Friday, May 1, 2009

ARTSWAMP on HIATUS

Thanks for reading over the past year.

NOCCA Students respond to P.1 follow up

Thank you so much to the NOCCA students who submitted their writings to the blog. Their work makes me think about what I like in art essays: the writer discovers something unexpected through the act of thinking deeply and writing about a specific subject. For me personally, the meaning held in this kind of writing is much more satisfying than the typical art review. The best art experiences take you somewhere else - a journey is taken - and one moves forward from a new place. Congratulations to these students and the journeys they shared with us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Arts Writers Grant Program

Online application form opens - Monday, April 27, 2009
Application Deadline - Monday, June 8, 2009

www.artswriters.org

The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program supports individual writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through grants ranging from 3,000 to 50,000 USD.
Writers who meet the program's eligibility requirements are invited to apply in the following categories:
* articles
* blogs
* books
* new and alternative media
* short-form writing

We regret that due to legal constraints we can only fund U.S. citizens,permanent residents, and holders of O-1 visas. For guidelines and additional eligibility requirements, please visit www.artswriters.org.

ART WRITING WORKSHOP

The Arts Writers Grant Program is pleased to announce a new writingworkshop offered in partnership with the International Association of Art Critics/USA Chapter. For more information, please visit www.aicausa.org

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Transforma mini-grants due Monday April 27th

All materials, digital and physical, must be received by 5pm CST.
Physical materials are be mailed or delivered to:
Transforma/NPN
900 Camp Street - Second Floor
New Orleans, LA 70130
There will be a labeled box at the front desk of the Contemporary Art Center, where applications can be dropped off.
More information available at www.transformaprojects.org

Monday, April 20, 2009

Part 5 NOCCA students respond to P.1: Amber Lyons on Beatriz Milhazes


Kaleidoscope Eyes by Amber Lyons
Gamboa by Beatriz Milhazes
The U. S. Mint Louisiana State Museum

“Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world,
for I would ride with you upon the wind
and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”
– The Land of Heart’s Desire by William Butler Yeats

Often as a child I found myself day dreaming about an empty hardwood floor stage, flooded with bright warm lights before a sold out audience. Perfectly poised with pointed toes, I am graceful, the music and my body acting as one. Lilac chiffon skirt layers drape over my sculpted legs, the magenta nylon/spandex leotard a disposable layer of skin over my chest and torso. Freshly bloomed pink rose ribbons and slippers—an image of grace. In these dreams I am a Prima ballerina assoluta. Of course, I realized that I will never be a Prima ballerina assoluta or even a ballerina because I lack the grace and poise, not meeting the height requirement by a foot and two inches. Never has this subject been more painful then when I first looked upon Gamboa by Beatriz Milhazes.

Continue Reading...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Craig Baldwin at Zeitgeist


Craig Baldwin is practically as institutional as feature-length experimental media gets - and I mean that in a good, no, great way. I best know his film Sonic Outlaws, which documents the lawsuit that the band U2 brought against the intrepid sound artists Negativland. The film solidly goes through the ins and outs of fair use, first amendment freedom of expression, and intellectual property issues while entertaining us with Negativland's, and his own, creative processes. I'm also a fan of ¡O No Coronado!, a revisionist docu-drama of sorts of Spanish invasion of Mexico. Craig is alive in person tonight at Zeitgeist, with his new film Mock Up on Mu, about Scientology! Film buffs should also check out OtherCinema's website as well, a venue established by Baldwin. Wikipedia has it that he studied with Bruce Connor...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mardi gross

submitted by Slade
---------------------------

A friend and I have been playing with a thesis that mardi gras is one of the downfalls of contemporary visual arts development in new orleans. The thesis follows two points: that visual artists spend a lot of time and money on costumes, and potential art buyers spend a heap of money on costumes, parties, floats and throws. Although there may be some truth to this premise, it certainly doesn’t describe the whole situation. And who here wants to turn down the party for the possibility of some questionable wall decorations? However, looking at the trash swamped streets of canal and st. charles after the parades, I wonder if perhaps there is another way. A way that would cut the amount of refuse and put money into the hands of local visual artists and therefore back into the local economy.

The decorated shoes that are made for the muses parade are perhaps an example of this idea. We think it would be excellent if organizations commissioned local artists to fabricate throws. In this time of belt tightening, this would put the money where we need it. It would give artists a chance to put their ideas out to a larger group. Of course, there would have to be a shift from quantity to quality. In theory, these throws would be more desirable, and perhaps fewer would end up in the garbage trucks at the end of the night. I would think that we have enough beads to keep the krewes in throws if we kept them recycling through the system ( recycle beads at the arc).

I know I’m not the first to put these ideas forward. I seem to recall an article by Doug MacCash about artist created throws., and there were certainly others.
Since I wrote the above (during mardi gras. I’m a slow poster), several things have been brought to my attention:
Of course, the documentary mardi gras made in china
Krewe du craft has rolled twice with handmade crafts
Doug’s article last year
And Doug’s short form synopsis from this year

I don’t mind being late on the good idea trolley. I guess I should read the paper more often. Hopefully, the members of the krewes do. Can we somehow make this happen?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

exciting news from NOMA


Jennifer Odem's upcoming show at NOMA was enough excitement for me, but now I see there's a new dedicated place at NOMA for video art?!? The place has gone wild! Come to the reception for new exhibits and check it all out. Here's the info:

Wednesday, April 15, 6-8 p.m.— Join us to celebrate the openings of two special exhibitions

Women Artists in Louisiana, 1825-1965: A Place of Their Own. Co-organized by NOMA and The Historic New Orleans Collection, Women Artists in Louisiana highlights the work of female artists from the Bayou State in a variety of mediums and styles.

and

A Discourse in Abstraction: Jennifer Odem and NOMA’s Permanent Collection. A Discourse in Abstraction showcases new work by the emerging New Orleans-based sculptor Odem juxtaposed with 20th-century art owned by the Museum.

This event is part of the Mid-Week in Mid-City series of public programs on Wednesday evenings and is open to the public.

Jennifer will also be unveiling an AORTA project on May 9th.

Update on Jeffrey Cook memorial and services

Tonight is the memorial, tomorrow the service. see more info here

Sunday, April 12, 2009

City One Minutes Meeting Monday April 13th

Janneke has flown in from Amsterdam to locate local mediamakers who want to participate in City One Minutes, an effort to document 24 hours in the life of cities around the world. Makers can sign up to condense one hour of a day in New Orleans into one minute. These works from all the cities participating will be compiled and screened worldwide. See examples at the website and drop in to meet Janneke in Room 220 at Colton Studios tomorrow, Monday April 13th, between noon and 4pm.

Part 4 NOCCA Students respond to P.1: Daniel Hoppes on Skylar Fein

A Punk with Spunk
by Daniel Hoppes
on Remember the Upstairs Lounge by Skylar Fein
Contemporary Arts Center

What is so appealing about “a punk with spunk”? That phrase is faded into one of the photos hung on the wall in Skylar Fein’s Prospect.1 installation Remember the Upstairs Lounge, a piece inspired by the New Orleans Upstairs Lounge which was burned down in 1973. The piece is composed of an entrance alcove, a hallway, a large rectangular room, and an exit. All around the main room are enlarged photographs of blurred punk rockers, aged wood signage advertising adult-male bookstores and depicting numerous homosexual symbols, and lit-up bar signs. Though Fein sets the various pieces up democratically so none takes precedence, for me a certain portrait stands out.
Continue reading...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fundraiser @ Antenna

this Saturday night, a "sleep concert" curated by local ambient composer Tanner Menard- read more about it at nola.comand at Tanner's website.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

rest in peace Jeffrey Cook

Here's Doug MacCash's article on artist Jeffrey Cook's death
and a good review from Art in America, dated 2000.
News is that Jeffrey Cook's memorial will be next Wednesday at Ashe Cultural Center. Viewing: 9-11 am, Memorial 11 am.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Part 3 NOCCA students respond to P.1: Angelica Robinson on Leandro Erlich


A Hopeful Structure by Angelica Robinson
Window and Ladder—Too Late For Help
Leandro Erlich
Lower Ninth Ward

We were on a field trip, riding around on a yellow bus and stopping at numerous Prospect 1 sites in the Lower Ninth Ward. We would stop at one site, look at it, take notes, take pictures and briefly discuss the piece of artwork. At the time I couldn’t really focus on what was in front of me. A couple of weeks earlier my Creative Writing instructors sat me down to discuss my grades. They informed me that I was failing. I had an F average in my test grades, which brought my overall grade down to C- average. If I didn’t bring my grade up by the end of the semester I would be kicked out of my arts school, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. I knew what the problem was. I hated reading the books that we were assigned and also had a part time job. I had been having these problems for quite some time, but I just always came through some how and slid by.
Continue Reading...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Part 2 NOCCA students respond to P.1: Monique Thomas on Fred Tomaselli


Like Beads on a String by Monique Thomas
Flipper, Abductor, and Hang Over
Fred Tomaselli
The U. S. Mint Louisiana State Museum

If art is a look into the artist’s view of the world, to experience it is to see as someone else sees—if only for a moment. Collagist Fred Tomaselli uses hundreds if not thousands of tiny magazine cutouts, Styrofoam shapes, leaves, and pills to create larger images which feel unworldly due to their enormous size, and which, through their vivid detail and color, redefine what is natural and beautiful. In Flipper, Tomaselli creates huge waves that overlap and intersect with each other, while maintaining symmetry across each of its three panels. Abductor depicts what seems to be a raging tornado either whipping through or exploding from the base of the piece, releasing hundreds of little pinwheels. Hang Over shows a tree overflowing with beads.
Continue Reading...

