Michael Pajon, “Sisters” (2010) (image from prospectneworleans.org)

Prospect.1 New Orleans was the biggest biennial ever staged on US soil, and that’s the least of the accomplishments of Dan Cameron‘s 2008 exhibition. The show brought attention to what continues to be an area badly damaged by disaster and in danger of falling out of the public eye. Prospect 1.0 was a symbol of the resurgence of the city and the ability of contemporary art to provoke, possibly the height of the current biennial miracle vogue. The exhibition collected an international crew of artists and brought them to New Orleans to create projects that reacted to a local context. But two years later, what’s on for the show’s next incarnation?

With the heightening of the economic recession and the dropdown in arts funding, it was tough to get Prospect 1.5 going. “The biggest challenge to keeping Prospect on track has been the economic challenge presented by the ongoing recession,” Cameron wrote to us in an email. Prospect “found in 2009 that much of the foundation and private funding that was available to us in 2007-08 had either disappeared, or was in abeyance until the 2nd half of this year. For a start-up, that is very daunting, to say the least.” But flexibility in the face of adversity is what a start up like Cameron’s U.S. Biennial nonprofit, the organization that formed the original Prospect, is all about. in 2010, Cameron has reimagined the Prospect Biennial as a more dispersed, more local affair “highlighting the contemporary art scene in the city” and serving as a “preview of Prospect 2.0.”

Prospect 1.5 will host artists heading to the city to plan for the next version of the event, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing going on. This coming Saturday November 6, Prospect 1.5 will kick off a 15-week series of events including New Orleans openings for artists Beth Dary and Sam Still, natives who relocated to New York after Hurricane Katrina. The exhibition in particular emphasizes homecomings for local artists.

A benefit print by Fred Tomaselli — “August 31, 2005” (2010) — available through Prospect New Orleans (via prospectneworleans.org)

Below are some events that Cameron particularly recommends for those able to visit:

1. “The group exhibition of eight recently arrived New Orleans artists, titled Fresh Off the Turnip Truck, at the Louisiana State Museum,” a show that celebrates the “brain gain” of local artists coming back home.

2. “The ecology-driven group show at Octavia Gallery, called The Machine in the Garden” curated by Cameron and featuring artists Brian Borrello, Ralph Bourque, Daphne Loney, Christy Speakman, and Michel Varisco. 

3. And finally, “The series of exhibitions at Good Children showcasing native New Orleans artists who left to live in NYC or LA, and are now having their hometown debuts.”

And there you have it straight from the curator’s keyboard! Exhibitions kick off this Saturday, November 6th. Visit Prospect‘s homepage for more information, and here’s to hoping a few of our readers can make it to the myriad of worthwhile events.

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Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...