The New Orleans Museum of Art hosted a luncheon today for members of arts community that amounted to something much more than the usual meet and greet.
This week, the anti-slavery origins of the Christmas tree in the US, iPad art apps, Ai Weiwei documentary, Georgian architecture, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, danger in Pompeii, the state of the New Orleans art scene and Stocking.
NEW ORLEANS – Prospect 2 isn’t just about the new or the conceptual or the overwrought: William Eggleston brings a pair of several decades-old works to his Prospect installation at the Old US Mint on the edge of the French Quarter, and together they offer the most satisfying viewing experience of anything I’ve seen so far in this edition of the biennial.
NEW ORLEANS — Of all the stories about New Orleans, John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces is one of the most universally beloved. So an artist who attempts to engage it in a different medium has their work cut out for them from the get-go: anyone who’s read Toole’s posthumously published comedic opus already has their own idea of how Ignatius J. Reilly and his world should be brought to life.
Sophie Calle moves into New Orleans’ 1850 House for her Prospect 2 installation and brings dozens of objects and stories with her — with mixed results.
NEW ORLEANS — The Piazza d’Italia generally isn’t high on many people’s lists of Things To See And Do In New Orleans; in fact, I’d guess that most of the tourists who stumble across it do so while getting lost on their way to or from the nearby Harrah’s casino or Hilton Riverfront. They probably no idea that this gaudy urban ensemble, designed by Charles Moore and opened in 1978, represents one of the seminal pieces of postmodern architecture in the country. In his Prospect 2 biennial piece, Francesco Vezzoli adds an extra layer of kitsch to New Orleans’ Piazza d’Italia with his “Portrait of Sophia Loren.”
By the ordinary way of reckoning such things, there are considerably fewer artists participating in this year’s Prospect.2 biennial in New Orleans than in the event’s first iteration three years ago. But if artist and provocateur William Pope.L’s piece for the exhibition turns out according to schedule, there will be a lot more artistic visions on view around New Orleans this fall than the smaller number of artists might lead you to expect.
Fans of visual art in the Crescent City should rejoice that there’s a new guide in town that will make things a little easier. Multi-disciplinary designer Erik Kiesewetter joined forces with three others to create a free printed bi-monthly gallery guide listing for the visual arts in New Orleans that launches next month, Catalogue.
When Hyperallergic editor Hrag V. asked me to guest edit this site in his absence a few weeks ago and bring a little bit of the Crescent City to the Brooklyn-based blogazine scene, I thought it might be an uneasy fit: after all, as A.J. Liebling memorably said in “The Earl of Louisiana” (though perhaps most memorably in the intro to “A Confederacy of Dunces”), “New Orleans resembles Genoa or Marseilles, or Beirut or the Egyptian Alexandria more than it does New York.”
The video opens with the sound of the tide, and a tight close-up of the artist bringing a stone from a shoreline to her mouth. She licks it slowly. The act, along with the sound of the sea, is both primal and sensual. The ritualized action is repeated, establishing a deep connection between the artist and the sea, as well as the viewer—it’s difficult not to imagine the sensation of the coolness of the smooth stone and the taste of salt in one’s mouth while watching it.
As geopsychically wondrous as New Orleans is, it’s not exactly the most cutting edge of places; in fact, even in these days of instantaneous communication it sometimes takes ideas and trends a little longer to make their way down here than they do elsewhere. But although we might not be au courant, we do do things down here with a certain kind of panache.
“These phenomenona, these wonders of New Orleans, are for the most part simply not explainable in terms of history and culture alone. There is obviously another force at work here, another system, a world of secret realities which is continuously and quietly in confrontation with our own.” In other words, folks: we’re not on Bourbon Street any more.