Canal Street if weather permits with a cocktail and watch tourists, locals and oddballs pass by.

Stop Three: New Orleans Museum of Art At the New Orleans Museum of Art, large colorful oil paintings by Barkley Hendricks, who passed away in April, line the main hall. The works depict the American artist’s friends, family, and neighbors against vibrant backgrounds of hot pink, yellow, and silver. It’s easy to see how Hendricks’s monumental portraits were inspired by Old Masters and Pop Art. Upstairs, look for Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s multilayered collages of intimate domestic scenes, a huge wall work that’s a jumble of text by Xaviera Simmons that incorporates actual political speeches, and canvases by Afro Cuban artist Alexis Esquivel. For food and drinks: It’s a short hop to Catty Shack, a new Tex-Mex spot near the Fair Grounds Race Course. Owner and Austin native Catherine Smith (a former Bloomberg employee who left the keyboard to fire up grills full time) serves up delicious smokedbrisket tacos on soft corn tortillas. There are also fried catfish and hard-shell beef tacos and a vegan option with seasoned lentils, lettuce, and guacamole.

Stop Four: Outdoor art in Bywater In the Bywater neighborhood, walk along the path between the train tracks and the Mississippi to view four sculptures in urban Crescent Park. The Piety Street entrance at 3360 Chartres St. is easiest to access, with a free parking lot. After crossing the pedestrian bridge, turn right to see New Orleans artist Jennifer Odem’s sculptures of stacked tables and steel that seem to mimic the New Orleans skyline. Nearby is Runo Lagomarsino’s cheeky text work, If You Don’t Know What the South Is, It’s Simply Because You Are From the North. Radcliffe Bailey’s 2017 circular sculpture with sound emanating from a conch shell and Hong An Truong’s steel and wire assemblage are also located in the park. For food and drinks: Try the sweet and salty combination of praline bacon at Elizabeth’s, a cheery restaurant near the park entrance that serves large portions of omelets, sandwiches, and salads.

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Stop Five: Algiers Point Take a quick ride on the Algiers Point Ferry ($2 each way, exact change only) from the end of Canal Street to Algiers. Look up on the ferry for Odili Donald Odita’s flag. Once off the ferry, turn left for Mark Dion’s forlorn The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist, a weathered wood structure on the river bank. You can’t go inside, but you can peek in the windows; it’s a replica of a marine biologist’s lab and is meant to speak to the ecology of the Mississippi delta.

Kara Walker’s postponed public installation will be presented during the closing weekend in February. Walker, famous for her monumental sphinx in Brooklyn in 2014, has created a parade wagon with a 32-note calliope—a pipe organ used in steamboats, for example—that plays African American protest music. She’s working with jazz pianist Jason Moran and steam-power enthusiast Kenneth Griffard. Check out Walker’s Instagram for a preview. For food and drinks: Stop for coffee and a light snack of baked goods, salads, and sandwiches at Congregation Coffee Roasters.

Read the entire article on the Bloomberg website.

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Visual artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, 34, is having a moment. In 2017, she won a so-called MacArthur "genius" grant, and over the past few months her work has been shown in Baltimore, New Orleans and upstate New York. Akunyili Crosby was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States when she was 16. Her large-scale paintings (some as big as 8 by 10 feet) reflect her life in both countries. They show groups of people in Nigeria or Brooklyn or Los Angeles, and incorporate photographs of politicians, images of ancestors (mostly women) and objects that signify life in both cultures — a bowl to hold rice, a kerosene lamp, Ikea furniture. Akunyili Crosby says, "I think the point I make in my work is that my home is Nigeria and the United States at the same time." The painter holds citizenship in both countries. She listens to both Grace Jones and Nigerian pop in her studio, and, when filling out forms, she never knows what to put down as her permanent residence. "That really is what it means, for me, to be an immigrant, is this navigation of two worlds at the same time," she says. Many of her works contain a sort of portal between figures, like an open space in a wall, and she often paints members of her family. I Still Face You shows people around a table; the artist is standing and gazing down at the only white person there — her now-husband. … Trevor Schoonmaker is the chief curator at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, N.C., and artistic director for "Prospect.4," a New Orleans-wide art show that includes Akunyili Crosby's work. He says, "There's enough beauty and recognizable something [in Akunyili Crosby's paintings] that we can all relate to no matter where we're from, that just pulls you in." He's especially intrigued with the way the artist layers different worlds and images, mixing acrylics, colored pencils and photos to at least partly cover nearly every figure, from a Nigerian Michael Jackson impersonator to a former dictator to Janelle Monáe. "She's figured this out in a way that's really brilliant," Schoonmaker says. "And certain elements are American, and other elements are Nigerian; certain elements are Western, others are African. And she just — I mean, that's why she just won a MacArthur."

Listen to the segment on the NPR website.

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“Not to be missed is the Contemporary Arts Center and the exhibition ‘The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp,; curated by Trevor Schoonmaker. One artist really stands out: Colombian-born, Brooklyn-based Maria Berrio.”

Read the article on the Artscope website.

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By Pelican Bomb Driving around the city these days, the turmoil that upended so many of New Orleans' public spaces last spring feels surprisingly distant, like a chapter in a book long finished. Whether at City Park, Jefferson Davis Boulevard or Lee Circle, the stone plinths that once housed monuments of Confederate icons now lift up only empty sky. For residents who remember the protests and counterprotests, the cranes and the cheers, such stillness now feels strange--as though these silent stones are now unsure of their purpose. Fortunately, with the arrival of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," local monument-watchers have a host of new material to consider, as artists from around the world have brought works to the city that engage the notion of monumentality in numerous ways. With insight, wisdom, and humor, these artists invite us to look anew at old questions: How does our past define us? What do we choose (or refuse) to honor? And what kinds of legacies do we desire to leave for future generations? On the grounds of the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, is Hank Willis Thomas' "History of the Conquest," 2017, a large bronze sculpture of a young black boy wielding a bow and arrow while riding a giant snail. An outsized recreation of a tiny 17th-century German artwork, Thomas' piece here takes aim at prejudiced historical depictions of the people of North Africa, his critique using the same materials as typical monuments to military figures or colonial regimes. That he has grossly inflated the size of the original artwork adds an "Alice in Wonderland" sense of fantasy and mystery that forces passers-by to confront this strange and compelling sculpture. Not far downriver, Jennifer Odem's "Rising Tables," 2017, emerge like plinths in Crescent Park on the batture of the Mississippi River. Abstract, imposing and ornate, the terraced layers of these repurposed stacked tables invoke the architecture of pagodas and shrines, iconic sites of reverence across religious traditions. Though their form recalls the shape of monuments, Odem has

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suggested that these tables are intended to symbolize survival: the adaptiveness of local residents to changing water conditions, as well as our resilience in seeking high ground during storms and floods. But regarding them on a clear winter's day, next to the unstoppable current, a deeper impression sets in. As the Mississippi River flows past unperturbed by our presence, it's hard not to feel the expansiveness of time, as well as one's own miniscule place within it. The brevity of our lives contrasts the ancient movement of this body of water. In this sense, these tables remind us to slow down, to honor what is important rather than merely urgent, in an age defined by distraction, consumption, and immediate gratification. Most directly engaging the tensions of race and history that have roiled our city, however, are the photographs of Angolan artist Kiluanji Kia Henda, on display at the Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., New Orleans. In his works, Kia Henda reimagines monuments in Angola, placing his friends and other artists, typically depicted in striking garb or poses, atop the foundations erected by Portuguese rulers. The result is a series of images that at once laugh at the former colonial powers and project a new, more equitable, vision of history and citizenship for modern-day Angola. In the three-part "Redefining the Power III" (Series 75 with Miguel Prince), 2011, an archival image of the statue of former colonial governor Pedro Alexandrino is contrasted with a contemporary view of the pedestal, emptied of its subject and shown in disrepair as vegetation cracks the casements. In a third photograph, artist Miguel Prince occupies the spot where Alexandrino once stood, boldly facing the camera, wearing bright, colorful clothing, and proving an unmistakable symbol of vitality next to the worn effigy of the long-departed officer. Of course, celebrating our tricentennial, we here in New Orleans know that the book of our own history is far from finished--nor is the story of the monuments that commemorate it. Following the removal of P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee from public prominence, no shortage of ideas has arisen over what should take their place--including, pleasingly, the notion of a new Allen Toussaint Circle down in the CBD, or a Norman Francis Boulevard as a direct corridor to Xavier University. Amid this new debate, it would be well-worth our time to consider the questions and insights these artists have offered, in the hopes that a truly pluralist solution can be found. *** In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. On view through Feb. 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from New Orleans and around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites, across the city. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website.

Read the story on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Read the complete list on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Today, the characteristic wrought-iron buildings, the spirited sounds of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and the revelry on the cobblestones of Bourbon Street and beyond are not the only aspects of NOLA that visitors fall in love with. … The “soul of America” has an artistic groove to it, with its potpourri of cultural influences ranging from Creole to voodoo. A citywide contemporary art show called "Prospect.4: The Lotus Inside the Swamp" features works by 75 artists from 25 countries

and runs through February 25.

Read the article on the Architectural Digest website.

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By Pelican Bomb Penny Siopis is a South African artist whose work addresses themes of identity, history and memory. Across her practice, Siopis has highlighted the intersections between national, cultural and familial narratives, a theme that comes to the fore in her latest work, "World of Zulu,'' 2017, currently on view at the Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp Street, New Orleans, as part of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp." This mixed-media installation, which includes a display of objects from South Africa and New Orleans taken from Siopis' personal collection, as well as a film constructed from found and archival footage, sheds light on a range of unexpected connections between New Orleans and Southern Africa. These include histories of Carnival, appropriated aspects of Southern Africa's Zulu culture and events such as Louis Armstrong's 1960 visit to Zimbabwe. I spoke with Siopis about the installation and her exploration of New Orleans for this commission. *** Allison Young: When you first visited New Orleans for this project, how did you go about getting to know the city and its history? Penny Siopis: I only had a few days in New Orleans, but I wanted an intimate experience with people and things--to feel a sense of history and geography. I often work with found objects, so I decided to begin by navigating thrift stores.

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I became aware of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club through my encounter with a Zulu coconut in the first thrift shop that I visited, and thought "What's Zulu doing in New Orleans?" I was told about the club, its role in Mardi Gras, and the significance of the coconut throw. AY: Your installation at the Contemporary Arts Center, titled "World of Zulu," highlights the ways in which the idea of "Zulu-ness" has been appropriated and transformed both in South Africa and in the African diaspora. Can you discuss the origins of some of the objects that make up the installation? PS: It was fascinating to learn about the Zulu krewe not least because of the connections with my home of Southern Africa. There's a kind of fiction around "Zulu-ness"-related to the Zulu warrior and Zulu Kingdom, in which Zulu material culture often signifies a broader Africanness, which offers an opportunity to see culture as mutable, rather than "pure" and fixed. In 1980, after a year abroad, I moved back to South Africa to live in Durban, which is a city on historic Zulu land. There, I was fascinated by the ways traditional crafts were being transformed by migrants who had recently moved to the city from rural areas--for example, urban materials being creatively appropriated in the absence of natural fibers to produce Zulu sandals. Traditionally made from ox leather in rural areas, the pair in the installation is made from old motor car tires. They are called iZimbadada, or iZingcabulela, after the sounds they make while walking. iZimbadada are good for dancing, so became associated with South African music genres with roots in Zulu music. Then there is the knobkierie, a stick with a wooden knob. It's a weapon in its own right, but is also a sign of resistance to colonial rule -- it mocks the swagger stick of British imperialists. Years later, after moving to Johannesburg, I started to collect makarapas: hard hats used by mineworkers and construction laborers transformed by soccer fans into decorative headgear with the logos of local football [soccer] clubs. Finally, I collected coconut throws in New Orleans, through contacts I made, Prospect staff members, as well as Uber drivers. Everyone made a huge effort to collect coconuts, beads and other throws in time for the opening. AY: In the film component, entitled "Welcome Visitors: Relax and Feel at Home," 2017, Louis Armstrong's 1960 visit to Southern Africa serves as one of many points of convergence that link political, cultural and personal narratives. For instance, it's a reminder that in 1949 Armstrong was King of Zulu for Mardi Gras. Can you discuss the context for his visit and some of the other connections between New Orleans and Southern Africa drawn out by the piece? PS: The story revolves around "Skokiaan," both the song and its meaning in Southern Africa. Skokiaan was an illegal brew made by Africans during the colonial era. It was outlawed by the authorities, so the brew itself--and the culture of drinking it in shebeens [illicit bars or clubs], while dancing and singing-became a form of resistance. The song "Skokiaan" was composed by a Zimbabwean, August Musarurwa, and recorded in 1947 and 1952. He also played the sax in this recording. It found its way to the U.S. and became a hit. Louis Armstrong covered "Skokiaan" in 1954, producing an instrumental rendition as well as one entitled "Happy Africa," with lyrics added by Tom Glazer. The film includes footage of Armstrong's tour to

