Sunday, March 7, 2010

Parallel Universe: Quintron & Miss Pussycat at NOMA

     Ever since the Dadaists burst upon the scene in the early 20th century, some artists have created works that were more like events than art objects, thereby challenging the viewer’s assumptions about what art is—or isn’t. Over the years, this approach made its way into the hallowed halls of museums, which helps to explain what multifaceted Nola artist-musicians Quintron and Miss Pussycat happen to be doing at the New Orleans Museum of Art. In the case of Panacea Theriac, aka Miss Pussycat, it is her puppets and videos that we see, but anyone who goes there during regular visitor hours may actually encounter the mysterious Mr. Quintron himself, surrounded by recording gear and many muses in the form of paintings from NOMA’s collection. He’s recording an album on location and has assembled an installation of his trademark Drum Buddy devices, which suggest how synthesizers might have looked had they been invented by Edison or Tesla with help from Joseph Cornell. In the midst of all this is an assortment of the late Mike Frolich’s vividly Dionysian Dadaist paintings such as JUDAS, below, from the collection of the Saturn Bar--in short, all the ingredients to create a euphonic Quintronic composition over the next few weeks, a slow motion performance in its own right. Will Quintron and his Drum Buddys become museum pieces or will the museum become a vast Moog synthesizer? Stay tuned.

     Over the years when Mr. Quintron was summoning the spirits of Edison, Tesla and Dr. Moog, Miss Pussycat was making puppets that turned out to have their own ideas about who was pulling whose strings. Their stories appear in the videos seen here, and if their fuzzy forms and bright colors seem surprising at NOMA, think again. In art, context is everything and Miss Pussycat’s puppets comprise a kind of Bywater equivalent of the Disney DREAMS COME TRUE expo downstairs—only here swamp critters and the Saturn Bar are the Magic Kingdom for the perennial children of the 9th Ward. ~Bookhardt
PARALLEL UNIVERSE: An Exhibition by Quintron and Miss Pussycat
Through April
New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, 658-4100; www.noma.org