BECA call for outdoor ideas

The BECA Foundation is now accepting proposals from artists and curators for temporary outdoor exhibitions: http://www.thebecafoundation.org/global/submissions.html

State Arts funding cut over 80% last week

Jindal seems to be taking an axe to arts funding in Louisiana. Not surprised but please visit this link before April 2 if you want to take some online action.
submitted by Melissa Roberts

NOTES ON HUNGER, A FILM BY STEVE MCQUEEN (2008)

Note: producer Madeleine Molyneaux kindly offers these notes she wrote for the film Hunger for the 2008 Festival Nouveau Cinema in Montreal. Hunger screens on Tuesday, March 31st at Canal Place Theatres as part of Patois: The New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival.

Northern Ireland, 1981. Maze Prison, ten miles outside Belfast. IRA prisoner Bobby Sands and nine others go on a hunger strike to protest hellish conditions and the refusal of the British government to restore their political prisoner status. Noted Brit visual artist and Turner Prize recipient Steve McQueen, awarded the Camera d’Or at Cannes for this “hardcore, artcore” debut (a new description for an old genre) is a fierce talent to be reckoned with, and Hunger is a worthy successor to the poetic, visceral cinema of Jarman and Pasolini. The prison sequences are exquisitely photographed and rendered, and the narrative often takes on the tropes of performance art. (Indeed, the film is almost dialogue-free, a remarkable approach in this day of the wordy biopic). Uprisings and protests erupt with frenzied precision and possess a balletic violence that is part Clare Denis (the choreographed rituals of Le Beau Travail) and part Sam Peckinpah. The final devastating scenes of the dying days of Sands (a miraculous transformative portrayal by 31-year old Michael Fassbender, who starved for two months in preparation) are haunting semblances of iconic religious tableaus. McQueen has made the ultimate character study of the character of conviction, sacred and profane, certain to resonate on a universal level.
--Madeleine Molyneaux
(Originally published in the catalog for the 2008 Festival Nouveau Cinema, Montreal)

transforma grants call

Transforma issues a call for their 3rd round of grants. Due April 27th. See the call at their website.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Street Art, Part II at Louisiana Artworks

On Tuesday, March 31st, 2009, at 7:00 PM Louisiana ArtWorks presents "Street Art, Part II", the second of two panels dealing with the contemporary role of Street Art. The discussion will examine this artform's beginnings, trends, and why sometimes getting your work out there is as simple as literally "taking it to the street". Four artists whose work is performance-based will discuss the definitions of their medium and the different approaches they take to create their work and share it with an audience.
725 Howard Avenue at Carondelet.
T: 504.571.7373
info@louisianaartworks.org

Monday, March 23, 2009

The New Orleans Int'l Human Rights Film Fest starts March 26th

Note: This year's NOHRFF line up includes a special highlight for local artists - the screening of video artist Steve McQueen's feature film about Bobby Sands, Hunger, on Tuesday, March 31st, 7pm at Canal Place. (Here's a short interview with McQueen at the New York Film Festival). Another must see is local youth media group 2-Cent's program Sunday, March 29th at Zeitgeist.

PATOIS: The Sixth Annual New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival, March 26 - April 5, 2009

This year, PATOIS will be better than ever. More than 50 films, 8 world premieres, 20 filmmakers presenting their films, food provided by at least six different New Orleans restaurants, workshops, panels, and live performances by local and national musicians at venues around the city, as well as out in the streets!
Complete information about our programming is available online at patoisfilmfest.org , and programs are available at spots all around New Orleans.
We have discounted and free tickets available for youth, and for others who might not otherwise be able to afford tickets. For more information, please write emily@nolahumanrights.org.

Part 1 NOCCA students respond to P.1: Natasha Cox on Sanford Biggers

Note: This is part 1 of a series of student essays from NOCCA's Creative Writing Department. A student essay will be posted once a week for the next 5 weeks. Comments are welcome and the students may respond.

Not so Strange as “Stranger Fruit” by Natasha Cox
on Blossom by Sanford Biggers
The U.S. Mint Louisiana State Museum

Entitled Blossom, the Prospect.1 piece by Sanford Biggers was housed on the second floor landing of in The U.S. Mint Louisiana State Museum with no particular room or gallery to call its own: bathrooms to the right, elevators to the left. It stood at the crossroads of foot traffic, between the hallways and the entryways to other showrooms, seemingly an outcast, yet also somehow glorified in its solitude. Blossom, a piece of outlandish sculptural and musical presence, consisted of a baby-grand style player piano – a piano and all of the materials used in the crafting of a piano: plastic for the keys, polished wood for the smooth surfaces of the frame, the legs, and the lid, as well as tight ropes of metal cords stretched through the instrument’s belly.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

5-part series: NOCCA Students Respond to Prospect.1

Note: Starting this week, students from NOCCA are graciously posting their essays responding to Prospect.1 artworks. A student essay will be posted once a week for the next 5 weeks. Comments are welcome and the students may respond. An introduction from their teacher, Anne Gisleson, follows:

In December 2008 and January 2009, creative writing students from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Lousiana's arts conservatory for high school students, visited many of the Prospect.1 sites around the city. As part of their non-fiction writing curriclum this past quarter, they read essays by such writers as Umberto Eco, Rebecca Solnit and Arthur C. Danto, sat in on art critiques and began collaborations visual arts students. Prospect.1 brought another opportunity to deepen their relationship with visual art, the city and with their own writing.

Anne Gisleson, instructor, NOCCA Creative Writing

local art criticism in jeopardy?

In the afterglow of Prospect.1, visual artists have been surprised to discover that local art criticism and coverage in print media appear to be diminishing, not increasing. As professionals we have relied on printed criticism to attract curators, gallerists, and patrons. Our viral email campaign to restore full length articles to Gambit Weekly was not successful, and art listings in the Times-Picayune have been reduced to “Highlights.” With newspapers closing around the country, it is time to be proactive in moving critical writing about art into new media. What can we do to encourage new voices, and how can we raise the profile of contemporary New Orleans artists in national and international arenas?

Please join us for an informal discussion/social event in the café of the Contemporary Arts Center on Wednesday, March 25 at 7:00. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.
post by Cynthia Scott

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Call for Clothing Donations: WORN AGAIN 3


Before you throw out your dusty bride’s maid gown give it another chance to shine! WORN AGAIN is in need of your clothing cast-offs for our Recycle For The Arts fundraiser. WORN AGAIN is New Orleans’ only annual recycled fashion extravaganza in which professional and amateur designers rock the runway with repurposed creativity.

We are seeking donations of bizarre and unusual gowns, dresses, suits, vintage wear, drapes, fabric and cast-off textiles. (Please: no jeans, underwear or athletic gear.) Designers will have four weeks to turn these misfits into amazing wearable art and wow the WORN AGAIN jury and audience.

If you’d like to support us please bring your donations to The Green Project or contact us for further information.
Thank you - Elizabeth
Recycle for the Arts Program Manager
504-945-0240 x7#
www.Recycle4theArts.org
www.TheGreenProject.org

CITY ONE MINUTES NEW ORLEANS

City One Minutes is about capturing 24 hours of a city in a video portrait of 24 minutes.
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION AND PROPOSALS:
City One Minutes is a worldwide art project for which artists are invited to make a personal 60-second video portrait of cities all over the world. The project is being initiated by one of the most renowned Dutch Art Academies, the SANDBERG Institute. A selection of the videos will tour worldwide, initially at the Shanghai World Expo in April 2010, followed by a travelling exhibition to Cape Town, Venice Biennial, Architecture Biennial Rotterdam and many many more. Buildings, squares, a river, cars, people, eating, loneliness, money, order and chaos. A city in the morning is different from that at night. Cities change every hour. Making a portrait of a city we are looking for its characteristics. Images from which one recognizes the city, combined with the personal view of the maker. One artist will make a one minute video between 9.00 and 10.00 pm. Another artist between 10.00 and 11.00 pm and so on and forth. Together these 24 videos will form a collective artwork of 24 minutes.

For examples, see www.theoneminutes.org

WHEN: April 13th - 17th, 2009 New Orleans. Location to be announced.
WHO: For the City One Minutes New Orleans (video) artists are invited to participate in the project by making one (or more) one minute video portraits of characteristic situations or sights. Together you will decide what should be shot and shown in this portrait of New Orleans and who films what. Dutch artist Janneke Kupfer will coordinate the project and technically assist you during the week of April 13-17, with the possibility to finish movies up until April 22nd. We will end with a public screening.
Participation is free of charge, please bring your own camera. For participation, proposals and more information, please mail to janneke.kupfer@gmail.com before April 1st!