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Southern Africa and is structured in relation to three versions of the song: a contemporary jazz cover by South African Kevin Davidson, followed by Musarurwa's version, then Louis Armstrong's. There are further convergences in the film that touch on the global history of slavery and the culture of creolization. The Kaapse Klopse [Cape Minstrels]--captured in one scene within the film--is a carnival in Cape Town in which descendants of slaves celebrate their freedom. Dutch colonizers imported slaves to the Dutch Cape Colony from East Asia, India, Madagascar and other parts of Africa in the 1600s. On their only day off, every Jan. 2, they were allowed to take over city streets with their carnivalesque performances: dancing and singing in procession, many in blackface (not unlike the Zulu parade's recognizable, and controversial, makeup), carrying umbrellas--and to claim city spaces that were usually off limits, exercising a freedom to imagine and craft their identities. There are so many visual and historical affinities, even if coincidental, with the tradition of Mardi Gras here in New Orleans. *** In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. On view through Feb. 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from New Orleans and around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites, across the city. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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The title of the latest edition of Prospect New Orleans, the citywide triennial founded in 2008 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, is The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. Yes, that’s right, The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. Seventeen venues house the exhibition’s 73 participating artists, duos and collectives, though the city’s three art museums hold a massive majority share. Apparently based on a poetic quote from musician and educator Archie Shepp about the origins of jazz, the exhibition’s didactics tag on enough generic references to Buddhism, Hinduism and other ideas about art and rebirth to make one wonder whether the artistic director, Trevor Schoonmaker, and his team would have offered such a tepid metaphor about renewal in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And if not then, why exactly do audiences deserve it now? However, Prospect.4 does seem to predict the current mainstream debate surrounding public monuments. Indeed, in that regard it appears to have followed the lead of New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, who spearheaded the removal of several confederate statues in May 2017. “The South lost,” he declared several times. “Its cause was immoral.” Redressing these arthistorical legacies, certain works can be plucked out as exemplary. Hank Willis Thomas’s History of the Conquest (2017), a statue of a young black girl riding a close-to-two-metre-tall snail, appears to resemble some queer local folklore; and Rebecca Belmore’s Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother (1991), a massive megaphone handmade from wood and hide, prompts connections between indigenous tradition, monumentality and protest. It is worth consuming a large portion of an afternoon to chase the many colourful flags Odili Donald Odita designed to commemorate important sites in local black history for Indivisible and Invincible: Monuments to Black Liberation and Celebration in the City of New Orleans (2017). Still, the exhibition previously known to put art at the service of the city’s demands cordons this conversation off to institutional spaces or depends too heavily on international biennial stalwarts like Larry Achiampong, Kader Attia, Paulo Nazareth and Yoko Ono. Is Runo Lagomarsino’s eponymous riverside mural If You Don’t Know What the South Is, It’s Simply Because You’re from the North (2017) really so provocative? At the New Orleans Jazz Museum you may also experience Mardi Gras Indian costumes from Darryl Montana, a centuries-old tradition that melds black and Native American traditions in the postcolonial South; you’ll also discover collages by famed jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong, including one dedicated to his devotion for a certain brand of natural laxative. Biennials are great at cherry-picking, though Prospect.4 lacks the self-awareness that allowed previous iterations to really pinpoint their stakes. ‘I am a tourism promoter,’ the curator of the first Prospect, Dan Cameron, was quoted as saying in The New Yorker. I would appreciate it if Schoonmaker, and biennial leadership, would explain why they felt it was appropriate to install Genevieve Gaignard’s Grassroots (2017) at the Ace Hotel. An exhibition sponsor, the boutique hotel chain is known for a bespoke comfort – the eye they train on every aesthetic decision is guided by an effort to pass as local. Though Gaignard’s installation uses

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church pews, vintage mirrors and patterned wallpaper, things you’d already expect to find at an Ace Hotel, it is disturbing just how easily a series of slave ship manifests could decorate the lobby, too. Prospect.4 is an exhibition in spite of the curator. Some of the most beguiling work was captivated by the flood cycles of the Mississippi Delta itself. At UNO – St. Claude Gallery, photographer Jeff Whetstone’s series Batture Ritual (2017) is named after the in-between zone at river’s edge. The images show people, fish and tankers as they make their way up the Mississippi, locals taking evening recreation, others bathing; many of the images were shot at dusk and dawn, though the video of the same name shows the liminal area at all times of day. One image depicts a dead catfish that gleams all over with jewellike flies: the lucid light invokes Dutch still-life paintings from a bygone age of prosperity. The batture, which succumbs to seasonal flooding, is a reminder of the flood risk that pervades New Orleans, a city positioned below sea level; according to NPR, though, New Orleans successfully lobbied the federal government to remove emergency flood ratings that had prevented real-estate investment in areas that had been most affected by Katrina. In Monique Verdin’s photographs, the batture is positioned as a site of disappearance: her show at the Historic New Orleans Collection documents the United Houma Nation, a tribe located in southern Louisiana, and of which Verdin is a member. Mark Dion deliberately positioned Field Station for the Melancholy Biologist (2017) within the flood zone so that it will be destroyed when the river rises in winter. For now, the clapboard shed houses a tiny field-lab full of scientific instruments and animal specimens, but it will be funny when the water releases everything from its current state of captivity, including the contents of a cabinet Dion filled entirely with aspirin. The total lack of compunction on the part of a single rogue dancer (whoever it was in that Lycra bodysuit, they were feeling themselves) provided many of us with the strongest memory from the Swamp Galaxy Gala, an inaugural event for Prospect.4. Though the crowd’s phone cameras were trained elsewhere, it was actually the city’s mayor who would unwittingly set out the stakes of this edition of the triennial. Earlier editions of Prospect made urgent the larger concerns of the city, and artists notably tailored their contributions to also include financial support and other community-based resources; that biennials are strategic assets (and Prospect’s website states this very clearly) is a trap that curators of this edition succumbed to, clearly unwilling to needle the rampant real-estate market and a growing housing crisis. Who knows what went through Mayor Landrieu’s mind as he delivered his last Prospect commencement. The opening of the exhibition coincided with the mayoral election, and the city would determine his successor; local newspapers displayed pull quotes from leading candidates declaring their intention to stand up to developers. TV appearances, TED Talks, and participation at the Aspen Institute incubator have by now made Landrieu a pundit, and a New York Times editorial even named him a potential democratic presidential nominee. The greatest innovation is happening at the local level, Landrieu says, often to preface his vision of bipartisan compromise during any of his national speaking gigs. Tonight, though, he was far less convincing. “We’ve built schools, hospitals, parks,” he outlined towards the end of his gala speech, “to which Prospect has added considerable value.” I bet it did. Various venues, New Orleans, 18 November – 25 February From the January & February 2018 issue of ArtReview

Read the article on the ArtReview website.

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We think we know time, but we mostly get it backwards. Literally. We view time through the rearview mirror of its passing, a process Western civilization has measured down to the nanosecond. Mexican artist Pedro Lasch's Prospect.4 exhibition at M.S. Rau Antiques, Reflections on Time, takes a deeper look into the culture of time in an installation of ornate antique clocks in a gallery chamber lined with dark mirrors. The clocks are installed facing the mirrors, so we view them from the rear in much the same way we view time. Their intricately crafted fronts appear amid reflections from around the room, so it takes a moment to notice the ghostly images from art history subtly imprinted in mirrors as dark as the recesses of deep space. The result is a conceptual allegory of how physicists now view time and space as an interwoven continuum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a view that actually originated with Mesoamerican astronomers thousands of years ago, as Lasch reminds us with his Bodies and Stars installation of a pre-Columbian stone statue of a woman viewing the interwoven figures of an Aztec calendar subtly glistening within a mirror like polished obsidian. Although Europeans' understanding of time lagged centuries behind what the ancient Maya and Aztec people knew, European craftsmanship could be impressive, as we see in an 1885 perpetual calendar clock by Thomas Muirhead facing a dark mirror with translucent figures from Jean Francois de Troy's 1733 allegory painting Time Unveiling Truth (pictured). The precision of the clockmaker's art is strikingly evident in a circa 1900 waterwheel automaton clock by Planchon of Paris as it faces a freeze-frame sequence of photographs of music and time theorist David Epstein conducting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Symphony Orchestra. Some of the clocks suggest precocious Victorian surrealism, but taken as a whole, Lasch's installation depicts, as he puts it, "unique representations of time across history ..." in a way that "allows the viewer's image to merge with the mirrors, integrating stories across centuries and worldviews." Through Feb. 24. M.S. Rau Antiques, 630 Royal St., (888) 5572406; and

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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Prospect New Orleans has named Nick Stillman its new executive director. He is currently the president and CEO of the Arts Council of New Orleans, and he will begin at Prospect on April 2. Before working at the Arts Council, where he started in 2013, Stillman was the managing editor of Bomb and a visiting critic of modern and contemporary art at the University of New Orleans. He has also organized exhibitions of Kalup Linzy and Joe Bradley for the PS1 Institute of Contemporary Art, and has written for Artforum, Flash Art, and Modern Painters. Also announced today was news that Susan G. Brennan will step down from her position as the president and chairman of Prospectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s board of trustees. She will, however, remain on the board. The fourth edition of Prospect New Orleans, which was organized by artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker, on view through February 25. During the triennialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s closing weekend, the artistic director of the 2020 edition will be announced. Copyright 2018, Art Media ARTNEWS, llc. 110 Greene Street, 2nd Fl., New York, N.Y. 10012. All rights reserved.

Read the article on the ARTnews website.

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The board of trustees of Prospect New Orleans announced today that Nick Stillman, the current president and CEO of the Arts Council of New Orleans, will be the organization’s new executive director. “This is a unique opportunity to merge my background in contemporary art with my executive and financial experience at the Arts Council,” Stillman said. “I’m excited to begin working with Prospect’s staff, board, and artistic director to situate artist projects in public and private space, build trust and relationships locally, and approach all initiatives with a collaborative spirit.” He will take up the post on April 2. Prior to joining the Arts Council, Stillman was a visiting critic of modern and contemporary art at the University of New Orleans and the managing editor of Bomb magazine in New York. Between 2006 and 2007, Stillman curated eight exhibitions at MoMA PS1 in New York, including the debut museum solo shows of Kalup Linzy, Amy Granat, and Joe Bradley. He has also written extensively for several publications, including Artforum, Flash Art, and Modern Painters. In addition to Stillman’s appointment, Prospect New Orleans also revealed that Susan G. Brennan will step down as president and chair of its board of trustees, after ten years of service. She will be succeeded by Christopher J. Alfieri, who has served on the board since the organization’s founding in 2007. Other changes in leadership include Allison Kendrick’s appointment as board treasurer. Commenting on the organization’s new directorship, Alfieri said, “Nick brings to Prospect a depth of experience in arts administration matched with a strong background in contemporary art curation and critical writing . . . We appreciate his commitment to New Orleans and look forward to working with him to fulfill Prospect’s mission of showing the best work of diverse international artists in unique and culturally exceptional venues throughout the city.” The fourth edition of Prospect’s citywide triennial of contemporary art, led by artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker, the chief curator of Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art, will come to a close on February 25, at which time Prospect New Orleans will announce the artistic director for Prospect.5, scheduled to take place in the fall of 2020.

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By Pelican Bomb The title of artist Mark Dion's installation on Algiers Point, "The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist, 2017," is fitting. Standing in solitude on a long stretch of yellowed crabgrass sandwiched between the levee wall and the west bank of the Mississippi River, Dion's work for "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp"absolutely radiates lonesomeness. When I visited, the parking attendant 100 yards away seemed unaware of the existence of this new work of art at the edge of the river, which isn't hard to believe. One can imagine that the building's sudden appearance in November was uncanny, yet unnoticed, as though a ripple in time had pushed some old shack into the contemporary world with a loud, wet plop--like something out of the novel "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" -- and there it was. The field station is outfitted in patinated wood, with large picture windows (two of which are cracked) and a tin roof. The door is locked and one must peer through the cracks in the glass like a voyeur to glimpse the interior. Inside, someone--presumably

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the "melancholy marine biologist"--has arranged an assortment of objects that certainly read as authentic to an untrained eye. Immediately noticeable are the dead things likely pulled from the local environment, including several species of fish suspended in liquid shades of amber in glass jars on a stainless steel examination table. On the walls are tools, charts, and maps. Cabinetry bears beakers and vials, flasks and jars. Bookshelves support a collection of tomes, bottles of glue, stacks of papers bound in string, bags and doohickeys, and other various and sundry bits and pieces. The display is comprehensive, compelling, and quite convincing, and the artifice of the scene is nearly camouflaged through painstaking attention to detail. There are even horseshoe crabs and pieces of termite-carved driftwood cypress on display as though the biologist had arranged them for contemplation while at absentminded rest. The building, too, appears to be at rest: dormant and unused, world-weary and neglected, though for how long one cannot be sure -- it has gathered no dust. In an Art21 episode, Dion describes himself as an "artist of things": selected, classified, arranged or fabricated (potentially all of the above) by humans. His past projects -- curated cabinets of curiosities, maquettes of childrens' rooms and artists' studios, a fallen tree rehousedin a robotic greenhouse -delight in their aesthetic achievements. Yet reduced from function to form, these spaces yearn for use, for touch, for return to the realm of the living, perhaps none more so than this melancholy field station. But what does this place communicate to curious passers-by who are not already counted among the triennial art world's initiated? The field station maintains its proximate distance, its artsy aloofness, offering the viewer nothing more than a gnawing sense of wonder, unfulfilled curiosity and, ultimately, exclusion, heightened by the locked door and a complete lack of signage beyond a pink Prospect.4 flag standing nearby that doesn't even offer a title, Dion's poetic clue to interpreting the work. In the Art21 interview, Dion admits his belief that humanity is now facing its greatest test: "If we pass, we get to keep the planet." Perhaps in this moment, standing between lab and river, viewers can learn something of the phantom marine biologist's melancholy, or find solace for our own. *** In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. On view through Feb. 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from New Orleans and around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites, across the city. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website.

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By Pelican Bomb As part of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," nine large-scale black-and-white prints by John T. Scott are displayed at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., New Orleans. The expressive hand-pressed woodcuts, part of the artist's 2003 series "Blues Poem for the Urban Landscape," depict New Orleans street scenes and junkyards piled high with refuse with a Cubist-like use of slanted planes and perspectives. Scott was born in 1940 in New Orleans and grew up in a working-class family in Gentilly and, later, in the Lower Ninth Ward. Scott attended Xavier University and Michigan State University, where he began to consider questions of racial consciousness and cultural identity in his artistic practice. Shortly after earning his MFA, Scott returned to New Orleans, where he taught at his alma mater for four decades. Scott relocated to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and died in 2007. Scott's "Dangerous, 2003," is filled with car grills, bumpers and other junk, metal scraps now seemingly useless, all rendered with busy, jagged lines. Another sliced street view of repetitive balusters and the top half of a stop sign interrupts the visual monotony, hinting at the hidden horizon line. The texture and layering within the composition seem rhythmic, about to jump out of the frame. This contrast between the ordinary, a house one might pass on many New Orleans streets, and the discarded, a heap of garbage, waste that's often hidden from public view, still feels timely with the ongoing disparity between the picture-perfect New Orleans marketed to tourists and the city's

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crumbling infrastructure, whose problems most affect local residents. (Strangely, Scott created this series two years before Katrina, whose aftermath left many of the city's streets filled with debris.) Ultimately, Scott's work shows how connected he was to New Orleans and how much he loved the city and its people, evident in his ability to capture the details and feelings of its streetscapes, even through the chaos. In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. On view through Feb. 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from New Orleans and around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites, across the city. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website.

