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?

1 comment:

Rue said...

One thing to remember is that Mardi Gras Krewe’s tend to form into two camps. You have the beer and peanuts crowd at one end, and the champagne crowd at the other; but not much in the middle. Also innovation is not necessarily a top priority.

That said, maybe Antenna could hold a “vendor” type market, or create an art show around that theme of artist’s throws. Invite the public and the Krewe captains to the show and see what happens. Perhaps a forum that discusses things like “price points” , “throw safety requirements” , and “quantity necessary to make financial sense” could guide artists in their creations. Essentially open a dialogue between the art community and the Krewe’s.