ROCKSTAR READING


Monday, March 23, 7pm
Al Burian (author of Burn Collector and Things Are Meaningless, also member of the band Milemarker), along with Cassie J. Sneider (author of Tearing the Heart Out of this Town, and Scrappy J) and Bucky Sinister (author of Get Up, All Blacked Out & Nowhere to Go, Whiskey and Robots, and King of the Roadkills) will be making a stop at The Front on their tour doing readings from their latest work.
Free, though $donations$ would be appreciated.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lecture with Caecilia Tripp & Film Screening Saturday

"POETICS OF RELATION", 2pm, Contemporary Arts Center
Filmmaker Caecilia Tripp, whose film The Making of Americans (2004) is currently on view as part of Score & Script: Music in Video, on view in the first floor gallery until April 5 , will present some of her recent films, made in locales ranging from Curaçao (Mi Curaçao, 2005) to Rio de Janeiro (Motoboy/Cacao The Mad Dog, 2008), Paris (Paris Anthem, 2008) and London (Making History, 2008). All of these films cast a poetic, yet critical, eye on creolization processes in these formlery colonized places, while paying attention to the new voices that they have produced - from an underground Carioca DJ to the acclaimed Guadeloupean French Soprano Magali Léger, London-based Jamaican dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and Martinican poet Édouard Glissant.
Poetics of Relation will be moderated by Score & Script exhibition curator Claire Tancons.
Free, with gallery admission: $5. $3 for students, seniors. FREE for CAC members and children under 15 every day.
For information, call (504) 528-3805

Green Project Fundraiser

Don't know how I missed this - TONIGHT, at Canal Place - here's the link. You can check out the furniture made for the fundraiser at Flicker - great stuff!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

State of the Nation Festival

The State of the Nation Art and Performance Festival starts tomorrow, Weds. Tons of performances, art, films and videos are happening. See the website for the full schedule. The Wednesday opening night reception at Colton looks like a sure bet with Shopdropping, a video by Shana Robbins, and other videos / performances / installations by the Black Forest Fancies, Colin Meneghini, Diana Knobel, and the Original Little 7 Players.

Lala Rascic artist talk @ Good Children


Thursday, 03.19.2009 at 7pm @ Good Children Gallery

Bosnian artist Lala Rascic will deliver a talk about her practice of /living in fiction/, providing context to her playful, cross-disciplinary projects which span from drawing to performance. 

Rascic develops her audio-drama inspired work through scriptwriting, video, performance, installation and drawing. While maintaining the entertainment and aesthetic quality in her work, the subverted message is no laughing matter. At a closer look, the seemingly humorous works are a satirical comment on contemporary society and the artist's own environment. 

Rascic spends her time between her birthplace, Sarajevo, Zagreb, and most recently, New Orleans. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb. She also held a work period at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam a.o. artist in residency programs. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

LA Artworks Studio Residency Program

Now's your chance to apply for a studio at Artworks for the 09-10 year. There's alot of info, so go to the website for all the details. "Area" residency applications (locals who want a studio for the year) are due April 15th. If you are out of the New Orleans area or out of state, applications are accepted year-round. While you are at the new and improved website you can see what workshops and art sessions are coming up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Take a gander at those art lofts!

Helen Hill screening

A TRIBUTE TO HELEN HILL screens Wednesday night, March 11th, as part of Representing Women, Women Representing: Experimental Film and New Media Colloquium March 9-13. Check out all the stuff that is screening!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

call to artists: 12x12x122 at BECA

(note: as of 10:00am CST on March 2, 2009, '12x12x122' has approximately 60 remaining spaces. The system is set up to stop accepting entries once all spaces are filled. We will then have a waitlist in the event that an exhibiting artist is unable to participate.)

12x12x122 Summer Show: The first 122 artists to enter will have their works exhibited (according to guidelines - actual work will not be accepted for delivery until the end of May).

Exhibition Dates: June 6, 2009 - July 18, 2009
Opening Reception: June 6, 2009 from 6pm-8pm

What: BECA gallery's 2009 Summer Show titled 12x12x122 is an experimental, gallery packed show of 488 unframed works on canvas sized 12x12 inches (30.5 cm x30.5 cm) at a stretcher depth of no more than 1.5 inches. Works need not be flat but all of it must be secure on the canvas and not extend beyond the 12x12 inches (30.5 cm x30.5 cm) size.

Where: BECA gallery, 527 St. Joseph Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Gallery Directors will choose up to 10 exhibiting artists to feature at www.becagallery.com) See website for more info!

Nadar’s Balloon, or: Modernism Inside-Out


A lecture by Carol Armstrong, Professor of the History of Art, Yale University
Monday, March 9, 2009
6:00 pm
Stone Auditorium [Room 210], Woldenberg Art Center
Tulane University

Reception following in Woodward Way.

This event is partially funded by the Center for Scholars of the School of Liberal Arts.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Screenings presented by PATOIS: the New Orleans Human Rights Film Festival

Note: Third Ward, TX is a documentary I saw a year or more ago at a conference. It's a look at Project Rowhouse's efforts to use art as a catalyst for community rebuilding - an interesting case study for New Orleanians.

Peace by Piece: Raising Awareness One Film at a Time
A documentary and speaker series featuring BREAKING NEWS on public housing and organizing against racism

THIRD WARD, TX and Guest Speaker STEPHANIE MINGO
Thursday, March 5, 6-9 pm
Film and discussion about housing with one of the leaders in the struggle for public housing in New Orleans. Stephanie will report on her trip to Washington THIS WEEK, where she spoke with members of congress about the need for public housing in New Orleans, 7 McAlister Dr., Freeman School of Business, Room 140

JENA 6 and Guest Speaker JESSE MUHAMMAD
Friday, March 6, 6-9 pm
Racial inequality and violence in rural Louisiana and the story of six families fighting for their sons' lives. Jesse is a journalist and activist, credited with bringing the story of the Jena 6 to national and international attention. Mr. Muhammad was instrumental in organizing efforts around the Jena 6 and is currently following a similar case in Paris, Texas.
Weinmann Hall, 6329 Freret Street Room 257

Free concessions will be available each night.
Co-presented by the Student Body Association's Public Interest Executive Committee at Tulane University Law School

printmaking workshop @ Louisiana Artworks

Louisiana ArtWorks is currently offering a "Large Format Woodcuts" printmaking workshop with instructor Blake Sanders. The Workshop will take place March 7th, 14th, and 21st from 12-6 PM.

Learn to make massive prints you can create in your own backyard. In large-format relief Blake Sanders will demonstrate the procedure for making really, really big woodcuts from increasing the scale of source imagery, to drawing and sealing the image, to cutting and printing in a limited workspace. Large reduction woodcuts will be created using traditional woodcut tools as well as alternative media and substrates. The resulting mammoth block will be printed by hand and by press on paper and fabric. All materials are provided.

Workshop will take place at the Louisiana ArtWorks building at 725 Howard Avenue, New Orleans, LA. Please call the office at (504) 571-7373 to register. Class size is limited to eight participants; enrollment fee is $350.00. 10% Discount available for students.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Part 2 NOCCA students respond to P.1: Monique Thomas on Fred Tomaselli


Like Beads on a String by Monique Thomas
Flipper, Abductor, and Hang Over
Fred Tomaselli
The U. S. Mint Louisiana State Museum

If art is a look into the artist’s view of the world, to experience it is to see as someone else sees—if only for a moment. Collagist Fred Tomaselli uses hundreds if not thousands of tiny magazine cutouts, Styrofoam shapes, leaves, and pills to create larger images which feel unworldly due to their enormous size, and which, through their vivid detail and color, redefine what is natural and beautiful. In Flipper, Tomaselli creates huge waves that overlap and intersect with each other, while maintaining symmetry across each of its three panels. Abductor depicts what seems to be a raging tornado either whipping through or exploding from the base of the piece, releasing hundreds of little pinwheels. Hang Over shows a tree overflowing with beads.
***
“All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist…. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.”