Read the entire article on The Times Picayune | website.

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Listen to the segment on the WWNO website.

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For 133 years, he stood there, arms crossed, eyes hollow, moustache dusted with green patina. Then, last May, they hauled him away. The bronze statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, perched on a 60-foot column in downtown New Orleans, was one of many monuments erected in the Antebellum South enshrining the white supremacist, pro-slavery rebellion. Facing death threats, Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared it a ‘public nuisance’ and ordered an armour-clad crew to take it down. The gesture was one of respect for the city’s majority black population, and an acknowledgment of the violent history whose scars are still very raw. Lee’s denuded column is visible from the Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, the main venue for the fourth Prospect triennial. There, a series of photographs by Angolan artist Kiluanji Kia Henda recall the statue’s removal. Redefining the Power (2011-12) depicts the plinths of Portuguese colonial monuments in Luanda, both empty and repopulated by the artist’s friends. In one image, a man with a golden crown belt buckle holds a staff topped with Prince’s Love Symbol #2, where documentation shows the original statue (Pedro Alexandrino, colonial Governor-General of Angola) bore a sabre. In another, a bearded man in a white gown made of Chinese house wrap paper poses, hand on his hip. This queering of colonial history reclaims the power of self-representation and self-determination for the Angolese people.

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Many of the several hundred works by 73 artists in this lively exhibition, which spans 16 venues across New Orleans, examine how power can be renegotiated from the social margins. Curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, the Chief Curator at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham and an expert in contemporary African art, the exhibition includes a large share of artists from the African diaspora, whose work frames New Orleans as a diasporic crossroads, a creole polyglot of the formerly displaced or enslaved. The show’s title, ‘The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp’, is taken from saxophonist Archie Shepp’s characterization of jazz as an expression of black creativity and resilience. (Shepp called jazz a ‘lily’; in catalogue essay, Schoonmaker explains that he chose the lotus for its Buddhist connotation of spiritual redemption, though in practice the reference seems tenuous.) Within view of Henda’s photographs, colourfully-clad men on stilts wander the grounds of an English country manor in Sonia Boyce’s video Crop Over (2007), parading the regal finery of Barbadian carnival on an estate underwritten by Caribbean sugar plantations. During Mardi Gras, everyone’s a king, or so the saying goes – a topsy-turvy reversal of race and class that Boyce frames as utopian. Mardi Gras might be the world’s greatest work of performance art, and its wildest costumes are wearable sculptures. At the Mint, a drab neoclassical building, an entire gallery has been filled with the extravagant suits of ‘Big Chief’ Darryl Montana, which are covered with hypnotic, mandala-like beadwork and neon plumage. Up close, they reveal complex substructures that allow the wearer’s body to expand as much as three times its size. Like his fellow members of the ‘Yellow Pocahontas’ tribe, Montana is black; the unique Mardi Gras Indian tradition he celebrates, with its headdresses and traditional Native American chants meant to honour the indigenous people who sheltered runaway slaves, complicate contemporary conversations about cultural appropriation. In any case, the suits are some of the most impressive works in Prospect 4. Quieter, yet equally mesmerizing is Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimaraes’s video Ash Wednesday/Epilogue (2006), in which a colony of fire ants scuttle over the roots of trees carrying multi-coloured sequins, the sparkling detritus of Brazil’s famous Carnaval.

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The ‘Big Chiefs’ and kings of Mardi Gras put their differences on parade, but the proud performance of identity is not always quite so raucous. Prospect.4’s most elegant moment comes in the stately neoclassical foyer of the New Orleans Museum of Art, where a suite of paintings by the late Barkley L. Hendricks have been hung in its Ionic colonnade. Hendricks’s subjects meet our gaze with cool self-confidence. The paintings’ background colours are matched to the hues of their modish clothing, as if they had turned them by sheer force of will. Upstairs, in Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s painting I Still Face You (2015), a poised woman in a yellow dress leans against a credenza as she looks into the eyes of a man – her husband or fiancée, perhaps – in the company of their parents. In Crosby’s signature style, the mothers’ traditional Nigerian gowns are a patchwork of photocopied and overpainted newspapers, postcards and snapshots of life in Lagos – a striking analogue to the psychic patchwork of diaspora. Collage makes a surprising and delightful return at the old US Mint, where the New Orleans Jazz Museum has filled vitrines with Louis Armstrong LPs decorated with cuttings from newspapers, magazines and print advertisements by Satchmo himself. Most of these clippings concern the legendary trumpeter – a cartoon announcing ‘Armstrong Wows at Cotton Club’ beneath which he scrawled the name of Martin Luther King – while others are more whimsical, such as one labelled ‘BRUSSELLS BELGIUM’, featuring several naked women, a man holding a flying bowler hat by a rope tether, and a flock of predatory birds. Outside, jazz spills from open doorways. On warm evenings, it floods the French Quarter, where bronze statues on street corners commemorate famous jazz musicians. (Louis Armstrong Park is one of P.4’s principal venues.) This exhibition does much to acknowledge that heritage, the ‘lotus’ that bloomed at the turn of the twentieth century in the swamp of Louisiana’s racism. John Akomfrah’s newly commissioned film, Precarity (2017) – on view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art – considers the roots of that efflorescence in four meditative chapters about the life of Charles ‘Buddy’ Bolden, a popular New Orleans cornet player credited with the first jazz-style improvisation. In 1907, ‘King Bolden’ struck his mother with a tea kettle and was committed to a mental asylum for the rest of his life. Akomfrah’s period tableaux – men and women in Victorian garb, posed stiffly in leaky Southern Gothic interiors – seem culled from Bolden’s disturbed subconscious. The sheen of Hollywood melodrama distracts from the usual power of Akomfrah’s images, though a strand from his meditative voiceover has lodged in my mind: ‘Under the sunlight, I am the only object between water and sky.’ Like 11th century philosopher Ibn Sina’s floating man, Akomfrah’s Bolden is trapped in, and by, his own mind – an isolation only amplified by his genius, and his total social marginalization.

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In 2004, in the days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the streets of New Orleans were filled with floating men: the bloated corpses of mostly poor, black residents left behind by rescue services. Prospect was founded in the storm’s wake in response to its social and economic effects. P.4 is more celebratory than political, but a number of works reference the fragile ecological condition of New Orleans, and what seems its certain watery fate. In a scrappy greenbelt along the bank of the Mississippi River, two stacks of antique tables by Jennifer Odem (Rising Tables, 2017) refer bluntly to the rising water table, and the stacked furniture that served as makeshift rafts and saved many from drowning. ‘Batture’ (2017), a striking series of photographs by Jeff Whetstone on view at UNO St. Claude Gallery, documents the makeshift economies that thrive at the water’s edge, in the eponymous, unowned tidal lands. Precarity is endemic to the batture’s marshy soil, but freed from public and private property law, it is also an open frontier, a space for collective exploration. All of New Orleans may be a batture within our lifetimes, vanishing with the tide. On this, Prospect.4 makes no conclusions and proposes no solutions. But, in the shadow of Lee’s empty column, these artists show what resilience looks like in an increasingly volatile age. It will take all their creativity to keep us afloat. PROSPECT.4, New Orleans, ‘The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp’, runs until 25 February. Main image: installation view of Barkley L. Hendricks at the New Orleans Museum of Art, USA. Courtesy: Prospect.4 Triennial, New Orleans

Read the article on the Frieze website.

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Watch the segment on the WYES YouTube Channel.

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Listen to the segment on the WWNO website.

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By Ana Gershanik, Nuestro Pueblo columnist Nuria Rodriguez Sadurni, the Director of Special Projects at the Cultural Cooperation Office of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke at the opening reception of the exhibit of the works of seven contemporary Mexican artists at the Newcomb Art Museum(NAM), about Mexican art and the role of the government of that country in promoting it overseas Rodriguez-Sadurni coordinates exhibits that are shown in 80 Mexican Embassies and 68 Consulates around the world. This particular exhibit at NAM entitled Clay in Transit/ Tierras Ambulantes opened first in Washington, D.C. in May of 2017. "We are interested in contemporary art as a medium for debate and reflection", she said. "Art is a very powerful tool to show problems", she added and emphasized that it is a privilege to showcase the works of so many contemporary artists who are also interested in having an impact in other areas, such as urban renewal. Rodriguez-Sadurni also addressed the importance of finding galleries with ample space for the exhibits and independent entrances such as the Newcomb Art Museum which she described as "a great space" and the collaboration of the embassies or consulates. â&#x20AC;Ś Expose yourself to Latin American art The work of several Latin American artists is being featured at Prospect.4, a citywide exhibition that includes the work of 73 artists from around the world shown in museums, galleries and installations in public spaces and parks around the city until Feb. 25. One of the artists is Maria Berrio, born in Bogota, Colombia and now living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work, entitled Aluna,at the CAC, is a colorful collage combining the Colombian jungle with mythologies involving women and animals. Other Latin American artists exhibiting at the CAC are Margarita Cabrera, born in Monterrey, Mexico; Minerva Cuevas and Pedro Lasch, born in Mexico City; and Cuban-born Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons.

Read the entire article on The Times Picayune | website.

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New Orleans’s vibrant art scene has become even more dynamic post-Katrina thanks to events like Prospect, the international arts triennial launched in 2006. This year’s show, The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp (through February 25), explores the Big Easy’s unique hybrid culture in the context of the 2018 tricentennial. The show’s 75 works appear across 17 sites, although there’s a concentration at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Contemporary Arts Center in the Warehouse District, both an easy walk or streetcar ride from the Quarter.

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A DECADE AGO TODAY, “Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool” opened at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (Feb. 7-July 13, 2008). The traveling survey brought renewed attention to Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017), the artist and photographer whose powerful portraits dating from the 1960s and 70s masterfully capture the individuality, attitude and style of his subjects, nearly all of them African American. The exhibition featured 57 paintings from 1964 to 2007 and a catalog was published to document it. In the intervening years, Hendricks’s post-modern, realist images have become a barometer against which portraiture by a new generation of artists is compared and contrasted. Fascination with his work remains unabated and asking prices for the now rare, out-of-print catalog start at $350. In the wake of his death last April, a second printing of the fully illustrated volume was published by Duke University Press in January. …

ON VIEW: There are currently a number of opportunities to see paintings by Barkley L. Hendricks. An exhibition of his rarely seen drawings from 1974 to 1989 opens Feb. 25 at Jack Shainman Gallery, which represents the artist’s estate. Hendricks is featured in Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. Trevor Schoonmaker is serving as artistic director of the triennial, where a solo exhibition of Hendricks’s work is on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art through Feb. 25. His paintings also appear in “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” which recently made its U.S. debut at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Feb. 3-April 23, 2018). His photographic self portrait from 1980 is featured in the exhibition “Portraits of Who We Are,” which explores how artists portray themselves, at the David Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, through May 18. In addition, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design is presenting “Legacy of the Cool: A Tribute to Barkley L. Hendricks,” a celebration of the artist’s legacy through figurative works by a new generation of 24 artists working in a variety of mediums.

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NEW ORLEANS — Prospect 4, the New Orleans triennial show that is spread between many museums and outdoor sites, is a hard show to love. Founded after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, it always was an ambitious and tough project to pull off. The logistics of curating and managing an installation of this size are daunting. And though I admire and respect the founders’ desires to draw tourists to the city to do something other than party, Prospect 4 was an overall disappointment on several levels. On the whole, much of the museum-based work was big on “concept” and shallow on real intellectual or artistic depth. What’s more, when I visited mid-January, several pieces in the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center were broken. And the signage for installations in public spaces are practically nonexistent, making them hard to find. However, one venue stands out for its interesting and creative curatorial vision. The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old US Mint is hosting the work of 12 artists. Almost all of the work here has to do with music and culture — not all, but enough to make it feel like the only coherent part of Prospect 4. Rather than the seemingly random relationships I saw in other venues, the artworks in the Mint make sense together and one is able to clearly see the continuum between the city’s musical history and now. A centerpiece is a show within the show entitled Rooted in Resistance Remembrance Ritual & Resilience: Black Masking Indian Suiting. Despite its weighty alliterative title, this is a fine exhibition. It focuses on the work of Darryl Montana, a master Mardi Gras costume maker. Montana’s family began the Black Indian costume tradition of Mardi Gras in the late 1800s to pay homage to the Native Americans who gave sanctuary to runaway slaves in antebellum Louisiana. Currently, Montana is the chief of the Yellow Pocahontas tribe of Black Indians in New Orleans. The costumes shown are brilliant amalgamations of mixed materials, with an emphasis on feathers and intricate beading. Montana worked with the Prospect 4 curators and chose the artists he wished to be shown alongside. For example, Ron Bechet, a New Orleans painter, has mounted giant, black-and-gray charcoal drawings on vellum next to Montana’s costumes. The wildly energetic, sinuous gestures of the drawings eerily mimic the rhythmic shapes of swirling feathers in the costumes. We also get to see documentation of the blindingly colorful costumes in motion, as families prepare for Mardi Gras, and gorgeous black-and-white photographs of Montana, other marchers, and Black Indian families.

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Few rooms sing as strongly as this one, but there are many excellent works in the building, including paintings by Peter Williams. Williams paints subjects that are simultaneously funny and extremely upsetting. At first, one is taken in by the luscious patterning and delicious color palette of the paintings, as well as their sense of humor. However, with titles like “Michael Brown, Ferguson, Shedding My Whiteness” and “Nigga Lover” (all 2016), your smile freezes on your face. Part of what makes these paintings so strong is their giddy beauty. The brutality of the message becomes all the stronger as a result of the tension between surface and subject. I was transfixed by the video made by Rivane Neuenschwander, with Cao Guimarães. Entitled “Quarta-feira de cinzas/Epilogue” ( 2006) it’s an intense series of shots of red and black ants attempting (sometimes with great success) to carry sequins into their underground nests. It may sound ridiculous, but this video is a great beauty. The multicolored sequins, much larger than the ants, catch the light and sparkle as they carry them over and under the landscape. It seemed a poignant and wonderfully odd commentary on what is left behind after Mardi Gras.

