Tuesday, July 29, 2008


When Dan Cameron curated his first CAC show, Elizabeth Underwood and I tried some "video blogging" and interviewed some of the artists at the opening. Those posts can still be found in mostly in the February and March archives. What I neglected to do was finish the series by posting the curator's statement (!)
I decided now is as good a time as any to rehash what we've seen, in anticipation of what's to come. For the show last January, titled "Something from Nothing," Elizabeth and I were very curious to find out what "nothing" was. It turned out that "nothing" was the stuff of community. While I think the title stung a bit, the show had some great work dealing with issues and ideas timely to new orleanians. As you will hear in the clip, "situational aesthetics" within the context of an alternative economy is the ground of Dan Cameron's concept. The Victor Burgin text from 1969 "Situational Aesthetics" is dense with ideas about art as institutional critique, art as activity, art existing in a psychological space as much as a physical space... I'm curious about how this idea will play out with Prospect 1, with the biennial as the institution and a "differently-functioning" city as the context.

Health insurance for LA Cultural Economy Workers

The LA Cultural Economy Foundation has facilitated this opportunity, thank you! Artists pay a $75 yearly membership fee as well as a monthly premium, but for the first year it's waived, thanks to the LCEF. More info at the Cultural Economy website, at the Arts Council website, and at Fractured Atlas, the NY State based artists' non-profit that partners with Aetna for the insurance.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Louisiana Artworks Session

New Discourses in Critical Media
Tuesday, July 29th, 7pm
Louisiana Artworks on Howard Ave.
$3 suggested donation
click to see info about the out-of-towners
Thomas Lawson
Michael Holte
Brian Sholis

(While you are in the hood, check out the boulders that Robert Tannen has installed on Lee Circle - an in-progress public art piece. It might be finished if you see engraving in the boulders.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Call to Gulf South Artists from BECA

A call for 2D and 3D submissions for a group exhibition featuring the works of emerging artists from TX, LA, MS, AL and FL: This exhibition will open Jan. 3, 2009 during the upcoming biennial, Prospect 1: New Orleans, "the largest biennial of contemporary art ever organized in the United States" which runs from Nov. 1, '08 – Jan. 18, '09. Email submissions will be accepted according to the guidelines listed below through Nov. 10, 2008. Physical CD submissions will be accepted through Nov. 14, 2008. See the BECA website for more details.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Field Guide at the Milne Boys Home

This Saturday July 26th, 3-6pm, is the opening reception for Jacqueline Bishop's Art in Action piece, Field Guide. The Milne site is a beautiful historical setting that catches the breezes off the lake, and the oak trees' spread is wide, so don't let the heat keep you from seeing the 5000 birds in Gentilly.

Louisiana Artworks Exhibition Program and Artist Registry

- no info up on their website about it yet, but hopefully will be soon. -C.

Attention: Emerging Contemporary Visual Artists
Louisiana Artworks is pleased to announce our first open call for entries as part of our Emerging Artists exhibition programming. Artist applications will be compiled into an ongoing Artist Registry. Guest curators recruited from national and international art centers will review our Artist Registry when making their individual selections for eight different exhibitions. The first curated show selected from the registry will open November 1, 2008 in conjunction with Prospect.1. Louisiana Artworks will also launch our single channel video exhibition space on November 1 - the only space of its kind in the city. All applicants are invited to complete and return the submission form along with required supporting materials no later than August 30, 2008 to be considered for the first round of reviews. Please note that all submission materials will be retained by Louisiana Artworks. Artist information and images for our registry are accepted on an ongoing basis. Please feel free to contact our office with any questions.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Blue Velvet"

I continue to be amazed by the number of projects about New Orleans that few New Orleanians know about. This one was brought to my attention by a woman in Spain! I'm still trying to figure out why this project is called Blue Velvet - it's a dense and multi-layered piece about New Orleans post-Katrina in an online multimedia interactive journal called Vectors, out of the University of Southern California. I learned many things, for instance "redlining," a technique of mapping desirable and undesirable areas in a city that would then influence mortgage lenders. Also, there's a bit of academ-speak for some of us to catch up on, but it's worth some study. I can't do much better than the statement by the editors, which speaks of capturing "complex histories interlaced in what our government would have us believe was simply an act of nature."

LA Artworks Session tonight

Dear Artists,
The July Artist Convening Session will be taking place tonight from 6-8 PM. We will be meeting at the Louisiana ArtWorks building at 725 Howard Avenue. This session will serve as a forum for discussion of the Prospect.1 Biennial. We hope to see you there!
The Louisiana ArtWorks Team

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Peter Sarkisian at CAC

Extruded Video Engine: Katrina Series
through Oct 6, 2008
Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans

When I saw the Extruded Video Engines at the CAC they wowed me with their fun pseudo 3-D video-projection-on-vacuform effect. I thought they were playful but then I started listening to them. The gears and cranks (with the exceptions of the bubbles - they add a Frankenstein factor) suddenly seemed retro , like a celebratory nostalgia for a past in which things worked. Combined with the audio of news media reportage from 2005, the effect became sinister. I recalled the moment on Sept 2nd 2005, when any leftover belief I had in what the media said was shattered. The specter of the inner workings, the gears and such, allude to outmoded forms of machination, and function as a purposely outdated metaphor for how things happen (supposedly Sarkisian videotaped the crazy mechanical things at Los Alamos). The pieces insist on transparency, but it's false - a "look, this is really how things work" feel, when we know that this is NOT at all how it works, and it's just an illusion. It's the illusion of civil organization, of democracy, of an unbiased media. Each wall piece felt like a blob with some knobs and gears hot-glued on the top of it to make it appear official. The sinister aspect of the pieces is the part that works for me.
An art-going pal told me that he'd seen the work before in NYC, but without the Katrina reference. That made me wonder: are these pieces like a template over which anything would work? an illusory machine that has an input and an output, and whatever comes in is transformed when it comes out? Whatever the case, I think it works to add in the Katrina references, but hey, talk about preaching to the choir. Will the Extruded Video Engine: Katrina Series show outside of the Gulf Coast? Or is the engine just like the media machines it parodies, endlessly going from one opportunity to the next?
Here are my ratings, on a scale of 1(worst) to 10(super-duper best):
gee-whiz factor: 10
shoe-horn factor (making it fit in New Orleans) 10
tacky: 10
techie: 10

Friday, July 18, 2008

Art for Canal Street Streetcar Shelters

The Arts Council of New Orleans has put out this call for public art in the streetcar shelters along Canal, funded by the Downtown Development District it appears. Yeah! What a great opportunity! The information states:
A jury panel representing diverse interest and expertise will review submissions. The following criteria will be used:
• Strength, creativity, and originality of design.
• Appropriateness: aesthetic content and appropriateness for display on public property.
• Ability to work with photographer or provide camera-ready artwork within given timeline.
• Strength of the artist’s proposal and portfolio [resume, & past work].

Can we get some actually innovative stuff up there? How about a sound installation? (joking - I don't think you should really apply with that.) Everyone should apply with work that pushes the "appropriateness for display on public property" guideline! True, your chances for an award may suffer, but it's time to send signals to the city (or the DDD) that artists need THEM to step up to the plate and take chances local contemporary art, not just blue dogs (their ubiquity being the main thing I hold against them.) I mean, look at Chicago, they have a giant video installation that spits water in Millenium Park! (yeah yeah, maintenance costs, vandalism, but I can dream, right? I'm so happy with those Louise Bourgeouis eyebenches watching over federal court - do they really have to leave after 2 years?)

Friday, July 11, 2008

St. Claude openings this weekend

Good Children, Barristers, Home Space and Antenna have openings this Saturday night. There are probably more - so come out and see -

Life is Art is Art is Life

Growing up, anytime my father (Warren Easton H.S., class of '59) was confronted with some mischevious boys, he would say "those are some bad motor scooters" and chuckle. it took me several years to realize that "bad motor scooter" was not something he concocted but a quote from the Emperor of the Universe himself, Mr. Ernie K-Doe. K-Doe was interested in continuing his legacy and reaching out to youth in his final years, as evidenced by the release of his CD "Children of the World." Now with the help of the UK drugstore chain Boots and their "Here come the Girls" commercial, the children are now listening. Do things like this video of some kids covering "Here Come the Girls" make Ernie roll in his grave? My guess is that he'd insist on rehearsing them until they got it right, while dispensing his K-doe-isms and his work ethic. Antoinette K-Doe continues the performance that is Ernie K-Doe, with the latest event happening Saturday night at the Rock-n-Bowl, where, as Keith Spera describes it:
..." In keeping with the theme of the Boots commercial, women are encouraged to attend in evening wear. One hundred women are to be presented with roses and escorted past the eerily life-like Ernie K-Doe statue -- which, Antoinette says, will be affixed with its "standing legs" and available for dancing on a wheeled platform...." I can't wait to cut in.
Also, don't miss Anne Churchill's gem "Burn K-Doe Burn" that documents K-Doe doing his WTUL radio show.

recently watched favorites

1. Art in Action! A nice piece about Jacqueline Bishop and Art in Action doing an installation at the Milne Boys Home at nola.com. Over 5000 birds now reside on the circular drive, and Jacqueline Bishop discusses her passion.
2. 2-Cent! a new video by the local youth collective, this one in which Kirk Douglas calls for an apology for slavery! 2-Cent recently went to L.A. to pick up an award from MTV! and got some one-on-one time with Mr. Douglas.
3. 2-Cent again! mostly a promo piece that solicits support for an event (called Project N.O.) it also expresses how New Orleans looks through the eyes of young people looking for opportunity.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Justice Re-investment New Orleans

Jess Garz made me aware of a mapping project that visualizes New Orleans topography in terms of money spent to incarcerate citizens. This is a project of Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. They specifically focused on the Florida Housing Projects, as a census block where over a million dollars a year is spent by the state to incarcerate residents. You can find and the accompanying blog here and their various publications on the subject here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

mini grants awarded

Transforma awards 5 projects Creative Recovery Mini-Grants! See their blog for details.

mind-blowing maps of the Mississippi

I first ran across these maps at the blog Pruned. The US Army Corps of Engineers cartographer Harold Fisk charted the "ancient courses of the river," in colors coded by era. Pruned also links to hi-res files of all the plates. It's a fascinating look at how the river has changed over the millenia. Also, here's a link to all the maps pieced together.