Tomaselli’s work is a new way of looking at the same old world. The quote above was taken from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, where the narrator describes how a group of aliens viewed time. This alien theory and Tomaselli’s work share the same all-inclusive theme—a breach of time and space that allows one to see everything in an instant, like a coil of “beads on a string” resting in your palm. Theoretically, the collage depicts hundreds of real life scenes (for example, I imagine a group of party-goers in a garden: butterflies and birds fluttering around them; jewels hanging from their necks, ears, wrists) that were cut apart and reorganized into the most elemental animal/vegetable/mineral categories, with hands in one section and flowers in another. In reality, one is still looking at the same images (everything present at that garden party is still there); things are just arranged differently.
Every “big picture” was ripped apart and pieced back together again in a way that makes sense, putting everything within quick sight and reach. There is an aspect of hoarding in the image—an obsession; it isn’t good enough to have just a few of anything. No, in order for things to be as they should be, one must gather all of one thing and all of another. You get the feeling that this was no casual endeavor. The plan was set, the materials gathered, and a new, meticulous reality was created.
This process is somewhat surrealist in that it takes elements of the real world and recombines or rearranges them to form a new reality—one that is different, but also logical in its own strange, indisputable way. Because this world is governed by a different logic, it must be judged by a different standard of beauty as well—one that prizes overwhelming symmetry and order. In Tomaselli’s universe, everything has a place. Stringed-together flowers or gems create a larger ribbon of similar forms and colors. Brightly-colored paints are used as glue, making connections where there were none. In this world, the natural (cutouts of leaves, butterflies, hands) combine with the man-made (painted-on dots and stars) to create a new reality in which the two coexist amiably—a recurring theme in his work.
There is also the illusion of coexistence; most of the time, each of his materials has its own lacquered plane. For example, there may be a layer of magazine cutouts, followed by a layer of geometric shapes, then a layer of paint. Though, in reality, these objects don’t share the same space, they are viewed as a whole—as one reality with one image.
I am reminded of an astrology book where a photograph of the night sky—bright with stars—is layered under a transparency that outlines a certain constellation. What other shapes—or lack thereof—would appear if one layer were peeled back? What other realities linger behind this one, somewhat incomplete?
***
The works have more similarities than differences. For example, all three pieces share a pitch black background keeping the focus on the image. However, in trying to put focus on something else, the background draws attention to itself; in reality, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to have anything as well-lit as the tree in Hang Over without illuminating the space beyond it as well. The images are like a pair of cartoon eyes after the lights go out: unusually and unrealistically clear.
Also, all three of the pieces chosen for the exhibit were created after Hurricane Katrina. Hang Over in particular captures the spirit of New Orleans’ most famous (or infamous) time of year: Mardi Gras. Among other things, the beads are made of hands, butterflies, and pills. You can almost feel the weight of each object on the tree, pulling at the otherwise empty branches. This raises a question: why is the tree depicted without leaves? It could be to allow the beads to stand out and not be cluttered with the unnecessary, but even so, the tree is left with an ominous look. Of the three, Hang Over has the largest single body of paint (the tree), drawing great attention to the swirls and colors of its bark. Because of the beads, its “leaflessness” isn’t noticeable at first, but the sense that something is wrong still persists—something, perhaps, that you can’t put your finger on until you notice it and realize: instead of growing out of the tree, life hangs from it.
The illusion that the image continues beyond the border of the work makes it easy to believe that this is only one of many leafless, bead-covered trees in the neighborhood; the black background makes it easy to believe that nothing else can or does exist in this world; and finally, the absence of life on the tree (combined with the abundance below it) makes it easy to believe that though the tree appears to be vibrant and full of life, it is actually just the opposite.
***
Tomaselli redefines reality by demonstrating the breadth of human capability. A work of this magnitude requires that the artist have a clear picture of what the finished product should look like before beginning. Sometimes the only way to prove something is possible is by doing it. I know I would have my doubts if I’d been asked if such a thing could be done.
In a New York Times article, Tomaselli is quoted as saying, “it is my ultimate aim to seduce and transport the viewer into [the] space of these pictures while simultaneously revealing the mechanics of that seduction.” The pieces work as semi-translucent mirrors through which objects, as well as one’s own reflection, can be seen. By recognizing why he likes the piece, the viewer discovers something about himself.

Part One: NOCCA students respond to P.1: Natasha Cox on Sanford Biggers


Not so Strange as “Stranger Fruit” by Natasha Cox
on Blossom by Sanford Biggers
The U.S. Mint Louisiana State Museum

Entitled Blossom, the Prospect.1 piece by Sanford Biggers was housed on the second floor landing of in The U.S. Mint Louisiana State Museum with no particular room or gallery to call its own: bathrooms to the right, elevators to the left. It stood at the crossroads of foot traffic, between the hallways and the entryways to other showrooms, seemingly an outcast, yet also somehow glorified in its solitude. Blossom, a piece of outlandish sculptural and musical presence, consisted of a baby-grand style player piano – a piano and all of the materials used in the crafting of a piano: plastic for the keys, polished wood for the smooth surfaces of the frame, the legs, and the lid, as well as tight ropes of metal cords stretched through the instrument’s belly.

As a whole, though, the piano was but a piece, a baseboard from which the truly culminant element was able to grow. And surely “grow” is the appropriate word to describe the sculpture of a mature, hearty tree “growing” up and through the piano, piercing the instrument, splintering the wood. The trunk of the tree (constructed with a steel frame and resin to form the meaty substance of the bark) shattered the piano’s inner organs, its soundboard and the frame for the bass and treble strings, and propped the lid askew against the trunk. But even after such a violent penetration and domination of nature, the piano still sang its clear and haunting melody – Biggers’ slowed down rendition of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” which he named “Stranger Fruit” – and delicate, green silk leaves tipped the tree’s outstretched branches, spotlights fixed to the ceiling illuminating the earthy brown and green colors like a ray of sunshine pushing through a thick canopy of forest leaves.

But to relate Blossom to the intrusion of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans, as suggested by the museum tour guide, seems a tenuous interpretation based solely on the piece’s current location. Should it be moved to a different city, even one as geographically and culturally near as Lafayette or Baton Rouge, the people might believe it to represent growth, destruction, fate, hope, love, or any other abstraction that can be tacked to a piece of art. How many years went by before the country forgot about Hurricane Camille? But because the piece is here, in this city, on this day, only three years after the devastation of Katrina, people automatically label it with the same label attached to everything else around here – nature moving to reclaim the world of man. Whether such a label was intended by the artist or not is irrelevant. The insult resides in the automatic assumption of said label.

A native of New Orleans (and therefore a Katrina evacuee/refugee), my first thought did not land on Katrina, and I was taken aback by the tour guide’s suggestion. Instead, something more magical and whimsical occurred to me – something not of the world of man but a world of an entirely different kind – of mysticism and imagination. Blossom is a piece configured with a more magical than logical disposition, far better suited for a Tolkienian forest than a white-walled art-space. And should it find itself more at home in fantasy rather than disaster, more fitted to such a forest, it would become no longer a stolid sculpture but a living, thriving organism. The woods where all of the trees seem to breathe, to possess a life and consciousness of their own simply by the immensity of their great trunks and the intricate twisting of their branches – twisting like a briar patch and just as thick, to block all sun and keep the forest floor in a constant, green-tinted shadow, and the thin leaves, deep green in the light and almost golden at night, that brush against each other and stir up a low murmuring whisper in the air.

This vision first struck me as that of a fairy tale, somewhere between Peter Pan and “Snow White,” Alice in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings – specifically that of The Lord of the Rings, as the name Tolkien has already been mentioned. So much of Tolkien’s work revolves around more arboreal elements. His creatures range from ents (ancient walking and talking trees) to elves (a race that lives amongst the trees). His elves sneak and sleep in the treetops with their green cloaks and long bows poised to defend their forest, speaking a language of their own – a soft, lyrical language – and in the blue-black of night the wind masks their whispers, a tune wafting lightly through the forest, barely reaching the elves’ keen ears. Somewhere through all the trees, through miles and miles of uninhabited woods, stands Blossom, the piano bench tipped carelessly over at the tree’s roots. But instead of appearing neglected and abandoned, as anything else left to rot in the wilderness, the piano shines, its lacquer smooth and polished as if just on a stage, glinting with the moonlight that barely makes it through the ceiling of leaves. Fantasy, just a stroke of the unreal in a very real world.

And Blossom’s piano did shine, even in the white-walled hallway.

Is it a strange argument, that Blossom, just as any other piece of art, doesn’t necessarily represent Katrina? Strange down here, at any rate, along the Gulf where the only thought seems to be of the storm, for good reasons certainly. Much of the population is still shell-shocked from the traumatic event. But the question is, how long is too long? As an artist I would be offended if so much baggage of so many people fell at my feet unrequested and, as I thought, unprovoked. Alas, I do not know Biggers or his motives for provocation. I only know that the world of art has to mean more than only Hurricane Katrina. . .


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fundraising time of the year

Spring is here and several galleries are currently holding fundraisers to pull out of this dry post-P.1 spell. Right now, you can purchase a ticket from BECA Gallery for a chance to win a photograph by London based artists Maslen & Mehra; The Front is offering chances to win a drawing by Paul Chan; Good Children is currently soliciting for a "Everything Must Go" affair, opening March 14th - email Jessica@jessicabizer.com if you can donate to the cause; and Antenna is up next. All of these new places are basically operating by the sweat of many brows- yes, it gets a bit humid - so if you've been enjoying the new arts scene, please consider chipping in- we sure would appreciate it!

Lisa Yuskavage: A Lecture


Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 7:00 pm, 2009 Sandra Garrard Memorial Lecture
Freeman Auditorium, Woldenberg Art Center, Tulane University
Reception immediately following in Woodward Way.