Another delightful inclusion in this exhibition are the collaged tape cases made by Louis Armstrong in his home recording studio. Armstrong evidently made hundreds of reel-to-reel tapes containing snippets of his music, that of other musicians, and conversations with friends. Starting in the mid-1950s he began decorating the five-by-seven tape boxes with collage elements that he cut from newspapers and magazines. Using cellophane tape, he laid images and notes about the boxes’ contents. Over the decades, the tape has yellowed and has now become an active design element in the work. The cases offer a view into Armstron’s brain, which, if evidenced by these collages, was amusing, political, raunchy, and delighted by life. Among all the sprawling projects of Prospect 4, I recommend visiting the shows housed in this funky old building run by the National Park Service. It’s a lovely complement to the magnificent revelry of the Mardi Gras season. Prospect 4 continues at various locations in New Orleans through February 25.

Read the article on Hyperallergic website.

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By Pelican Bomb A meditation on the ecological and cultural implications of the I-10 corridor, "Highway Gothic, 2017," a new artwork by the Dutch/American collaborative team of Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, is currently on view at the Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp Street, New Orleans, as part of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp." While the installation focuses on a few exemplary Louisiana images -- such as crawfish, I-10's overpasses, a Cajun fisherman -- it's the juxtaposition of these subjects that subtly dredges their waterlogged political content. "Highway Gothic" is dominated by cyanotype banners printed on 70 mm film strips, featuring ghostly representations of the aforementioned crustaceans with phrases culled from the headlines of recent news articles. They allude to profit-driven interventions into Louisiana's landscape, such as, "Move over trees," "Is there a Devil in your ditch," and "Texas company eyes pipeline." The use of film strips as printing surfaces calls attention to the 16 mm films featured nearby in the darkened room. In one, the camera follows a fisherman as he navigates an airboat through the waterways along I-10 outside Lafayette. A solitary figure -and the only human represented in the film -- meanders through the swamps in what feels like a vaguely heroic, and maybe interminable, quest. Another film is comprised of shots of the Claiborne Avenue underpass in Treme. With its columns painted with ornate trees and past scenes of black life in New Orleans, the bridge is a practical way of pointing out the natural and cultural destruction brought about by the I-10 corridor. In the 1960s, the oak-lined Claiborne Avenue neutral ground and nearby houses were razed in the face of community protests to make room for the interstate, which runs from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, spurring decades of blight and economic disinvestment. The highway, as Cleijne and Gallagher depict it, both connects and devastates. But their portrayal makes no proclamations. Instead it asks us to contemplate, like their heroic Cajun fisherman, the implications of connectivity, and the future of culture along the corridor. In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. On view through Feb. 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from New Orleans and around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites, across the city. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website.

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For the Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans’s most important celebration is less about boozing and bead-throwing than making incredible costumes. Comprised of different “tribes” of black New Orleans residents (many of Creole descent), the group leads one of the city’s most spectacular Carnival events, with each member wearing stunning homemade suits that appropriate the aesthetics of Native American dress. The participants spend months sewing outfits to debut during an annual march held on the “Super Sunday” before Fat Tuesday— the last day of Mardi Gras before Lent begins. (This year, it falls on March 18.) Though New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras for weeks and hosts innumerable fetes, the Mardi Gras Indians’ parades—replete with drums and chants—are still a major spectacle. The participants are unlikely craftsmen. Comprised of teachers, carpenters, and blue collar workers, the Mardi Gras Indians sew elaborate suits to rival the feats of professional costume designers. While men dominate the tribes, women can become Mardi Gras Indian “queens” who make their own costumes and “mask” on Super Sunday. The clothing features bright feathers, beads, and embroidery. Blues, pinks, and yellows abound: the brighter the better. Material plumes from the wearers, the impressive volume making the constructions sculptural. Headdresses soar into the air, while staffs and shields serve as complementary props. Some costumes rely on more abstract designs, while others are more graphic. Animals, people, and full desert scenes appear in intricate detail. The language woven into the suits (“Big Chief,” “Mohawk”) and the names the participants adopt all confirm the Native American inspiration. Indeed, the entire project hinges on a kind of reverent cultural appropriation. Legend relays that Native Americans once harbored escaped slaves, and the cultures began mingling and intermarrying. “It’s all one,” said Darryl Montana, who has been taking part in the tradition for decades, and whose handiwork is on view as part of the Prospect.4 triennial in New Orleans. “There was always a relationship between the natives and the blacks.” The two groups shared certain practices in common, such as giving gifts and living off the land. A competing theory, though, suggests that it was the sensationalized depictions of Native Americans in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show that inspired the tradition. (The first tribe name, according to Montana, was “Creole Wild West.”) Whatever their origin—most sources date the first Mardi Gras Indian procession to the late 1800s—the costumes have evolved into fantastic displays far removed from any concrete historical reality. If it sounds fun to construct one of these suits, Montana suggested otherwise. It’s a rigorous duty, he said, a sacrifice and a lifetime commitment. He began sewing when he was six years old, making his first suit when he was nine. Montana spoke proudly about his family’s legacy. His late father, “Tootie” Montana, was the revered Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas “Hunters” tribe. Darryl, a fourth generation participant, subsequently assumed the role. “Between my father and myself, we’ve

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dressed a hundred years,” he told Artsy. Each year, he spends up to $5,000 on his costume. “Around September, my life only consists of going to work and going home to sew.” One of his suits can require 300 yards of marabou (down feather trimming) and three pounds of feathers. It’s exhausting to assemble it all. Each feather requires individual wrapping and decoration with a smaller feather called a “tip.” When he puts on the suit, Montana feels like a different person, a spiritual energy overwhelming him. Yet he wouldn’t wish the time-consuming process on his worst enemy. “This stuff is an ass-kicker,” he said. His back hurts. But when the day comes to finally reveal the construction, the resulting glory makes the toil worthwhile. These days, the Mardi Gras Indian parade is a celebrated point of pride for the city, but years ago, violence pervaded the marches. Knife fights and score-settling between rival factions was common. Now, said Montana, the tribes “fight with needle and thread”; the costumes themselves “separate the men from the boys.” The very concept of masculinity for the Mardi Gras Indians is deeply tied to sartorial prowess. Here, there’s nothing manlier than tailoring bright, elaborate garments. Grown men boast their own prettiness.

For decades the individual tribes have met at A.L. Davis Park every Super Sunday. Individual constituents have different ranks (“chief,” “spy boy,” “trail chief”) and can only convene with those in different tribes who hold the same positions. The different positions face off in a kind of dance. Finally, the chiefs come to the center to meet-and-greet. It was at this point that, in more chaotic times, the fighting used to start. Still, said Montana, contemporary Mardi Gras Indians are “playing a wargame,” albeit of a different sort. Now, what’s hurt is the pride of the losing dressers. Montana said that during the rest of the year, a tribe shows solidarity by hosting picnics or planning fundraisers to collect donations toward suit materials. At times, Montana and his friends will aid in each other’s constructions. But for any Mardi Gras Indian to really gain respect or expect inclusion, you must “get your homework done, and your homework is making a suit,” he said. You could be meeting with your tribe every day, but what’s most important is that you have something to show on Super Sunday. The activity is still a “competitive sport.” Montana and his fellow Mardi Gras Indians instruct new generations on how to carry on the tradition. He claimed that he’s taught suit-designing to over 3,000 children since 1997. After Hurricane Katrina hit, he relocated to Texas where he continued teaching. The disaster, according to Montana, made the Mardi Gras Indians more committed to their tradition. They more deeply appreciated what they’d had in the city. “There’s no place like home,” said Montana. Right now, he’s working on a suit for a museum exhibition that will celebrate New Orleans’s 300th anniversary.But this Super Sunday, as Montana approaches his 63rd birthday, he’ll be sitting on the sidelines. “2017 was my last year to physically dress for Carnival,” he said. “I’m retired.”

Read the article on the Artsy website.

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"Identity" has been a hot topic in much of America since at least the 1960s. Los Angeles-based artist Genevieve Gaignard's exploration of her biracial identity was inspired by her Creole father and white mother. Her two-room installation in the Ace Hotel lobby, a Prospect.4 installation, is inviting and accessible: Visitors can walk in and make themselves at home. One room (pictured), reflects her father's deep family roots in New Orleans via a tidy vintage living room adorned with family photos, bowling trophies and a classic 1960s dual portrait of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; all flanking three large, modern photo portraits of Creole women wearing tignons, the once mandatory colonial-era head coverings that black women subversively transformed into chic fashion statements. Here the three women appear as icons of cultural memory, timeless observers whose wary gazes remind us that history is never entirely past, but lives on in an endless variety of ways. The other space features church pews and mirrors interspersed with Gaignard's self-portraits as different characters reflecting a range of racial, regional and cultural variations in an installation that's like an old-time chapel transformed into a space for meditating on the fluid, situational nature of identity. Gaignard renders the work with a colorful mix of irony, humor and pathos. Queer Tropics, curated by Charlie Tatum, illustrates how the Western world's romanticization of the tropics parallels how LGBT people long have been portrayed as "exotic" in the fever dreams of Western imaginations. Here the mythology of the tropics as a realm of abandon, lassitude and "Southern decadence" infuses an array of works by eight artists, including some intriguing videos by Carlos Motta examining the legacy of early Spanish missionaries' encounters with indigenous peoples. There also are some strategically surreal graphical works by Joiri Minaya, Adrienne Elise Tarver and Victoria Martinez, whose colorful floor-to-ceiling tapestry inspired by her Mexican neighborhood in Chicago conveys something of America's own newfound exoticism. Grassroots. Runs through Feb. 25. Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet St., (504) 9001180; Queer Tropics. Runs through Feb. 25 at Pelican Bomb Gallery X, 1612 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., (504) 252-0136;

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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The New Orleans Center for the Gulf South welcomed Prospect 4 artist Cauleen Smith and Courtney Bryan, a composer and Tulane professor, on Jan. 25 for an event entitled, “Dark Matter.” The presentation focused on a few of the artist’s selected works and facilitated a conversation about creativity and collaboration. Smith is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker whose work reflects on the possibilities of the imagination. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema and science fiction, she makes pieces that employ the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants. Bryan, a New Orleans native, is a pianist and composer of panoramic interests, as well as an assistant professor of Music in the Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane. Smith and Bryan first met at the Sai Anantam Ashram, a spiritual retreat in the Santa Monica Mountains created by the late Alice Coltrane as a place of spiritual refuge and peace. The two immediately hit it off and have remained friends ever since. At “Dark Matter,” they sat down like old friends, both elated to catch up on the other’s latest projects and to share life and work experiences. Their love for Coltrane was a main topic of discussion, as she serves as a guiding light for both of their art forms. “The opportunity to talk through our practices as composer and visual artist enabled me to really consider and recognize the possibilities for overlap and collaboration. Courtney has such [an] adventurous and sensitive way of thinking about her craft. And I just love her sound,” Smith said. The event was tailored to bringing the the audience academic content in an accessible way. “It was awe-inspiring as well as accessible,” Denise Frazier, assistant director of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, said. The crowd watched as Smith and Bryan interacted with each other in an open and approachable way, making the audience feel as if it was sitting in their living room, watching these two catch up on life. It was truly black girl magic. To see Cauleen’s work, visit the Prospect.4 exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. For more on whom, and what, the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South will be hosting, add it on Facebook, at NolaGulfSouth.

Read the article on the Tulane Hullabaloo website.

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By Pelican Bomb For nearly 20 years, Monique Verdin has documented what it means to live in coastal Louisiana. Working in photography, film, performance, and folk traditions, the New Orleans native and member of the United Houma Nation has regularly brought the stories of her people and place to light. Keenly aware of the complexities of living along an eroding coastline, Verdin has never been shy about the challenges we face. Instead, her work addresses these challenges directly: this coming April, Verdin is collaborating on the first annual Fossil Free Fest with a dozen academic institutions, arts organizations, and nonprofits in the weeks before Jazz Fest. As part of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC), 400 Chartres St., New Orleans, is hosting a retrospective selection of Verdin's works. The exhibition is in two parts: a collection of two dozen black-and-white photographs, paired with large-scale, hand-woven palmetto tapestries containing photographic transparencies of yet more images. Chronicling both the day-to-day lives of communities along the southeastern coastal parishes (Terrebonne, Lafourche, Plaquemines and St. Bernard), as well as their encounters with disaster, trauma and change, Verdin captures the reality of what it means to live permanently on the edge -- not just of this country, but of a swiftly-vanishing way of life. Recently, I met with Verdin to discuss her artistic and political vision. *** Benjamin Morris: The works in the exhibition run from 2000 to 2009. What is the origin of your work? Monique Verdin: I returned home to Louisiana in the late 1990s, which was when I started photography, mainly in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes. During this time in my life, I was learning: learning about my camera, but also about my family, about our land, about our politics. I didn't start sharing work until after Katrina in 2005, and never had the ambition to be in a gallery-to be an artist in that way.

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My work came out of telling stories--I'm more concerned about the story than the medium or the form. Lately, instead of being conflicted about that, I'm trying to be more open to it. All of the projects I've been involved in, from the documentary [director Sharon Linezo Hong's "My Louisiana Love" (2012)] to "Cry You One" [Mondo Bizarro/ArtSpot Productions (2013)] where I play myself -- well, the story is real. That's the most important thing: that people walk away not with appreciation for the craft but with deeper understanding of this place specifically. BM: Looking back over your first decade of work, what have been your hopes for these images? MV: That my family wouldn't have to live next to a waste pit. That my cousin could continue his way of life and not get cancer. That was my hope -- never that I would have an art show. I'd rather raise awareness that southern Louisiana has socioeconomic and racial injustices that we've tolerated for decades, injustices that are rooted in this deep colonial extraction economy. The BP oil spill in 2010, that was just a new scar. These first 10 years were just making the record. I realized nobody was documenting it even though it was changing so fast. I think of myself as a reporter, because future generations shouldn't just have to put their houses 18 feet in the sky and drive around on boats and not understand how and why we got there. BM: In your portraits, there's a clear intimacy with your subjects, some of whom are in fact your family members. MV: You mean all of them. (laughs) No, it's true. Most of the work was shot in Pointe-aux-Chenes, and these folks are my cousins, my uncles, my grandmother. The process of putting the show together was far more emotional than I thought it would be. I would wake up every morning at 4 am and sit with my people, so many of whom had passed. In fact, the first image I unpacked when hanging the show was a headshot of a man in sunglasses, who is my father. Honestly, I cried--my father never would have felt invited into [THNOC]. And I got to say, 'OK, Pop, you're up on this wall.' As for others, Aniese, one of my cousins, is like a professor, teaching me and taking me down to the ancestral grounds. He's a four-time cancer survivor and has no voice anymore, which I've reflected on a great deal--the fact that I'm telling the stories. In truth, I'm carrying the stories of the storytellers. For me, some of these people represent what I've seen disappear from this community. They have a real place here, where in other places they might be cast aside. BM: The landscape is a strong presence here too, not passive at all but an active element shaping the people who dwell within it. How do you work with the formal elements of landscape when you make an image, such as the skewed, unruly angles in "Abandoned Camp on Vanishing Land, Pointe aux Chenes," 2000? MV: I feel like my work is very reactionary. I'm fascinated by the textures of the land, but that always comes after the fact. In the moment of taking the image, I'm normally drawn to the action or the stillness -- one or the other. It's a reflex. As for "Abandoned Camp," when you spend time in the marsh, people think of it as really flat, but it actually feels very endless and curving. Especially moving in a boat--where a lot of those image were taken -- there are no straight lines in nature. BM: In many of your compositions you have moments of great visual serendipity, like in "Industrial Balance," 2004, where the foreground is flooded and a young boy looks as if he's walking on water. Are these accidental, or do you search for them? MV: In that image, I was just wandering with the kids. After Tropical Storm Matthew in Grand Bois in 2004, the kids were playing in this floodwater and I was wandering around with them. I didn't tell him to stand there -- I was just watching. At that time in my work, I was intentionally spending a lot of time in that community, wanting to make images, but I didn't know what kind of images I wanted to make. Now, just being there was serendipitous -- I had already planned to stay there and visit for a week, before the storm came in. But over the long-term, these images have been anchors for me and something to be able to share with others, to tell the story of this place. BM: In your image "Reflection, Grand Bois, LA," 2004, you portray a house which is half on land and half in water, an image that speaks to what you've tried to capture of the uneasy geography of southern Louisiana. What are your thoughts about our longterm future on the coast? MV: I have a lot of fears about the toxic environment we live in. I do think that that nature is amazing, and has the power to regenerate if given good conditions. We have disrespected the forces of nature here for a long time, and we've taken so much - as communities are abandoned more and more along the coast, if they are able to learn to live with the water, then yes, there is a future here in this place.

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Now, if we allow petrochemical extraction and decisions based upon greed and short-term gain to govern us, then no -- we should just start planning to move out. If we want corporations to have control and run this area as a plantation-based economy, then things will continue to disappear. We have a lot to teach other places -- we are ground zero for figuring out how to live in this kind of environment. In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. On view through Feb. 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from New Orleans and around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites across the city. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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The Big Easy is celebrating a big birthday this year: 300 years since New Orleans was founded. The celebration began New Year's Eve with a massive fireworks show over the Mississippi River. Exhibitions, festivals and events planned throughout 2018 -including last week's Mardi Gras -- will reflect the tricentennial theme. The city's three centuries of history include "colonization by both France and Spain, a British invasion, devastating fires, pirates, yellow fever and hurricanes, among other challenges," said Kristian Sonnier, spokesman for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. Through it all, New Orleans managed to hold on to what Sonnier calls "authentic traditions and a sense of place" -- attributes that have made the city one of the most interesting destinations in the United States. â&#x20AC;Ś Annual festivals incorporating the tricentennial theme include the French Quarter Festival, featuring every genre of music from gospel and jazz to Cajun and zydeco, April 12-15; New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 27-May 6; and Essence Festival, with a lineup this year that includes Mary J. Blige and Erykah Badu, July 6-8. New Orleans Oyster Festival is June 2-3; and Luna Fete, Dec. 1-31, lights up winter nights with large-scale outdoor light installations using the city's architecture as a canvas. An event that's already underway, Prospect.4, is a citywide art exhibition, through Feb. 25, with 16 displays around town by dozens of artists including Louis Armstrong, Yoko Ono and Kara Walker. Art projects coinciding with Prospect.4 or the tricentennial include a mural by Banksy on display at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Read the complete article on the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette website.

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New Orleans is often described as mysterious, but much of that may have to do with the mysteries surrounding some of its most influential figures. The sudden rise to fame of Charles "Buddy" Bolden, the cornet player widely credited with "inventing" jazz around 1900, was cut short in 1907, when at age 30, he was institutionalized for schizophrenia until he died in 1931. He left a few old photos and many vivid legends as his legacy. Despite that dearth of detail, John Akomfrah's Precarity three-screen video at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is often cited as one of Prospect.4's most emblematic works for the way it evokes Bolden's brief presence in our midst by immersing us in the sights and sounds of Bolden's New Orleans as he seems to wander amid vivid figures in period garb in scenes interwoven with vintage images of his old riverside haunts and modern views of the city. Accompanied by a ghostly voiceover based on Bolden's fragmented ruminations, Precarity functions as an extraordinary example of intuitive time travel by Akomfrah, the Ghana-born, London-based winner of Britain's 2017 Artes Mundi prize. Many New Orleans natives grew up amid the legacy of the Anglo-American South's attempts to redefine our Creole heritage via laws and monuments, but Creole sensibilities always were more welcoming. In Prospect.4, Nigeria native Odili Donald Odita articulates that inclusive sensibility in the form of flags in which interwoven bands of color reflect the intermingling of gravitas and buoyancy that characterize Creole values here and elsewhere. His Indivisible and Invincible project includes 15 historically fraught sites, such as the spot where Homer Plessy was arrested, the school first integrated by Ruby Bridges and the ferry to Algiers, where African slaves were held before being sold. Odita's expansive philosophy of social aesthetics offers a vision of a world in which flags celebrate the contributions of all ethnicities rather than marking off national boundaries in an endlessly futile game of defense and conquest. Through Feb. 25. Precarity at Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., (504) 5399650; Indivisible and Invincible at various locations.

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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Listen to the segment on the WWNO website.

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Plongée dans la scène artistique de La Nouvelle-Orléans à l’occasion de “Prospect”, la triennale d’art contemporain, occasion d’aller se frotter aux territoires moins balisés de la ville. C’est un message écrit en lettres majuscules et noires, sur deux murs blancs, qui bordent le Mississippi. "Si vous ne savez pas ce qu’est le Sud ", commence le premier. "C’est parce que vous venez du Nord " s’achève la phrase sur celui de gauche. Conçue par l’artiste suédois Runo Lagomarsino à l’occasion de Prospect 4, l’œuvre résume bien l’état d’esprit des habitants de La NouvelleOrléans à l'égard de la manifestation : méfiance et suspicion. Voici la limite intrinsèque de ce genre d’événements quand on l’applique à une ville moyenne comme celle-ci. Qu’apportent-ils au bout du compte à la scène artistique locale ? "S’exprimer sur le contexte local"

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A sa création en 2006, Prospect était venue fort à propos bousculer la hiérarchie des grandes biennales d’art contemporain, Venise, Whitney New York, etc. Un projet novateur, salvateur dans une ville sous le choc, encore traumatisée par l’ouragan Katrina. Prospect a même boosté une économie en berne et développé un type de tourisme jusqu’ici inconnu en Louisiane : celui des amateurs d’art contemporain – philanthropes, mécènes et collectionneurs fortunés. Il faut aussi saluer ce principe auquel s’est toujours tenue la triennale : ne jamais exposer plus d’une fois le même artiste. C’est pourtant là où le bât blesse. Après avoir, au cours des trois premières éditions, épuisé la réserve d’artistes locaux talentueux, que reste-t-il à montrer, à proposer ? Des artistes étrangers, invités comme Lagomarsino à "s’exprimer sur le contexte local". Sauf qu’ils ne peuvent en savoir grand-chose, de cette histoire et cette culture locale. Une histoire bien plus riche et complexe, en l’occurrence, que ces œuvres mettant en scène “méchants colons” et “gentils opprimés”, comme on en trouve trop parmi les propositions de cette biennale. L'identité, cette question qui obsède toujours autant l’Amérique Ainsi de l’installation Fiend (démon en anglais) de l’artiste Rachid Johnson, originaire de Chicago. Un gigantesque cube dans lequel sont insérés des disques, cactus, ainsi que des copies du livre The End of Blackness. L’essai avait fait controverse lors de sa publication, en 2008. Debra Dickerson, son auteure, y sermonnait alors ses frères afro-américains : "Arrêtez d’être obsédés par le racisme, intéressez-vous aux problèmes qui peuvent être réglés !" Un livre caractéristique de l’Amérique des débuts d’Obama, "post-raciale" affirmaient certains après l’élection du premier président noir des Etats-Unis. Comment ne pas trouver le message obsolète et ineffectif, face au regain des haines raciales dans tout le pays ? Le cartel explique d’ailleurs un peu benoitement que l’artiste "considère la question de l’identité à travers les matériaux culturels". L’œuvre ne dépasse pas cette question qui obsède toujours autant l’Amérique, celle de l’identité. Comme si l’art ne servait qu’à exprimer sa singularité, sa "communauté"comme on dit outre-Atlantique. Esprit cajun Or c’est "un tout autre esprit, espiègle, effronté, qui caractérisé La NouvelleOrléans", explique Randolph Delehanty. Cet historien de l’art évoque l’événement fondateur de la ville : Mardi Gras, ce carnaval au cours duquel, au XIXe siècle, les esclaves se déguisaient en rois et se moquaient de leurs maîtres. Un travestissement des identités, un renversement des rôles que l’on retrouve dans les photographies du duo E2 (Elizabeth Kleinveld, & Epaul Julien) à la galerie Jonathan Ferarra. Désormais installés à Amsterdam, ces deux figures de la scène locale reprennent les motifs de la peinture flamande pour les appliquer aux héros de l’histoire louisianaise. Cet "esprit cajun", festif et joyeux, caractérise aussi l’exposition de photos splendides, signées Ben Arnon, de Mardi Gras Indians, au musée Old Mint. Darryl Montana et sa famille font partie de ces Noirs qui se revendiquent, depuis un siècle, de l’héritage native americans et portent les costumes de chefs indiens – avec la bénédiction de ces derniers. On est aussi séduit par les collages de Louis Armstrong. Une quarantaine d’œuvres sur papier qui expriment le recul, amusé et ironique, d’un homme arrivé au sommet de sa gloire vis à vis du personnage qu’on lui demanda d’incarner toute sa vie. Cette image sur la pochette de Satchmo aux allures de "Ya Bon Banania", Armstrong s’en vengea à la fin de sa vie en la caricaturant et la détournant. S’éloigner des sentiers battus Il faut enfin s’éloigner des sentiers trop proprets de Prospect, s’aventurer dans les quartiers borderline pour découvrir la nouvelle génération d’artistes cajuns. Katrina eut en effet une conséquence positive sur la Nouvelle-Orléans : le drame a permis de rebattre les cartes. Tout le monde s’y est mis pour rebâtir la ville, créant de nouveaux liens entre lieux et communautés

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autrefois complètement étrangers les uns aux autres. Ancien quartier des dealers de crack, St. Claude peut ainsi se targuer de posséder aujourd'hui quatorze lieux d’art contemporain. On y découvre les sculptures vaudou ensorcelantes de Kristin Meyers, qu’on eut la chance d’accompagner le soir de son vernissage dans une procession aux allures de messe noire. Le photographe Jeff Whetstone, qui revendique le terme français de batture, cette portion du rivage découverte à marée basse, pour définir son exploration des bords du Mississippi. Ses clichés fantasmagoriques de pécheurs de poissons séduisent par leur grain, leur composition. Ils témoignent d’un lieu et d’une communauté comme un monde à part. Il y a enfin les sculptures de Michel Varisco, dans un parc. Composées de mosaïques à leur base et de fer forgé plus haut, elles reproduisent avec délicatesse la circonvolution du fleuve et projettent de nuit, au gré du vent, une lumière naturelle comme un daguerréotype. Le Mississippi, âme et horizon indépassable de la Nouvelle-Orléans. "Le lotus malgré le marécage", comme l’indique le titre de Prospect, filant la métaphore de la plante qui pousse vaillamment dans un environnement hostile. Une triennale qui révèle au bout du compte plusieurs pépites, cachées mais réjouissantes. Prospect.4: The Lotus In Spite of the Swamp, jusqu'au 25 février

Read the article on the Les Inrockuptibles website.

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Read the online version on the IDEAT website.