Moving between the triad of the female body, the gaze and the female soul, Ms. Yuskavage has cultivated a terrain of rich and disturbing ambiguities, making works that can be both tender and astoundingly harsh. She has been aided in this endeavor by her devotion to a second triad, that of light, color and flesh as they can be conveyed by the plasticity of oil paint.
--Roberta Smith, The New York Times, 2001

While working, I allow all kinds of things to run through my head: dirty little songs, the passage about peeing in the bed in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist, corny moments from a Shirley Temple movie, or the light in a Giovanni Bellini painting. Some of it’s base, some of it’s elegant. It’s a Frankensteinian way of putting a painting together. The parts of the corpse come from different bodies.
-- Lisa Yuskavage, “Chuck Close Talks With Lisa Yuskavage,” 1996

For more information, see her gallery's website or contact:
************************************
Laura Richens,Curator, Carroll Gallery
Newcomb Art Department, Woldenberg Art Center, Tulane University
New Orleans, LA 70118
phone: 504.314.2228

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Morbid Anatomy Cabinet : Call for works/Barrister's Gallery

Note from curator Joanna Ebenstein, plus the "Morbid Anatomy" blog is wow
Andy Antippas and I are working on putting together an exhibition at Barrister's Gallery in New Orleans to open on May 9th. The title will be "The Morbid Anatomy Cabinet." The exhibition will consist of a lively cabinet-like clutter of objects as well as photographs of privately held "personal cabinets"--idiosyncratic museum-like collections owned by individuals rather than institutions and housed in apartments, homes, and studies around the United States and England. Objects, artifacts, installation, and other 3-D works are especially of interest.
To get a sense of the kind of work we are seeking to fill our cabinet with, here is the full title of the blog from which the cabinet will take its character-- "Morbid Anatomy: Examining the Interstices of Art and Medicine, Death and culture"--and here are some adjectives: anatomical, 19th Century, hysteria, specimens, natural history, teratology, macabre history, art/science, reliquaries, death, freaks, old science, phrenology, taxidermy, taxonomy, the encyclopedic impulse, waxworks, antiquated forms of seeing and showing, magic lanterns, panorama, diorama, curious objects, bones, bell jars, the melancholy, old lunatic asylums, things in jars, the "pathological sublime", antiquated photographic methods, shrines, cabinets of curiosity, devices of wonder, collections, exotica, the sacred/profane, ephemera. memento mori, funerary art and iconography. You know, that sort of thing—real objects or invented and imaginary objects.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions: joanna@astropop.com or Aantippas@aol.com. You may submit jpegs of work to both of us and we will exercise a certain amount of curatorial judgment on the execution and appropriateness of the works. Conceptual projects should be detailed out. No work will be accepted after Saturday, April 25th.
www.astropop.com
Phone: 718-788-5745 504 710 4506

renewal of Art Writers Grant Program

Arts Writers Grant Program Announces 2008 Grants and Five-Year Renewal of Program

The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program is pleased to announce the grantees for the final round of its three-year pilot phase. We are also pleased to announce the renewal of the Arts Writers Grant Program for a five-year period. The 2009 grant cycle will open for submissions on April 27, 2009. Please see the website for more info and application information.

"Street Art, Part I: The Mark"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009
7:00 PM
Louisiana ArtWorks, 725 Howard Avenue at Carondelet
"Street Art, Part I: The Mark"- the first of two panels dealing with this exciting topic. Street artists' work can be found on buildings, railway cars, on streets, in tunnels, and other incidental places. At what point do we define something as "art", beyond the popular definition? Artists Michael De Feo, Michael Dingler, Dan Witz, and Gabriel Flores will engage in a discussion moderated by Mia Kaplan, Co-owner of Ammo Gallery.
info@louisianaartworks.org

Satellites of love

As the memory of all the art activities of the preceding months slowly fade (like nearly being trampled by a chic, black clad matron in an art seeing frenzy at the entrance to one of KK Projects’ buildings. To think we had that dizzying thrill in our little backwater burg), it might be time to look through the dust and see what we are left with. Although the economic downturn made it a tough premiere for P.1, I think few question its qualitative success and its positive affect on the city. But I am particularly interested in how it affected the new orleans art makers and promoters.
Was there a palpable increase in sales, invitations to be in international art shows, and coverage in international art publications?

I’m reminded of a story I heard about a certain nyc art critic who wandered into an artist’s studio at Colton Studios. She asked them if they were prospect 1 artists. Truth Sayers that they are, they said they weren’t. Without bothering to take a look at the unsanctioned work around her, she left. I noticed many groups of art tourists come into Universal and make a beeline to the Pierre & Gilles room with barely a glance at the local work on the way in or out. Now, I haven’t been to many biennials (and certainly not to one spread throughout a city), so perhaps I don’t know all the survival tricks of biennial behavior. There is a lot of work on display, and if you have little time, perhaps the only way to keep your eyes and feet from bleeding is to stick to the proscribed path. You’ll never make it to market if you don’t follow the herd.

Which leads me to my completely informal poll on the effects of the biennial on local artists and the visual arts in nola. I’m interested in hearing actual experiences, as well as feelings, intuition, and hearsay.

contributed by david

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Inside Art New Orleans

D. Eric Bookhardt's got a blog, if you haven't seen it yet, check it out:
Called Inside Art New Orleans, it's another outlet for his criticism, with much nicer images than print allows, and great links.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Calendar for Studio at Colton

The listings of classes and other ways to participate in the Studios at Colton is impressive - see the calendar here.

call from Percent for Art, LDOA

The LSU Recreational Center is looking for existing large scale sculptures and large scale wall pieces that can be installed in an outdoor area. Email images and scale to Kitty Pheney by March 2nd. Information is needed asap. Images for proposed works that could be fabricated and installed by June of this year will also be accepted.
Please email if you have any questions. The budget is $33,182 which may allow more than one purchase.

Kitty Pheney-Suhayda
kpheney@crt.state.la.us
Percent For Art, Director of Program Administration
Louisiana Division of the Arts
1051 N. Third Street - Room 420
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
225.342.8182
225.342.8173 Fax

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

it was past due,

inevitable, even? Art shanty chic hits the pages of the NYT's Style section...help me, somebody. My first impulse is cynicism, but the artists got some press...and got some nice photos of "viewers" interacting with their art, and I guess it's a plug for the new orleans art scene...??

Monday, February 16, 2009

To be called a “difficult artist,” or, censorship is not about nudity

Note: Thank you to Jessica for writing about this experience - it's important for local artists to know this happens, to notice when it doesn't happen, and to understand the options artists have in the local community.

by Jessica Goldfinch www.jessicagoldfinch.com

I found myself on the verge of being censored again. At least the proposal was made that some of my artwork should be taken down, that it might be seen as “offensive, vulgar or graphic in nature” and may “not be appropriate” for some viewers. I was handed a contract to sign unlike any other I have seen, one that made the content of my work the gallery director’s responsibility. The gallery director, a friend of mine, was shaken and worried that she might get fired. Mind you, this was a gallery at a college, a higher-learning institution. I wondered who they wanted to protect from my images. Don’t we all have the world at our fingertips via the internet and can’t we conjure up anything we wish to see? And isn’t the function of a college gallery to expose different kinds of contemporary artwork to students as a learning tool?
There is no obscenity warning before you walk into a room of Old Masters’ paintings of nudes. On the other hand, contemporary artists like Lucian Freud, Robert Mapplethorpe and Joel-Peter Witkin usually have a “due to the graphic nature” warning on the gallery door. They all depict naked bodies, so what is the difference? Are nudes from some centuries less naked then others? Do the artists use different paint? What is it that makes one artist “offensive” and another not? After much thought I have concluded that it is not nudity in artwork that is considered offensive. It is the non-idealized figure, the humanized, un-airbrushed depiction of real life that is deemed inappropriate by some viewers.
Conceptually my work explores the physical, biological nature of our bodies in relation to our own mortality. I grew up in the real world and not some sugar-coated version of it, and I still live in that world. Humans are complex and have imperfections and I believe that instead of hiding our defects and letting them eat away at us we should embraced those imperfections and live with them because they are part of us. Imperfections are what make us individuals; if we were all perfect, we would all be exactly the same. Our imperfections are also reminders that we are mortal, reminders of the vulgar fact that one day we may become sick, useless and unnecessary. It is this path to oblivion, the reminder of death and suffering, that offends some people. This is the graphic nature referred to in the warning on the gallery door.
So for this exhibition I was placed in the position of
a. Taking down the “offensive” pieces, thus compromising my artistic vision
b. Taking down all my work and not having the show
c. Neither, and have my gallery-director friend worry about losing her job

Learning from Freud, Lucien that is, I suggested a compromise in the form of a warning at the door. The sign went up, the opening was packed, teachers assigned essays on the show, classes were brought to view the work and opinions were offered, discussion ensued. This is what a college gallery is meant to be. Unfortunately my friend has since resigned as director, a loss not just for her personally but for the students of the collage and for our community at large. She had enough wisdom and bravery to try and truly educate and allow students to decide for themselves the vast questions about art and meaning.
As for me, I don’t want to make pretty pictures; I want to make you think. If in doing so I have to lure you away from your safety zone, unsettle your emotions and beckon you into my graphic nature, then so be it. I aspire to investigate the tension between the beautiful and the disturbing as a metaphor for life, because without true sorrow we can never find true happiness. Artists choose what to make their art about; I make mine about the question of what it means to be human, and ultimately, I think that what unsettles viewers most about my work is that I don’t answer that question. If this is what it means to be a “difficult artist” then I will embrace that mark as I do my other so-called imperfections. Because my work provokes thought, because I choose to question this mortal coil rather than deny it or idealize it, I think I will always have that warning sign put on that gallery door.

"By Invitation Only" free screening tonight

Loyola University New Orleans Office of Co-curricular Programs is hosting a screening of "By Invitation Only" on Monday evening. Rebecca Snedeker will be there to present the film and for discussion following the screening. Please join us and/or spread to news to friends. The screening is free and open to the public.

Date: Monday, February 16
Time: 7pm
Location: Satchmo's Lounge, the Danna Student Center
For more info about the film: www.byinvitationonlythefilm.com

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

from Alvar Arts

Greetings, all.
For next Tuesday's presentation of Alvar Arts, we will host Artopsy,a discussion of Prospect.1 and its effect on the local art and performance scene. Please come and share your stories and experiences.

Tuesday, February 17 at 7 p.m.
Alvar Library, 913 Alvar Street
Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP by responding to this email or by calling John Costa at 256-4435.
We hope you will join us!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

studio space residency - BECA

BECA gallery + studio | New Orleans will begin portfoilio reviews in February for a new Studio Space Residency to begin in April. Local and visiting artists + designers are eligible to apply. Sponsors are being sought to assist those artists + designers who need financial assistance in order to participate. Please visit the website to contact.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Part 4 NOCCA Students respond to P.1: Daniel Hoppes on Skylar Fein

A Punk with Spunk by Daniel Hoppes
on Remember the Upstairs Lounge by Skylar Fein
Contemporary Arts Center

What is so appealing about “a punk with spunk”? That phrase is faded into one of the photos hung on the wall in Skylar Fein’s Prospect.1 installation Remember the Upstairs Lounge, a piece inspired by the New Orleans Upstairs Lounge which was burned down in 1973. The piece is composed of an entrance alcove, a hallway, a large rectangular room, and an exit. All around the main room are enlarged photographs of blurred punk rockers, aged wood signage advertising adult-male bookstores and depicting numerous homosexual symbols, and lit-up bar signs. Though Fein sets the various pieces up democratically so none takes precedence, for me a certain portrait stands out.

This particular picture, “A Punk with Spunk,” shows a punk rocker wearing nothing but the leather briefs that his hands are unbuttoning to reveal his bushy pubes. Near his thigh a shirt lies rumpled on what may be a stool. The photo’s blurred like an old newspaper. The punk stands mid-canvas, with an undefined gray-black background making him appear as the only thing existing. Remembering the photo, my image of him expands: I see him on a stage when there’s a spotlight shining on him while noisy music and the loud cries of fans envelop him. Godlike, confident, he’s just looking down to where his hands are reaching, intoxicated in the exuberant roar. Standing there, he seems beyond reality though centered in it. From the softly pouted look of his lips, we gather that he’s quite serious here, truly experiencing what he does. However, just the fact that there’s silver metal studding his underwear reveals this moment to be in some way artificial. It’s like he clothes himself in illusions if only just so he can charmingly strip for us.

What separates this punk with spunk from those represented elsewhere in the piece is foremost how sweetly serious he looks. We can understand this distinction clearly if we compare his to the portraits of the four other punks, who often flash a self-parodying camp that detracts from their sincerity, as one punk unsubtly does by exuding such an excess of gusto in ripping his t-shirt you kind of doubt his earnestness. As we can see from the numerous photos in the hall leading into the main room, the Upstairs Lounge thrived in a time when homosexuals lived in un-gentrified subcultures filled with teasing illusions, elusive gestures, secret meetings, outrageous outfits, costumes for the everyday, glory holes, and restrictions (sodomy was illegal in Louisiana until a 2003 Supreme Court case) that spawned both an inventive subtlety and a cocky swagger.

Outside in the hall are colorful photos of the Upstairs Lounge’s patrons. There’s a certain sweetness inherent in them, signs of playful handlers in illusion: a lone smiling sixteen-year-old sailor, a boisterous transvestite get-together, two men grinning next to one another. Yet nothing there is as raw as “A Punk with Spunk.” We get the impression that the people in these photos, sipping martinis, sprawling on couches, looking worn and almost jaded, have become entrenched in the illusions they cultivate and that these illusions have become a reality as enduring as that of suburbanites who understand to be real the delusions brought out under the asphyxia from a choking white collar.

Fein draws attention to the discrepancy between art (and illusion) and reality throughout his piece. The velvet curtain draped over the entrance hangs like a fortune teller’s plastic beads, a border between the rest of the museum and the rendered bar you’re entering. Walking in you feel an odd coziness that compels you to sign the guestbook. You become introverted listening to the soft music coming from the speakers overhead, and notice there’s a deep maroon wallpaper with steadily repeating arabesques, that you don’t yet realize has the same design as that which covered the Upstairs Lounge’s walls. But the coziness isn’t permanent because right behind fiberglass— the second thing you see after a cheap poster portraying a teary-eyed man in a fishnet shirt gazing up at a smoking building—is a sign that only vaguely prepares you for the upcoming horrors. The sign starts us off simply: it shows a burning building and delivers the anecdote of a woman out to buy cigarettes for her husband when she smells smoke across the street.

When you turn into the hallway at left, you’re forced to make a quick decision of whether to first examine the buoyant photos of the bar’s patrons on the right, or on the left to inspect the images of charred corpses and barstools. The glee of the patrons represented in those first pictures, and the fact many of them were burnt alive, contrasts harshly with both the grainy reproductions of old newspaper articles telling of arson in the Upstairs Lounge and the coroner’s list of 32 dead.
There’s this sort of duality present everywhere in Fein’s installation. Here, on the right, you have illusion and on the left reality (by which I here mean death, utter honesty, the destruction of illusions or contentment).

Wooden slats line the hall walls much as the actual bar’s walls must have been lined, except this paneling rises only about ten feet before the solid whiteness of the standard museum wall disrupts the effect. A fine line literally divides the art and the reality.

This you wouldn’t notice at first since you’ve probably stopped to skim the news clippings and eye the photos, set there almost like concert fliers in a stairwell. Add to this distraction the music and an anxiety to get into the actual bar you suppose exists behind the swinging doors at the end of the hall—where maybe you’ll find the cheery patrons of the bar alive and waiting—then, only once you notice the metal lamp flickering just above your head and trace its cord to see it’s suspended from a rather high plastered white ceiling, will you understand again that this is a museum and not the bar or tomb or whatever it is you imagine you’re inside.

It’s the same within the main room except there, behind the swinging doors, Fein amplifies the dissonance. As soon as Fein creates an illusion, he destroys it.
Here, the walls are a blank white, the museum’s standard. The wooden paneling stops at the door and there is no wallpaper or any covering to sustain the illusion that this is a barroom, yet somehow it feels as such. Fein groups the photos, signage, signs, and other works in bunches throughout the room, often collaging various pieces together so they fit like a puzzle trying to coalesce; however, the white wall shows blank between them. Everything collected here seems sparse as if these were the salvaged remains of the Upstairs Lounge, even though most items, as with the music, clearly originated in a more contemporary time. There’s one piece actually recovered from the bar, a small statue of a Hercules with muscles bulging out from under a scant lion skin, and even this in some way is not real since the statue is a replica of a much older work.

The ceiling lower, uncovered electrical wires line its wood structuring and light bulbs shine directly on the series of painting-sized photos that portray some punks. Drawing attention to the museum’s ceiling, Fein has one of these photos, that of a spiky-haired punk, with a clown’s white-smeared face and dark recesses for eyes, raised up apart from the rest, with an open mouth screaming near the divide.
Each of these effects and juxtapositions contributes to the feeling of an austere and lonely bar, except there are neither chairs nor alcohol. Obviously, this is a very different experience than going to the Upstairs Lounge forty years ago. Fein creates an uneasy yet oddly comforting atmosphere. Disturbed, you feel at home. It’s like all that’s missing are those chairs.

Besides the floor, if you want to sit and prolong the experience, the only place you can go is in the corner behind another curtain covering a lone photo-booth, where you can watch a news clip of when the real bar was incinerated.

On the night of the fire, a Sunday night, the Upstairs Lounge was hosting a beer chugging contest which much of the community attended, even a pastor. As opposed to Fein’s installation, the atmosphere in the actual bar would fuse more easily into an uninterrupted unity. The presence of the bartender and the other drinkers help to create this effect by lulling you deep enough into the harmony that the illusions would begin to offer some sort of comfort as a permanent or perfect reality. But since life resists any crystallization, the security you sense couldn’t last. And a frequent result of illusions beginning to feel immutable is that the open playfulness is lost, causing you to not be ready when something discordant does eventually stir you from this harmony, and subsequently you may cringe to realize the sequined dress and boa you wear have turned out to be less a costume than a drunken longing for escape.