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By Pelican Bomb One of jazz's most innovative pioneers, Louis Armstrong is undoubtedly remembered as a prolific performer. However, beyond his virtuosic trumpeting, distinctly raspy crooning, and imaginative storytelling, he also had a relentless fervor for image making. As part of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," the New Orleans Jazz Museum, 401 Barracks St., New Orleans, hosts 29 of the more than 500 mixed-media collages created by Armstrong from the 1950s until his death in 1971. The intimate, glueand tape-bound display pulls us into his universe, prompting a careful reconsideration of the musician's monumental legacy. The small square compositions are each highly personalized, featuring photographs of Armstrong alongside his friends and family, newspaper clippings, messages spliced from the musician's letters and even a packet of the herbal laxative Swiss Kriss, a product Armstrong famously promoted and credited with helping him lose 100 pounds. Most notably, though, the collages are fixed to tape-reel boxes, which once housed Armstrong's many personal audio recordings of anything from news broadcasts to his own voice memos and performances. Armstrong's choice to fix the collages to the surfaces of something functional like the reel boxes -- or straight onto the wall of his living room in Queens, New York, as seen in a 1956 photograph also on view -- suggests that he understood them as something different and more dynamic than works of art to be viewed in a quiet museum or gallery. An alternative to more traditional self-portraiture, these collages channel Armstrong's outlook on life as something to be incessantly relished, captured, and refashioned into a wholly new, deeply personal, and undeniably wonderful world. In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. On view through February 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from New Orleans and around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites across the city.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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By Pelican Bomb New Orleans-based musician and artist Quintron's "Organic Matter Death Clock (O.M.D.C.)," 2017, has all the familiar trappings of a science-fair experiment. Plants, some native to Louisiana, others not, in colorful plastic planters are perched on top of vintage milk crates next to a table of "toxins" being used to feed the plants: water from the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River, and the Industrial Canal; Organic California red wine; and Diet Coke. On cloth-covered pedestals, two different species of plants battle for their lives, with an IV drip of that week's toxin feeding into the surrounding soil. An analog synthesizer attached by wires translates the plants' distress into various sounds. Behind them, a whiteboard records findings. With this artwork, on view at the Prospect.4Welcome Center, 750 Carondelet St., New Orleans, we're seemingly back in high school. All that's missing is the nervous teenager describing their experimental design. The artist Quintron is far from an anxious student, however. He has made a career inventing obscure and fascinating instruments. His renowned Weather Warlock synthesizer, also on view as part of "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 900 Camp Street, New Orleans, uses sunlight, wind, precipitation and temperature to create droning sounds based on surrounding weather conditions. When I visited the "Death Clock," a lemon cypress and a pencil cactus were each hooked up to one side of the synthesizer with their own IV bags of salt water. The IV, and the use of beverages like red wine and Diet Coke, presents the plants (and their death) as something relatable and human. The pencil cactus was emitting a regular dull thump through the synth, while the lemon cypress, blanched to the point of near death, was producing a softer sound. Turning a knob to amplify the sound, it became a shrill scream. I asked Quintron over the phone whether this screaming sound was intentional. "No," he said, "A happy accident."

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The sound is created by transferring an electric current through the organic matter of each plant, which serves as a variable resistor, much like the knobs on an electric guitar. The resistance varies as the plant deteriorates, changing the sound emitted by the synthesizer. When the plant dies, the sound is gone. When I visited, Quintron had tested the wine, the swamp water, and the salt water. The last of those is a real killer, which is no surprise to anyone who has gone to the parishes south and east of New Orleans and seen the devastation saltwater intrusion has wrought on Louisiana's cypress swamps and coastal marshes. Saltwater intrusion, hurricanes and rising sea levels have caused the loss of over 2000 square miles of coastal land since the 1930s, according to the federal Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey. Perhaps telling, the "Death Clock" was not installed in the Ogden Museum, alongside Quintron's Weather Warlock and puppets, sculptures, photographs and videos by his partner Miss Pussycat. A label at the Ogden cites the dangers that living plants might pose to other artworks, but I wonder how powerful it would have been to listen to the lemon cypress, screaming through the synthesizer as it dies, amongst the art on view and just down the hall from the museum's Helis Foundation Gallery. The foundation was created by the Helis family, who made their money in oil and gas and whose company, like many, cut exploratory canals, which became the primary cause of marshland erosion in Louisiana. The Helis Foundation heavily supports almost all of New Orleans' major arts institutions--including Prospect New Orleans, the Ogden, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Arts Center. If you've ever taken advantage of these institutions' free-admission days, the Helis Foundation is to thank. I speculated with Quintron about this layer of critique in his Death Clock, and he told me he had no political agenda, that his clock is simply a demonstration of the realities of living in southern Louisiana. And while it began as an experiment in materials and sound, it's become a potent and visceral reminder of the ecological damage that's already been done. In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. On view through February 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from New Orleans and around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites across the city.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Closing Weekend & Post-Reviews

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New Orleans international contemporary art triennial Prospect.4 closes Feb. 25. The final installation and performances are highlighted by New York artist Kara Walker's The Katastwof Karavan, a steam calliope in a wagon on the levee at Algiers Point. A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, Walker is best known for her murals in silhouette and the 2014 installation of A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, a giant sphinx-like figure with the face of a black woman constructed in a former Domino Sugar refining plant in New York. It referenced the history of slave labor in the production of sugar in the Western hemisphere. The Katastwof Karavan also addresses the history of slavery, and is placed at Algiers Point because enslaved peoples were held there before being sold at locations on the East Bank of the Mississippi. "Katastwof" is the Haitian Creole word for catastrophe, and it refers to the institution of slavery and its role in bringing Africans to European colonies. The wagon has figures in silhouette on its sides and a 32-note steam calliope that resembles those on Mississippi River steamboats. The wagon will be used for musical presentations Feb. 23 to Feb. 25. Some of the music is already programmed and includes songs by Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Cliff, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Sam Cooke, traditional jazz, hymns and protest songs. There also are live performances by pianist Jason Moran, who was commissioned to create music for Karavan. He performs at an invocation for the installation 4:30 p.m. Friday and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. There's also music at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m and 1:55 p.m. Sunday, the latter serving as a closing ceremony. During its final weekend, Prospect.4 also has several lectures and panel discussions at other locations. Exhibits at more than 18 museums, galleries and installation sites are open through the weekend. Visit for information.

Read the article on the Gambit website.

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When the Prospect.4 triennial opened in November, it did so without work by one of its marquee artists: Shortly before its opening, organizers announced a much-anticipated installation by Kara Walker would be delayed until Prospect’s closing weekend. That weekend is now here — and it turns out Walker’s work has been very much worth the wait. For three days this weekend, Walker’s “The Katastwóf Karavan” will be on view near the ferry landing in Algiers Point, directly across from the French Quarter. The title comes from the Haitian Creole word for “catastrophe," and relates to the painful history of the location of Walker’s installation: In the 18th century, it was the site where enslaved Africans from West Africa were quarantined after being unloaded from the ships that forcibly brought them to New Orleans before they were transferred to the slave markets on the French Quarter side of the river. The piece consists of an 8,000-pound steel parade wagon laser-cut with Walker’s recognizably unsettling silhouettes, which encloses a 32-note steam-powered calliope The calliope, which Walker had custom-built for the installation, is intended to provide a counterpoint to that on the Steamboat Natchez a short distance upriver. Instead of the tourist-friendly tunes on the Natchez, Walker’s calliope will play songs resonant with the African-American experience, with a selection ranging from traditional spirituals and protest anthems like “We Shall Overcome” to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” In the voice of “sideshow barker-in-chief, aka Miss Kara,” Walker describes the genesis of the project in a statement accompanying the installation which will be available at the site over the weekend.

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“We here in the U S of A have never given a Name to the Event which has defined generations,” writes Walker. “We simply say ‘Slavery’ as if that were a legitimate job instead of what it was, a Catastrophe for millions.” The installation was also created to correct the imbalance of the current historical record at the site, which Walker describes as “A cheap bronze plaque constitut(ing) a paltry memorial to the Catastrophe called slavery and Algiers Point’s nearly forgotten, but pivotal role in its perpetuation.” (According to a 2015 report by WWNO, the Algiers plaque is one of only two historical markers in the entire city that address the slave trade.) The calliope will play three times a day over the weekend, at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. — though Walker says the last performance may “edge closer to sunset” to coincide with “‘the magic hour,' when the view from Algiers Point towards the French Quarter — or from the slave pens to the slave market if you will — is most beautiful.” On Friday and Saturday, the calliope activations will include performances by musician Jason Moran, who Walker calls “a live pianist of Prodigious Talent and Incorrigible Manners” and the project’s “first composer, player, and steam whisperer.” Like several of the more memorable installations in the Prospect orbit these past few months, such as Zarouhie Abdalian’s bells in the French Quarter, Walker’s piece transforms a New Orleans environment through sound and reveals layers of history and experience that have otherwise been marginalized or intentionally erased over the years. And like much of Walker’s work that has examined the horrors of slavery, such as her 2014 installation of a giant sphinx-like figure in the old Domino Sugar Factory in New York City, “The Katastwof Karavan” simultaneously speaks to the histories of a particular place, a nation and a people. And it’s especially resonant as New Orleans celebrates its tricentennial in 2018. “New Orleans is this rare city on the Mainland which has retained and even celebrates its Africanisms,” writes Walker. “Second line Parades, Mardi Gras Indians, Jazz — us outsiders may take that for granted — but it’s the nearest thing to beauty this forced history has brought us.” “And for all that work, defying, resisting and messing with dominant culture — what thanks do its creators get? Evictions, floods, soggy infrastructure and the constant drunken reminder that forgetting is preferable to remembering, as remembering stirs action.” ************** Kara Walker, “The Katastwóf Karavan” WHEN: Friday, Feb. 23 through Sunday, Feb. 25, with steam calliope activations at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day; live performances by Jason Moran on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. WHERE: 101 Mississippi River Trail, Algiers Point (to the left of the ferry landing) INFO:

Read the article on The New Orleans Advocate website.

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By Doug MacCash | The Times-Picayune New Orleans' citywide art show Prospect.4 comes to a conclusion this weekend Feb. 23-25, after a four-month run. The highlight of the last three days will be a pair of performances by renowned artist Kara Walker on Algiers Point. Walker is world-renowned for artworks that illuminate the historical abuse of African-Americans. Walker's ambitious sculpture is a fullsized circus wagon decorated with her signature silhouettes. Inside the wagon is a working calliope inspired by the riverboat Natchez. According to the Prospect.4 website, the calliope will play "African American protest music: gospel, reggae, jazz improvisation, chants, and shouts." The calliope wagon titled Katastwof Karavan (Catastrophe Caravan) is meant to commemorate a grim aspect of the history of Algiers, which was once the stopping point for arriving shiploads of slaves. Walker was among the most famous contemporary artists expected to contribute an artwork to Prospect.4. But when the show opened in November, the organizers reported that Walker's contribution wouldn't arrive until the end of the exhibit. The question that most art lovers have asked from the beginning of Prospect.4 is why Walker's wagon would be so late? A story in the New York Times by reporter Ted Loos, explains that "a blowup between the (Prospect.4) organizers and Ms. Walker, as well as the complicated and expensive nature of the piece" caused it to be unveiled at the very end of the exhibition instead of the beginning. Prospect.4's Interim Director Ylva Rouse said that the disagreement with Walker had to do with the cost to ship the calliope wagon from New York. Rouse said that when the original shipping budget of between $5,000 and $6,000 ballooned to $34,000, the exhibition organizers naturally questioned the increased cost, which angered Walker. Though, in the end, Rouse said, Prospect paid for shipment. Rouse said that the exhibition of Walker's calliope wagon cost Prospect.4 $90,000 overall. The New York Times story reported that Walker spent $250,000 to create the piece, which she will offer for sale after the show. Walker's sculpture will go on display at 11:30 Friday (Feb. 23) at 101 Mississippi River Trail, Algiers Point. Walker's public performances with jazz pianist Jason Moran will take place on Friday (Feb. 23) at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, (Feb. 24) at 2:30 p.m. For more closing weekend details visit the Prospect.4 website.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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PHOTO: CLAY PATRICK McBRIDE | A fascinating new piece of public artwork will premiere this weekend in New Orleans as part of the closing weekend of the art exhibition known as Prospect.4: The Lotus In Spite of the Swamp. One of the world’s most famous living artists, Kara Walker (photo below by Chuck Close), has constructed a thirty-two-note steam calliope, which will be installed and activated daily on the banks of the Mississippi in Algiers. On Friday and Saturday afternoon, Jason Moran one of the most important jazz musicians of his generation, will play the contraption. The Katastwóf Karavan is a calliope similar to the one that is played throughout each day from the deck of the Steamboat Natchez in the French Quarter. Walker’s creation is housed in a funky looking parade wagon of her own design. The calliope plays songs and sounds associated with the long history of African-American protest music including gospel, reggae, jazz improvisation, chants, and shouts. Moran will add his own flourishes on Friday at 4:30 PM and on Saturday at 2:30 PM. While Moran’s appearance will surely be the highlight for jazz fans, the Katastwóf Karavan on the west bank will alternate with the Natchez’s calliope on the east bank all day Friday through Sunday beginning at 11:30 AM on Friday, creating a once-in-a-lifetime, call-and-response experience across the mighty river.

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Though keep in mind that the artist’s intention is juxtapose the more saccharine sounds of the Natchez with the social messages inherent in her selections. Expect to hear songs reflecting many of the stages of the African-American experience in the New World. Friday’s program is dubbed, “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here,” Saturday’s is called, “I Was Born by the River” and Sunday’s is labeled, “The Gospel of Every Sunrise.” Some of the songs on the bill including Jimmy Cliff’’s “Many Rivers to Cross,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Freedom,” War’s “The World Is a Ghetto,” Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” and Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” Numerous traditional songs from the African-American canon will also be played including “Down By the Riverside,” “We Shall Overcome” and “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” Walker, the artist, welcomes all people to experience this unique installation. The schedule is fluid with many peak moments expected including at the “magic hour” as sunset approaches on Friday and Saturday.

The performance and installation are free and open to the public. Images below are of the Katastwóf Karavan.

Read the article on The Vinyl District website.

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Read the online article on The New York Times website.