Alternately, if you have succumbed to an overly destructive stance so that the illusions flicker at best and you find it impossible to sustain your grip on them—or else some other problem inherent to you prevents your properly participating, it’d be useless going to the Upstairs Lounge since the bar is already ruined for you and has lost even the comfort of a temporary escape. You can only stutter, unsure whether from the morbidity of being surrounded by so many blind ones dumbly clutching at what they think they is true or from an insecurity in witnessing such a surplus of skilled actors at work. Life soon becomes unbearable as if all that ever surrounds you are blank walls and mimes.

Only someone like a punk with spunk, who’s got both the best of clothes and a chiseled nudity, who’s forever donning and undressing, could have gone to the bar forty years ago and experienced a truer transcendence akin to that of Skylar Fein’s installation. Conscious of the discrepancy between art and reality, this punk with spunk accepts art and illusions, he plays and is a resourceful playmate who, when a dissonant reality tries to clamber over the walls of his fort, cleverly opens the gate and somehow subsumes it, though never not concurrently being witty, impish, wry enough to strip himself and others, to expose an un-resented nakedness.

However, largely due to the absolute rarity of his kind, it’s unlikely that a true punk with spunk was present on the night of the fire. Hours before the bar became an inferno, the prime suspect for the arson, Roger Nunez, was giggling in a bathroom stall, fiddling around with a glory hole, although no one rose or bent to meet his glory. Nunez, an out-of-work hustler, not joining the festivities outside, was little more than an annoyance to the customers who only wanted to relieve their bladders and get back to drinking; eventually the bartender evicted him. Confronted, his earlier anxious teasing evaporated, revealing the bitter isolation beneath. While being thrown out, he hollered, fussing about how they were all a bunch of idiots, threatening the bar’s existence and revenge. But, when stuttering Nunez was removed, the patrons continued to chug, ignoring the threats and the possibility of danger entering their sanctuary, until about an hour afterwards when someone torched the bar.

Some customers, sobering up, ran for the door while others found themselves trapped in corners, hugging the barred windows, hemmed in by flames. Thirty-two died, some charred so badly they’re still unidentified, and Nunez followed, committing suicide two years later.

Art is and isn’t an escape: it isn’t because it transports you into the concentrated core of existence, where life comes most intense, and it is because our distance from that heart is precisely what we long to escape. At least as long he’s prying into his underwear, this punk with spunk, we feel, is living in the core of it.

The art of this installation allows a transcendence, but more as an inspiration or a taste than an actuality, one that can only fulfill momentarily since Skylar Fein’s Remember the Upstairs Lounge, like the real Upstairs Lounge, no longer exists.

Part 3 NOCCA students respond to P.1: Angelica Robinson on Leandro Erlich


A Hopeful Structure by Angelica Robinson
Window and Ladder—Too Late For Help
Leandro Erlich
Lower Ninth Ward

We were on a field trip, riding around on a yellow bus and stopping at numerous Prospect 1 sites in the Lower Ninth Ward. We would stop at one site, look at it, take notes, take pictures and briefly discuss the piece of artwork. At the time I couldn’t really focus on what was in front of me. A couple of weeks earlier my Creative Writing instructors sat me down to discuss my grades. They informed me that I was failing. I had an F average in my test grades, which brought my overall grade down to C- average. If I didn’t bring my grade up by the end of the semester I would be kicked out of my arts school, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. I knew what the problem was. I hated reading the books that we were assigned and also had a part time job. I had been having these problems for quite some time, but I just always came through some how and slid by.

None of the Prospect 1 sites truly interested me and I began to become restless. The bus stopped again and we all got out again. As I walked closer the piece, it slowly began to capture me. A ladder floated with a window attached to it. It had a magical quality. The window looked like it was all that was left of a home, a brick house. The piece signified hope for me. It made me realize that I would actually have a way out of my problem.

The piece was titled Window and Ladder--Too Late for Help. The man responsible for the sculpture was Argentine artist, Leandro Erlich. I read this information from a green and white sign that I had chose to ignore earlier on. The sign also told what the piece was made of: a metal ladder, a fiberglass brick wall and an invisible aluminum frame, which was hidden beneath patches of grass. The frame made it possible for the ladder and window to stand. The sculpture didn’t stand straight, instead, it was slanted. This made the ladder appear to be struggling as it held up the window, which didn’t seem probable because the window is made of fiberglass. The bottom rung of the ladder was removed, to decrease the temptation to climb it, but I doubt that most spectators even realized this.

The location of a piece does influence the way it is viewed. Window and Ladder –Too Late For Help, was located between where the Levee wall of the Industrial Canal broke and the brightly colored, contemporary Make It Right homes, a Brad Pitt rebuilding project. Slabs of concrete, -- the porches and foundations of pre-existing homes – surrounded it. The dried straw-like grass and disconnected pieces of homes overshadow the rebuilding but they reinforce the idea of the piece.

As I talked to various people who have seen the Prospect 1 piece, none of them shared the same metaphorical meaning of the piece as me. When I talked to one of my instructors, she brought the political meaning to my attention. Although I didn’t share the same idea, I could understand why one would relate the sculpture to Hurricane Katrina and it explained the title of the piece. But it had more a hopeful meaning for me. In my life it represented hope whereas the title of the piece actually stated “Too Late for Help.”

Looking at art is just like reading a book or listening to a song. We all are experiencing the same thing, but we come out with different opinions.

The window is hope, the ladder and its rungs are all the steps and obstacles I had to over come to get where I needed to go. The strength of the platform underneath the surface made me think of the strength that I didn’t know I had, the hidden strength beneath the surface. The structure seemed to be weak, but once you got close to it, shook it, tugged it a bit; you realized it couldn’t be moved.

Part 5 NOCCA students respond to P.1: Amber Lyons on Beatriz Milhazes


Kaleidoscope Eyes by Amber Lyons
Gamboa by Beatriz Milhazes
The U. S. Mint Louisiana State Museum

“Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world,
for I would ride with you upon the wind
and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”
– The Land of Heart’s Desire by William Butler Yeats

Often as a child I found myself day dreaming about an empty hardwood floor stage, flooded with bright warm lights before a sold out audience. Perfectly poised with pointed toes, I am graceful, the music and my body acting as one. Lilac chiffon skirt layers drape over my sculpted legs, the magenta nylon/spandex leotard a disposable layer of skin over my chest and torso. Freshly bloomed pink rose ribbons and slippers—an image of grace. In these dreams I am a Prima ballerina assoluta. Of course, I realized that I will never be a Prima ballerina assoluta or even a ballerina because I lack the grace and poise, not meeting the height requirement by a foot and two inches. Never has this subject been more painful then when I first looked upon Gamboa by Beatriz Milhazes.

Originally constructed as a two dimensional piece of set design for her sister’s ballet company, Milhazes took advantage of her part in Prospect 1 to try her hand at creating a three dimensional piece. “New Orleans was always about the vitality, the dancing and the music. So I link it — the carnival in New Orleans with the Carnaval in Rio [Brazil]. It will make this kind of dialogue between two cities,” Milhazes told the New York Times. Using the set design as a point of reference, she went about making her acrylic and oil dream into a tangible reality. The piece, constructed of crystals, cardboard, ribbons, iron, beads, plastic, sparkling sequins, fake flowers, terry cloth hair bands, and oversized Christmas ornaments, takes up the entirety of the room in which it is displayed. Gamboa made the childish, fanciful ballerina inside of me want to dance between the strands of beads and plastic orbs dotted with opaque neon dots.

“All children, except one, grow up” – Peter Pan by James M. Barrie

When no one was around I crawled underneath the piece, just for a moment, looking up into the center of the white iron frame, a circular hole the size of a basketball. The center hole was surrounded by widening concentric circles. Each row of circles was separated from the last by a thick white line. Beneath the frame and attached ornaments I felt as safe as a child nestled inside of a wooden crib looking up at a mobile of stars, sleepy in the comfort that everything would be okay. Reluctantly I crawled out from the comfort of the mobile and off the cold concrete floor.

Lines of small gold and silver beads, reminiscent of beads thrown from floats at Carnival, fall from the iron host until connecting with targets or flowers or luminescent circles of gold or white circles with bright neon spirals. At the end of some of these strands are small pink or white crystals varying in size from tear drops to jewels the size of a child’s palm. Some scores of beads contain just one large fixture, such as a large flat gold orb. While others possess a few ornaments, for instance two plastic flowers: one pink and one purple sewn together. Beneath them is a small plastic white bulb incased by a hot pink terry cloth hair tie. Underneath that is another just like it but the hair tie is sea-foam green. The strand finally ends in a white cardboard circle that houses a spiral design made by yellow sparkling dots. Each ornament is connected by a few beads. Like fingerprints or snowflakes, no two lines are the same.