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These are divisive times, and therefore challenging ones in which to organize a large thematic group exhibition that strives for interconnection, but artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker pulled it off with the fourth edition of the New Orleans art festival Prospect. The exhibited artists embraced the empowerment of claiming visibility and space, while imbuing their work with a sense of urgency for resistance and social change. Without retreating into denial or escapism, the gathering, true to its title, “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp,” was a dose of optimism in dark times. Schoonmaker steered well clear of the pitfalls that plague many biennials and festivals, like regurgitating familiar artist lists dominated by commercially successful, white, male practitioners; representing multiplicity with a disjointed jumble of miscellany; or treating the host city as incidental. His curation was purposeful, thoughtful, and edifying—more than half of the 73 artists in Prospect.4 (or P.4 for short), whose works were installed in 17 locations throughout the city, are little-known in the United States. And for the most part, their work linked with remarkable clarity to the exhibition’s curatorial themes, which connected in different ways to the history, demographics, and hybrid culture of New Orleans: diasporic people, with an emphasis on African-American and Afro-Caribbean cultures; the legacies of colonialism; carnival culture; music, especially jazz; and the impact of climate change. Many works focused on dispersed peoples, including refugees and immigrants, and seemed to be the result of cross-cultural fusion. Dawit L. Petros, born in Eritrea and raised in Canada, explored migration in The Stranger’s Notebook, a conceptually complex installation of photographs, video, and sound grounded in a journey the artist took from Nigeria to Amsterdam. A handful of works represented the perspective of indigenous populations, including Rebecca Belmore’s striking seven-foot-long sculpture of birch bark and wood that doubles as a megaphone; Brad Kahlhamer’s oversize dreamcatchers of intricately twisted metal wire and bells that appear to shimmer and pulsate with energy; and Darryl Montana’s sumptuous Mardi Gras costumes that envelop the body in a colorful cocoon of feathers and beads. Colonialism and its aftermath was a theme throughout P.4. Among the most moving works were Kiluanji Kia Henda’s photographs of fellow Angolan countrymen and -women posing atop vacant pedestals that once held statues glorifying European colonizers. Schoonmaker wanted P.4 to draw parallels between the American South and the global South, and nowhere did it do so more forcefully than in the placement of Henda’s photographs one block away from a traffic circle anchored by an empty base that, until recently, elevated the likeness of Robert E. Lee.

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Several P.4 artists took on the history of New Orleans, which is currently celebrating its tricentennial. Xaviera Simmons mined Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s infamous 2017 speech for a video about why the Confederate monuments needed to go; during the opening weekend, she gave an impassioned gallery talk in which her frustration over racial inequity in America brought her to the verge of tears. Several works directly or obliquely referenced the city’s past as the site of the nation’s largest antebellum slave market. Whether or not they were created with that intention, Katherine Bradford’s paintings of otherworldly ships here took on the weight of the triangle trade. Within a dark gallery, Alfredo Jaar projected a serene still photograph of the Atlantic Ocean, its surface dappled with light. Only when informed that the image was shot on the coast of Angola facing in the direction of Brazil does one realize that One Million Points of Light refers to the millions violently forced into the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Appropriately for New Orleans, music was one of P.4’s most persistent thematic threads. The Jazz Museum at the Old Mint held a sampling of the sometimes naughty, little-known collages that jazz great Louis Armstrong made in the final two decades of his life, as well as Satch Hoyt’s tambourines linked into chains attached to mirrors to form endless columns, or halved and assembled into crosses reminiscent of the city’s famous ironwork; and there were two installations by Dario Robleto, one featuring preserved, mounted butterflies with antennae made of audio tape delicately perched on the edges of the fossilized inner-ear bones of whales, and the other a collaboration with the record label Dust-to-Digital to preserve early gospel music. Elsewhere, the musical theme continued with one of P.4’s commissioned works, John Akomfrah’s multichannel video work Precarity, which dramatizes the life and times of a legendary early twentieth-century musician named Charles “Buddy” Boden. Boden’s unusual music stylings predate the form that became known as jazz, but his innovations were cut short when he was committed to a Louisiana insane asylum in 1907. Despite its fascinating subject and seductive cinematography, Akomfrah’s work ultimately disappointed, relying too heavily on romantic cinematic tropes like slow-motion pans, period clothing, and lingering shots of actors gazing into the distance. The lack of dialogue, music, or narrative is reportedly deliberate, but Precarity frustrated as an extended, dreamy backdrop for a drama that never actualizes. Climate change and pollution continue to be direct threats to New Orleans. Of the many works that touched on the subject, the most immediately relevant were those that reference the Mississippi and the Gulf. Jeff Whetstone’s photographs and videos document Vietnamese immigrants who depend on the river’s natural resources for their livelihood. Local artist Jennifer Odem fashions elegant sculptures through the simple gesture of stacking furniture into Brancusi-like towers on the banks of the river, mimicking coastal homeowners’ habit of placing treasured possessions atop their houses’ highest reaches when flooding occurs. P.4 was so tightly curated, the head scratching inclusions were few and far between. Yoko Ono was represented by a text piece installed in two locations asking, “Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?” It feels curmudgeonly to contest the presence of such a wise elder stateswoman, but how that sentence connected to the themes of P.4 struck this viewer as opaque. Hank Willis Thomas’s contribution was especially perplexing: instead of his usual deft and pointed appropriations of media images, he gave us a one-ton bronze statue of an armored boy riding an enormous snail into battle. Apparently based on a seventeenth-century sculpture by German artist Jeremias Ritter in which the snail’s rider is intended to be North African, the piece has shades of storybook fantasy, but also calls to mind a cheesy collectible. The biggest misstep in P.4 was Taiyo Kimura’s set of seven identical sculptures placed throughout the Contemporary Art Center galleries, ostensibly to be used as stools by security guards. The stool takes the form of a child, face buried in bent arms, crouching as if bracing for a crash or experiencing a trauma. Inviting people to sit on the neck and shoulders of a seemingly imperiled child felt insensitive, and the photos of people gleefully doing so posted to social media made matters worse.

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Organizing a citywide festival of this scale is no easy task, and Prospect operates with a relatively small staff and budget, making imperfections forgivable. A calliope commissioned from Kara Walker that was to have gone on view when P.4 opened was delayed and will go on view this weekend for the show’s closing festivities. (This may have been a blessing in disguise for the other exhibiting artists, who likely would have fallen under the shadow of a large, complex project by one of the country’s most celebrated talents.) Even finding some of the artworks was challenging, due to inadequate signage. I ferried across the Mississippi to Algiers Point to see Mark Dion’s installation but failed to find it. I did locate the beautifully sited and subtle sound pieces by Radcliffe Bailey and Hong-An Truong, and the aforementioned sculptures by Odem in Crescent Park, but only after getting help from people who’d already managed to do so. Too often, international biennials plop down the work of artists from around the world with little regard to the location in which the work is being exhibited. Prospect, by contrast, has a strong record of including local artists (though arguably not quite enough of them). Married New Orleans artists Quintron and Miss Pussycat injected welcome quirkiness into P.4, with their jury-rigged inventions and handmade puppets begging to be activated. Among the best works installed in public places was Israeli artist Naama Tsabar’s performance in Washington Park that followed P.4’s opening-day ribbon cutting. Tsabar arranged amplifiers and speakers in the center of the park’s lawn, placing on each a local female musician singing and playing instruments. It was entirely delightful. Since it started in 2008, Prospect has been the American festival-type exhibition (setting aside the more established, museumbased ones like the Whitney Biennial and the Carnegie International), but that may soon change. Two new biennials will debut in 2018, in Cleveland and Kansas City (the latter organized by Prospect founder Dan Cameron). It remains to be seen how relevant and impactful they will be to local, regional, and wider audiences. One hopes they will take a cue from Prospect and concentrate on being focused, attentive, and responsive, and not merely an exertion of outside forces that might do more to widen divides than to bridge them. A version of this story originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of ARTnews on page 98 under the title “Prospect.4.” Copyright 2018, Art Media ARTNEWS, llc. 110 Greene Street, 2nd Fl., New York, N.Y. 10012. All rights reserved.

Read the article on the ARTnews website.

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By Doug MacCash | The Times-Picayune Artist Kara Walker's "Katastwof Karavan (Catastrophe Caravan)" is meant to commemorate a grim aspect of the history of the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, which was once the stopping point for arriving shiploads of slaves. Walker is famous for illustrating historic black subjugation with genteel 19th-century-style silhouette cutouts. "Katastwof Karavan" combines a custom-made circus wagon covered with Walker's signature silhouettes with a working calliope inspired by the riverboat Natchez. The haunting calliope music by jazz pianist Jason Moran is based on African American protest and celebration songs. Walker will present a public performance with jazz pianist Jason Moran on Saturday, (Feb. 24) at 2:30 p.m. on Algiers Point. As previously reported, the appearance of "Katastwof Karavan" is the high point of the Prospect.4 citywide art exhibition. Unfortunately, the compelling sculpture arrived late and will be on view through Sunday only, when Prospect.4 closes.

View the video on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Read the entire list on the artnet News website.

Read the complete list on The Baton Rouge Advocate website.

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NEW ORLEANS -- A one-of-a-kind art installment has arrived in Algiers Point. Artist Kara Walker has constructed a thirty-eight-note steam calliope similar to the one on the Steamboat Natchez and housed it in an arcane looking parade wagon of her own design. In critical response to the Natchez, Walker’s calliope plays songs and sounds she associates with the long history of African American protest music: gospel, reggae, jazz improvisation, chants, and shouts, from “Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child” to Jimi Hendrix to Sam Cooke. The wagon is called Katastwof Karavan and is meant to commemorate a grim aspect of the history of Algiers, which was once the stopping point for arriving shiploads of slaves. This is the artist’s first public artwork in the South. Prospect.4 is an international contemporary art exhibition featuring 73 artists from more than 25 countries across seventeen venues throughout the city of New Orleans. It is a “triennial” so it only happens every three years. This style of exhibition happens around the world, most famously the Venice Biennale, but Prospect is the largest of its kind in the United States. Prospect.4 opened in November and closes in New Orleans this weekend. You can go hear the calliope for free at the following times this weekend: Saturday, February 24: 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday February 25: 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Watch the segment on the WGNO-TV website.

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By Sue Strachan A heavy rain fell on the late afternoon of Friday, Feb. 23, but that meant nothing to those who were at Algiers Point to witness the debut of Kara Walker's "The Kataswof Karavan" (Catastrophe Caravan) for Prospect.4. Walker was joined by jazz pianist Jason Moran for a live presentation of her Catastrophe Caravan, a 32-note steam calliope set in a paddle wagon. The music played by the calliope is what Walker "associates with the long history of African-American protest music: gospel, reggae, jazz improvisation, chants and shouts," according to a P.4 press release. The location -- the West Bank of the Mississippi River -- was chosen because in New Orleans' early years Algiers Point was where enslaved Africans often were kept before being sold. After the presentation, invited guests went to Compass Point Events for the reception, "A Toast to Prospect.4." The event was a celebration of Prospect.4, which began Nov. 18 and continues through Sunday. At the reception, new leaders for the art event were named: The executive director of Prospect New Orleans will be Nick Stillman. The board president and chair will be Christopher Alfieri, who replaces Susan Brennan, who served for 10 years. The last day for Prospect.4 and to see Walker's "The Kataswof Karavan" is Sunday. "The Kataswof Karavan" schedule continues Saturday at 2:30 and 4:47 p.m.; and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:55 p.m.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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View the photos on The Times-Picayune | website.

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH was rife with notable moments in art history, chief among them, the unveiling of the Obama portraits at the National Portrait Gallery on Feb 12. Washington collector Peggy Cooper Cafritz, co-founder of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and a passionate supporter of young artists, died Feb. 18, just as “Fired Up! Ready to Go!,” a beautifully illustrated book documenting her life and art collections, was published. And in the final days of February, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair staged its first edition on the continent of Africa (Feb. 24-25), and the fourth edition of Prospect New Orleans came to a close. Among the highlights of “Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp” was the long-awaited debut of Kara Walker’s “The Katastwóf Karavan” (being unveiled above). The public artwork was on view along the banks of the Mississippi River at Algiers Point from Feb. 23-25. The following review of February 2018 presents a snapshot of the latest news in art by and about people of African descent: …

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NEWS | Kara Walker presents “Katastwóf Karavan” on the banks of the Mississippi River at Prospect.4 on the closing weekend of the New Orleans triennial (Feb. 23-25). Delayed by production, budget, and shipping issues, the “pioneer-style” wagon features racially charged plantation scenes—silhouettes executed in water-cut steel—and a steam-powered calliope that plays black protest songs. Walker created the public art installation in collaboration with steam-power enthusiast Kenneth Griffard and jazz composer Jason Moran, who performed live with the work over the weekend. ACQUISITION | To help fund “Katastwóf Karavan” Kara Walker made maquettes of the work in an edition of 30. The small scale objects made of painted laser-cut steel measure 9 1/8 x 14 5/8 x 5 1/2 inches and, among others, were acquired by Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, S.C., Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y., and New-York Historical Society where it will be featured in the fall 2018 exhibition “Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow.”

Read the entire list on the Culture Type website.

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By Pelican Bomb The citywide art exhibition "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" brings together 73 acclaimed artists from around the world in 17 venues, including museums, galleries and public sites. Although Prospect.4 technically closed Feb. 25, works by four artists are on view in the Bywater's Crescent Park through at least March 4, giving you new views when going for a jog, walking your dog or hanging out with friends. This weekend, don't miss sculptures by New Orleans-based artist Jennifer Odem, plus works by Radcliffe Bailey, Runo Lagomarsino and Hong-An Truong. In November, Prospect New Orleans opened its fourth citywide art exhibition, which takes place every three years. Viewing many of the artworks is free, though museum admission may apply. For maps and more information, visit the Prospect New Orleans website.

Watch the video on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Solange and I meet in a transitional season. It is early February, and the colors of Mardi Gras are blooming in the city of New Orleans. The Pontchartrain Hotel is on St. Charles Avenue, and, by dusk, the Garden District will be flooded with the sights and sounds of the first Carnival parade. … As a preteen, Solange danced backup for Destiny’s Child. She released her first album, Solo Star, at 16. Nearly 16 years later, evolution is her watchword. Before we leave the Living Room, Solange writes up a short guide of New Orleans in my reporter’s notebook. She impresses on me that I should make sure to sit inside Radcliffe Bailey’s sculpture, “Vessel,” installed in Crescent Park for the Prospect.4 triennial. “It does something to sound,” she says. (The next morning, I sit in the metal cylinder by the Mississippi River and listen to the sound of water pouring from a conch shell.) She exits the Pontchartrain to fetch her son. For the rest of the Mardi Gras season, on Instagram, she leaves evidence of her whereabouts, and maybe her state of mind. She documents a writing retreat at the 17th-century Itopia estate in Jamaica, posing in purple among the brush. At a fete, she grins from under a cowboy hat, embellished with crystals, that she made with her son. On Lundi Gras, she strolls in the street in a billowing white outfit. By Ash Wednesday, these dispatches vanish, and Solange is wherever she is.

Read the entire article on the Billboard website.

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Read the entire article on the New Orleans Magazine website.

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I was on the West (aka “Best”) Bank of the river, on the kind of February day that makes you sweat. Not because of the temperature – it’s in the 70s and a breeze lifts off the Mississippi. It’s a nervous sweat. If it’s this hot in February, what’s that mean for August? I walked on the section of grass, sandwiched between the water and the levee that separates that water from the 19th century homes, 20th century bars, and 21st century couples, children and puppies that all work together to make Algiers Point so dang charming. But as February turns to March, and March turns to April, snow in the northern part of our country will melt and make its way into the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The rivers will experience their annual engorging, and day-by-day, this strip of land will be submerged. All this to say – the riverside of a levee is a terrible place to build a house. But many would say the chunk of land between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was a terrible place to build a city. Prone to flooding, in the path of too many hurricanes, and among the swampy breeding ground of mosquitoes carrying yellow fever and malaria. Well – a city, there is. And, inexplicably, a house, also there is. And that house is what brought me over to the western bank of the Mississippi today. It was the closing weekend of Prospect.4, a triennial NOLA-wide art exhibit, created in the tradition of the mega art biennials in cities like Venice, Istanbul, and Sao Paulo. For those, like me, who aren’t familiar with the concept, the idea is that a curator is chosen to organize an art show around a single theme, with installations spread across the city. Basically, the entire city is turned into the museum. At least, in the case of Prospect New Orleans, which has been organizing these shows since their first exhibit in 2008, many of the individual installations are in public spaces and can be viewed for free, while some of are housed in museums, where regular ticket prices apply.

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The theme around which curator, Trevor Schoonmaker, organized Prospect.4 is in its name: “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp.” Here is a portion of the exhibit description from its website:

My friend, Tara, invited me to Algiers Point that Sunday to check out one of the most highly anticipated installations of the exhibit, Kara Walker’s Katastwof Karavan. The word, “Katastwof” is the Haitian-Creole word for “catastrophe.” The piece of art, itself, is a wagon—the “caravan” — portraying scenes of slavery in black and white silhouettes, resting on a wooden cart. Algiers Point was chosen to hold this installation because Algiers was the holding site for slaves before they were sold at various exchanges and trading blocks on the east bank. Inside the wagon is a 32-note steam calliope and, on this, the closing weekend of Prospect.4, Jason Moran would be performing on the instrument. Unfortunately, a bulldog I was walking earlier that day was especially aggravating, and I was a ferry-too-late to catch the music. Tara found me as I was examining the inside of the other installation on the west bank – the house I mentioned earlier – which appeared to be a research station filled with books, and various species of fish, bones and skin. “What in the world does this have to do with a lotus?” I shook my head. We walked over to the caravan wagon and Tara described the music to me. “It was beautiful,” she said. “So eerie.”

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“I wish I could have heard it,” I admitted as we circled the wagon, which had the benefit of the Mississippi River, St. Louis Cathedral, and the French Quarter as a backdrop. I inspected the carvings of black men carrying burdens through a hot, summer heat; of a child, suspended on low vines, trying to snatch something from the swamp; of three slaves on one another’s backs, attempting to grab something just out of reach – maybe something as literal as a piece of fruit, or as abstract as their freedom. “Well, I’ve got some video – we can li—” “Ah, you’re a hero! How about we grab a beer and I can get a listen?” Tara agreed, because beer was probably always part of the plan, anyway, and we walked toward the Crown & Anchor English Pub, near the foot of the ferry terminal. “I still don’t understand what this all has to do with a lotus,” I said as we walked out of the sunlight. I hesitated as my eyes tried to adjust to what felt like a pitch-black bar. Dozens of 20- and 30-somethings sat in pairs and groups of 3 around the bar and each available table, drinking their pints of ciders, pales and stouts, and chatting or playing board games. We found a pair of seats at the bar when the two men sitting there got up to catch the ferry, and we chatted about the exhibit. Tara went to school for art history, so I was lucky to have her walk me through the history of Prospect New Orleans, from its first big show in the years immediately after Katrina to the second and third installation. “It’s crazy,” I said, “I run through Crescent Park almost every day, and I know the four installations they have there. I remember when they debuted. I’ve taken pictures with them. I just didn’t realize they were part of a larger project.” Tara nodded and sipped from her beer. “I think that’s part of the value in these. They’re woven into the city.” “But shouldn’t I at least know they’re part of a city-wide exhibit?” “Sure, I wish there was more signage at each piece. But I also love how they feel like they belong. They don’t disrupt the space in which they’re placed. They change the space a little, and they help us notice them or think about them. But it doesn’t feel like you’re walking into a museum.” “Like how the piece on the river reminds us of this neighborhood’s role in slavery?” “Exactly.” She took another sip of her beer. “But you really should have heard it with the music.” “I know!” I smiled and sat back in my chair. “It was amazing,” she leaned in with both hands on the bar, “and so engaging.” “Fine fine fine, let me listen to it, please.” Tara queued up the video on her phone. A tall, lanky man with thick-rimmed, black glasses and a mustache held the door open for his companion, wearing red lipstick and tattoos haphazardly laid out over her exposed back, pink from the sun. He made a big, sweeping gesture with his right arm, guiding her by the door he was holding open, and she laughed and gave a curtsy in the doorway before walking out into the sunlight. Behind the pair, three women walked out, and as the door remained open, the stale heat of cigarette smoke creeped into the bar. I coughed and checked my watch, as another couple exited the bar. “Looks like the ferry leaves in about five minutes. One more beer?” I asked.

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“Absolutely,” she said, handing me her phone. “It’s my round. You listen to the video. You’re gonna love it.” I held the phone against my ear so I could hear it above the chatter of patrons behind me, and the clanking of glass in front of me. I tapped the play button and was startled by the sound of rustling wind whipping against the camera. The squeaking of pipe whistles — not particularly in tune because I’m not sure it’s even possible to make outdoor organ pipes sound in tune – disorient me. “Eerie?” Tara asked, eyes forward as she grabbed a beer and a cider from the bar. The grating not-quite-harmonies of each new combination of pipes reminded me of how I plan my runs to avoid the docked Steamboat Natchez when its even-more-offensive-sounding massive organ crows through its lineup of folksy songs twice each afternoon. The sound coming from Tara’s phone makes me grit my teeth, which makes my nose rise, which makes my eyes squint, which makes me grimace. My face is stuck. I turn to Tara. “Eerie?” “It was beautiful!” she laughs and slams her hands on the bar. “It’s something,” I pause the video, “but I’m not sure I’d use the words you’re using. “No way,” she grabs the phone from me. “I swear.” She angles the phone so we both can see. The screen is frozen on a what appears to be more than one hundred onlookers, sandwiched between the river in the background, and a man at a keyboard, which is attached to the wagon and its pipes in the foreground. “They look like it sounds beautiful,” I say, investigating the faces of the audience. “I. Know.” She exaggerates each word, and then unpauses the video, sending shrill combinations of notes huffing between our ears. I examine Tara’s face, and within a second or two it begins its metamorphosis from defiance to befuddlement. “See!” I laugh and tap her shoulder. She waves me off and keeps listening. A few seconds later befuddlement has given way to disbelief. “I swear it wasn’t –” “Wait,” I cut her off and push my ear to her phone, “that was cool.” It happened again. “He’s doing a call and response.”

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The ending emulated the kind of dirge we’re taught slaves would sing in the field. A leader sings, and everyone else responds. It’s the kind of call and response – not quite as desperate, and usually faster – that would become famous in jazz. And then I understood the lotus. How can something as spectacular, and hopeful, and world-changing as jazz come from something as catastrophic and purely evil as slavery? Why is there a research cabin on a sliver of land that will be submerged under America’s mightiest river in just a few weeks? Well — how does a beautiful flower emerge from swamps most famous for inhabitability, disease and death? Resilience. That’s how a piece of land, covered in swamp and prone to natural disaster, made way for one of America’s great port cities – a city with music, food, architecture and a joie de vivre famous around the world. On the ferry ride back to Canal Street, I see a flag on the front of the ferry – a patchwork of colors: lime green, pink, red, black, sky blue, orange and more. The colors are shaped irregularly, and some appear multiple times while others show up just once. Tara mentions this is also a part of Prospect.4, by the artist, Odili Donald Odita. To me, it symbolizes the secret of how New Orleans emerged the lotus. Diversity. Maybe, for example, the pink is our French heritage. If the flag was all pink, we could be a Paris. But a pretty shitty Paris. Maybe the lime green comes from the city’s African roots. Sure, we could be a subpar Dakar. Same if we tried to be Madrid or Montreal, New York or Port-auPrince. We delight because we’ve taken something from all of them, as well as a little bit from many of the other cultures the sailors who stopped in our port called home. We’re the world’s best New Orleans – a city with as many unique contributors to our culture as the colors and shapes on that flag I got off the ferry and hopped on my bike. I wanted to see what else Prospect.4 could teach me about my home, and as I biked around the city, I learned a lot. I learned something when I saw tables climbing out of the river in Crescent Park, or when I found a rusty room holding a shell, projecting the music of a cellist. I learned something when I heard a Japanese robin singing through the Spanish moss in City Park, and I learned something when I got to the Ogden and saw Yoko Ono’s famous message, “Have you seen the horizon lately?” scrawled across the side of the building. What did I learn? Listen, I don’t know what makes art great. But I know I enjoy it when I can’t pinpoint what the artist is trying to tell me. I enjoyed Prospect.4, in part, because it left room for me to interpret. Maybe great art encourages us to look at the places we pass every day, and to pay attention to them. Or maybe great art encourages us to seek out the places we otherwise wouldn’t.

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Prospect.4 encouraged me to look at my world in a different way. It asked me to look at a flag on a ferry I don’t often ride, and to listen to the sound of birds in a tree I never stop to admire. It inspired me to walk into a rusty room I had run by for five months without giving it more than a thought, and it got me on my bike on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to explore and question the place I call home. It asked me to question what makes New Orleans wonderful and horrible – both at the same time — and makes me wonder what I can do to make it a little bit better. Have I seen the horizon lately? Project.4 asked us to consider how something as plain and nondescript can give way to each day’s great miracle. Project.4 also made me consider a new horizon. The sun is rising. NOLA is too.

Read the blog post on the Matt Haines Writes website.

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By Pelican Bomb On Feb. 25, "Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp" closed, after three months on view at sites throughout New Orleans. The most anticipated artwork, a steam-powered calliope designed by artist Kara Walker and played by jazz composer Jason Moran, helped bid farewell to the triennial exhibition with live and programmed performances throughout the final weekend. Like its iconic counterpart on the Steamboat Natchez heard across the French Quarter, Walker's steam calliope, titled "The Katastwof Karavan," plays notes through differently sized whistles, creating sounds akin to an extremely shrill ice cream truck. Instead of the Natchez's old-timey ditties suggesting an idyllic Old South, "The Katastwof Karavan" (which takes its name from the Haitian Creole word for "catastrophe") pumped out songs of African-American resistance and celebration, ranging from traditional spirituals to songs by Prince and Marvin Gaye and new live compositions by Moran. Since it was invented in the 19th century, calliopes have been associated with riverboats and traveling circuses -- the instrument's sounds were deemed too harsh and too loud for the liturgical settings for which it was created. Walker's calliope takes the form of a carnival wagon decorated in the artist's signature black cut-out silhouettes, which disguise gruesome scenes of historical violence and abuse within a genteel form popularized in America in the early 19th century. During the performances, steam violently cascaded out

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of the wagon's sides -- a visualization of the instrument's piercing tones -- giving the impression that the cart might explode to pieces at any given moment. "The Katastwof Karavan" has been shrouded in speculation since last May, when Prospect New Orleans announced the 73 artists selected by Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker to participate in the exhibition, which opened to the public November 18. When it was divulged Walker's calliope would not be ready for Prospect's opening weekend, viewers (including large numbers of out-of-town visitors) were left in the lurch. Rumors and a scandal involving escalating shipping costs, miscommunication and finally a New York Timesarticle throwing the Prospect team under the bus only added to the intrigue. But all of this hullabaloo is fitting, and the surrounding spectacle seems to be exactly what Walker intended. Similar to Walker's monumental "A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby," 2014, a massive sugar-coated Mammy-sphinx sculpture installed in the former Domino Sugar refinery in Brooklyn, "The Katastwof Karavan,'' used the carnivalesque to force visitors to confront our country's and New Orleans' traumatic history. With "A Subtlety," Walker used the sculpture's materials and massive size to illustrate the ways in which the continued stereotyping and objectification of black women's bodies is linked to the plantation system's literal treatment of enslaved Africans as objects. There, her commentary rang eerily true, as hordes of visitors began posting selfies on Instagram posing with the 35-foot statue, pretending to grope, lick and assault her body. When I visited "The Katastwof Karavan" on Saturday, Feb. 24, hundreds of people were already crowded around the instrument, smiling groups seated on the grass and seemingly prepared for a leisurely afternoon of entertainment. Seeing so many people out for a performance was exciting, but also disturbing, as Walker had invited audiences to picnic (as she notes in a brochure for the performance) near the historical site of a barracks that held enslaved Africans before they were ferried across the river to the French Quarter's slave auctions. When the calliope's first notes blared, the front row, admittedly comically, all immediately covered their ears, the instrument's tones too loud and painful to bear--a sort of middle finger from Walker to the art audiences who have celebrated, commodified and canonized her depictions of suffering. The poignant selection of songs sourced by Walker and Moran were transformed into something grating, which had the odd effect of intensifying their emotional resonance. On Algiers Point, Walker took for a fact that the audience was there for a show. The accompanying brochure begins, "Hear ye! Hear ye! Sideshow-barker-in-chief Walker, aka Miss Kara, requests your ebullient presence for a once (or thrice) in a lifetime event showcasing her Unique (but not all that Unfamiliar) CALLIOPE!" What she delivered was a short, nearly unlistenable performance, a course reminder that the horrific stories of this place reverberate still too strongly with us all.

Read the article on The Times-Picayune | website.

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Prospect.4 Media Recap  
Prospect.4 Media Recap