Everything but the iron frame of Gamboa felt disposable and cheap separately, but became beautiful and priceless when combined. How many Mardi Gras beads are given to little girls to play dress up with or cut up and used in Kindergarten art projects?

“Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.”
- Lennon/McCartney

A good portion of Milhazes’ work is large, bright, and bold on canvas using colors prevalent in Carnival celebration, psychedelia, and common favorite colors of little girls. Gamboa was a bit of a departure, in that it also employed a cornucopia of colors such as gold, blue, red, purple, black and in more varied tones, some with glitter and some without. Natural, sparkly, and neon colors give off a feeling of tenderness and delight that can easily be found in a group of four year old girls having a tea party with stuffed animals as dates or pretend fussy children. Gamboa provided Milhazes the opportunity to make her abstract visions into a tangible form of reality.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Urban Bush Women at Tulane


Thursday, February 5th 7:00pm
Free performance of "Shelter" and "Batty Moves" by the internationally-acclaimed dance company Urban Bush Women at Dixon Hall, Tulane University, presented by Junebug Productions and Newcomb College Institute.

Friday, February 6th 7:00pm
Urban Bush Women are teaching a free community dance class at McWilliams Hall, Rm. 300, Tulane University. No registration necessary. All ages welcome. Come ready to move!

Saturday, February 7th 10:00pm
Come unwind and party with the Urban Bush Women at the McKenna Museum, 2003 Carondelet St. Soulful sounds provided by "theDynamiteDaveSoul." $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Hosted by the 7th Ward Neighborhood Center and Urban Bush Women. For more information, call (504) 373-5117.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Annie See-On Shaw, Tulane University, Feb 2nd

You are invited to a presentation by artist Annie See-On Shaw on Monday, Feb. 2 in Stone Auditorium at 6:30pm.

Shaw creates environments, situations, videos, and installations of everyday objects. Her work often deals with disparities among commercial, sentimental, aesthetic and personal notions of value.

Shaw is known for organizing the five-year project series "Leefahsalung at the New China Town Barber Shop" located in what had been a community business for more than sixty years in Los Angeles' Chinatown. The series focused on works where process, collaboration, and public participation were paramount. Most recently, for her solo exhibition at Monte Vista, Los Angeles, she used the social mechanisms of the Mega Millions Lottery to explore how money and class are manifested geographically in Los Angeles and New York.

Monday, January 26, 2009

from LA Artworks: GYST - Ink and Studio Residency Program

Don't forget to join us tomorrow evening at 6:30 PM for the January 27th convening session, open to all artists. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to voice specific concerns centering on artists' futures beyond the Prospect.1 Biennial. We will be discussing possible professional career development opportunities here at Louisiana ArtWorks, including a workshop with Karen Atkinson of GYST-Ink, an organization dedicated to empowering and educating artists. We welcome your input regarding what resources would be most useful. We will also talk about the application process for the upcoming 2009-2010 Studio Residency Program. Meeting will be held at Louisiana ArtWorks, 725 Howard Avenue at Carondelet.
We look forward to seeing you there!

The Louisiana ArtWorks Team
T: (504) 571-7373
F: (504) 571-7368
www.louisianaartworks.org

Saturday, January 24, 2009

BECA portfolio reviews

BECA gallery + studio | New Orleans will begin portfolio reviews in February for a new Studio Space Residency to begin in April. Local and visiting artists + designers are eligible to apply. Sponsors are being sought to assist those artists + designers who need financial assistance in order to participate. Please visit http://www.becagallery.com/links.php?49889 to contact.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shirin Neshat talk Jan 30th

February Printmaking Workshops at Louisiana ArtWorks

February 1; 10am-5pm
Alternative Printmaking: Xerox/Photocopy Transfers
Instructor: Kathryn Hunter
Fee: $105

Turn drawings, photographs, digital illustrations, or collage into a print. The Xerox transfer printmaking process is a lithography style printing method, using an etching press. The results can be spontaneous and surprising. Participants will be able to experiment and print an edition of prints during class. Transfers print well on many different kinds of paper as well as fabric.


February 7th; 12-4pm
Printing in the Kitchen: Screenprinting for Beginners
Instructor: Brad Benischek
Fee: $60

Using drawing fluid and screen filler, participants will learn a simple and direct method for creating original screen prints anywhere. Prints made with drawing fluid have a unique and spontaneous look because they are painted directly onto the screen. Filler, drawing fluid and screens are provided though students can bring references for their own imagery and a variety of materials to print on such as cloth, wallpaper or other reclaimed paper.


Alternative Methods Series
Instructors: Josh and Emily Minnie

This three week series of classes will explore alternative techniques within three distinct printmaking disciplines: monoprinting, lithography and drypoint intaglio.
Due to the alternative nature of all three classes, anyone from novice to expert printmakers will find these classes a great addition to their artistic repertoir. Participation in all three classes is encouraged but not required. Each class will introduce new methods that may be used on their own or in conjunction with the methods from another class.

Feb 14th; 12-6pm
Alternative Methods in Monoprint / Screen Print
Fee: $90

This class will introduce students to the basic principals of monoprinting followed by a quick jump into alternative methods creating bright and colorful imagery that may either be used as the foundation for future work or stand on its own as a work of art. Students will also learn monoprint / screen print techniques to create one of a kind, colorful imagery using a screen print stencil.

Feb. 21st; 12-6pm
Alternative Methods in Lithography
Fee: $90

For this class, if you are a lithographic novice you are already one step ahead because you will need to throw out everything you think you know about lithography! Students will use alternative materials such as Xerox photocopies, sheets of polyester paper, printer toner, and Sharpie markers to create multi-layer and multi-colored lithographic images. Prints created in this class may be digital or hand drawn in nature. These alternative lithography methods work well on their own...or make outstanding additions to the previously monoprinted grounds created during week 1's class.

Feb. 28th; 12-6pm
Alternative Methods in Dry Point and Intaglio Printing
Fee: $90

This class will introduce students to the basic practice of Intaglio printing. However, instead of using traditional copper and zinc plates, we will be experimenting with alternative substrates such as chip mat board, paper glued to mat board, plexi glass, wood and used aluminum plates. Once again imagery created in this class will work well as finished works of art... or make a beautiful addition to the previously printed work created during the classes of week 1 or week 2.

This program is supported by the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and a grant from the Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Southern Arts Federation meeting at Ashe

The Louisiana Division of the Arts has invited Nikki Estes, Presenting and Touring Director from the Southern Arts Federation (SAF) to meet with Louisiana artists and presenting organizations from across the state of Louisiana.

Ms. Estes will provide an overview of the Southern Arts Federation and their services ˆ specifically the NEA/SAF Regional Touring Grant and the Performing Arts Exchange. In addition, Naomi Cordill of the Louisiana Presenters Network will provide an overview of the Network and the services they offer, along with the new online touring directory.

New Orleans Area Presentations
Thursday, January 22
Ashe Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
New Orleans, LA
2:00 to 3:30
Free!

St Tammany
Thursday, January 22
Parish Council Chambers
21490 Koop Dr
Mandeville, LA
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Alvar Art Night

Second Anniversary Party, Tuesday, January 20, 7-9pm

Fashion designer Tracy Thomson gives an overview of the industry
Free, Refreshments served

Alvar Library, 913 Alvar St., 596.2667

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gambit reinstates "Inside Art" - message from Eric Bookhardt

Dear Art Lovers,

I am pleased to announce that weekly art reviews will soon be returning to
Gambit newspaper. Some will be in smaller lengths than before, but full length reviews will still appear when possible.
This is a very difficult and transitional time in the newspaper industry,
but Gambit publisher Margo Dubos and editor Kevin Allman recognize the importance the New Orleans art community places on regular weekly reviews and have responded with extraordinary graciousness and compassionate generosity. Consequently, we owe it to them to do everything in our power to support them in this difficult time. So lets offer our heartfelt THANKS to Margo and Kevin, and all of the wonderful folks at Gambit, for this and all they have done for New Orleans and its artists over the years. They are truly great supporters of this city and its arts community!

Eric Bookhardt

PS: Any messages of thanks and support should be sent to
response@gambitweekly.com, as that is the only authorized email address for public correspondence purposes.

Franklin Adams: A Retrospective at Tulane


exhibition dates: January 15 – February 13, 2009
opening reception: Thursday, Jan. 15th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

curated by Carol Leake

This exhibition will include drawings, sculpture, watercolors, assemblages, and works in various other media by Franklin Adams, who taught in the Newcomb Art Department from 1958 – 1982, and then in the Tulane University School of Architecture until 1996. He was Professor Emeritus of Architecture until his death in April 2008.

”It is no exaggeration to say that the trajectory of Franklin Adams’ career is in itself a cultural history of New Orleans during the fifty years he lived, so very completely, in this city.” --Carol Leake, Curator

Gallery hours: M – F, 9 am – 4 pm
Gallery closed on official Tulane holidays.

For more information, please contact:
************************************
Laura Richens, Curator, Carroll Gallery
Newcomb Art Department, Woldenberg Art Center
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118
phone: 504.314.2228
fax: 504.862-8710
www.carrollgallery.tulane.edu