Sunday, October 30, 2011
Prospect.1 was a hard act to follow. It was big, sometimes gaudy, sometimes subtle, but always substantial and very expensive, with cost overruns exceeding a million dollars. Prospect.2 is more modest—its 27 artist roster is one third the size of P.1's—and its exhibitions are far less extravagant. It was hard to get any sense of what it would look like from its eclectic mix of featured artists slated for various venues that were always changing, but now that it's open it can truthfully be said that former director Dan Cameron has again pulled a rabbit out of his hat. It's not knock your socks off like P.1, but it is an intriguing expo with an intimate quality that may be more appropriate for these financially constrained times. What makes it work is Cameron's intuitive genius for weaving the art with various parts of the city in ways that can be unexpected or occasionally even epiphanous.
Through Jan. 29, 2012, Various Venues, 756-6438, www.prospectneworleans.org
Both a satellite facility of the Prospect.2 Biennial and a prelude to influential street artist Swoon's Dithyrambalina project--an actual house with musical instrumentation built into its structure--this Music Box installation of fanciful musical shanties features electronic and acoustic devices literally built into their woodwork. Cobbled from antique New Orleans house parts by a small army of harmonic savants working collaboratively, it all came together rather rapturously on the evening of October 22, 2011, under the baton of audio maestro Martin Quintron. These crude videos only hint at the transcendental nature of the event as it was experienced by all present. In like fashion, Swoon's Dithyrambalina will rely on collaborating artists to bring it to life. Curated by Delaney Martin, Swoon and Theo Eliezer, the Music Box is the platform for developing the instrumentation that will be built into its walls, ceilings and floorboards in much the way plumbing and electricity are configured in a traditional home.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
This show is really kind of gross. I had never heard of the artist, but his flamboyant paintings are in boisterously bad taste. I like them a lot. It takes talent to make such eloquently stomach-churning work, and Jeremy Willis has a flair for revisiting pop, expressionism and the Liepzig School in canvases that take no prisoners but rather colorfully squeeze the vital essences, and possibly body fluids, out of his subjects. So who, or what, is Willis? It turns out that he is an Uptown Nola native who ended up in Brooklyn by way of Amherst and Providence, and his paintings blend something of de Kooning's manic early 1950s women with Francis Bacon's lushly Hannibal Lecter-esque renderings of dislocated, if vividly hued, body parts. But Willis is to those polished icons of painterly virtuosity what Sid Vicious was to the London Philharmonic: pretty raw. Even so, if his brush strokes were really as crude as they seem, none of this would work and we would be left confronting a muddle. So it is to his credit that his paintings confront US instead; you wouldn't want to meet up with one in a dark alley. That Sid Vicious meets Francis Bacon sensibility defines HANGOVER HEADGEAR, top, but TEARS, below, is more complex, an oozing maelstrom of quivering primary colors with smeared crimson lips and white teeth ricocheting off a double vision of a female head--one yellow, one green--in full meltdown mode, and it's all quite repellent if morbidly fascinating. The aptly titled FUCK OFF CREEP, above right, is a latter day nightclub scene, a cool inferno of mauve, cobalt and yellow featuring two babes and a guy, a blabbering paragon of attitude seated at a table. Here everything is reduced to its visceral essence of discomfited flesh, queasy colors and dislocated auras, a visual parable of civilization's decline as it is reenacted daily in a million minor ways. In this show, Willis takes those quotidian human gestures and makes them intriguing. ~Bookhardt
FEAR IS A MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Paintings by Jeremy Willis, Through Nov. 5, Du Mois Gallery, 4921 Freret St., 818-6032; www.dumoisgallery.com
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Wayne Gonzales is one of the more interesting artists working in New York today. Although his reputation has steadily grown over years of exhibitions at the Paula Cooper Gallery in Manhattan, where his work also appears in the Whitney, Guggenheim and Hirschhorn museum collections, his current NOMA expo is his first museum solo in the U.S. Why here? Although he has been more of a presence in the New York and London art scenes, Gonzales is a Nola native who grew up in the 9th Ward and Arabi and graduated from UNO. Born in 1957, his early years were affected by the assassination of president Kennedy and the subsequent investigation by then D.A. Jim Garrison, in part because his extended family overlapped with some of its colorful cast of characters. News coverage from the period inspired some earlier paintings such as PEACH OSWALD, bottom, but today he is better known for his monochromatic canvases of crowd scenes that evoke grainy and vastly enlarged blowups of news photographs.
Wayne Gonzales: LIGHT TO DARK/DARK TO LIGHT, Through February 26, New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, 658-4100; www.noma.org
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Comprised of mysterious mice and skeletal birds among other fantastical creatures, all are either tangled up in strange mechanisms or arrayed in carnivalesque processions like her miniature HOMMAGE LA SOCIETE DE STE. ANNE, top, or PALLBEARERS, above, or else in otherworldly settings with Max Ernst, Pauline Réage and Brothers Grimm overtones evoked by the clever use of abstract details. And where Sacabo is overtly romantic, if sometimes gothic in works like LA PASION, right, Ersy is as taut and fraught as a Hitchcock thriller. Both are meticulously prolific -- Sacabo has a impressive parallel exhibition of her most recent work at A Gallery for Fine Photography—and the detailed thoroughness of both artists' vision is nothing less than staggering. Some three years in the making, this exhibition of two sui generis New Orleans artists, along with the George Dureau expo upstairs, offers new evidence of the Ogden Museum's potential as a showcase for providing striking new insights that would have been unlikely anywhere else, here or abroad. ~Bookhardt
Read more about Josephine Sacabo and Ersy in the New York Times (Click Here)
ERSY: ARCHITECT OF DREAMS: Retrospective Exhibition of Sculpture by Ersy; OYEME CON LOS OJOS: Retrospective Exhibition of Photographs by Josephine Sacabo, Through Jan. 8, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9600, www.ogdenmuseum.org; PHOTOGRAVURES: Recent Work by Josephine Sacabo, Through Dec. 31, A Gallery For Fine Photography, 241 Chartres St., 568-1313; www.agallery.com
Left: Claustro by Josephine Sacabo
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
But that was then. Who is this woman? Bulgaria-born, Philadelphia-educated Gueorguieva lived in New Orleans for three years, then moved to Los Angeles seemingly on a whim a month before Katrina struck. The works in this show were based on her New Orleans memories, and the best of them display similarly perfect timing expressed as prismatic cul-de-sacs and gestural slashes. CLINAMEN, above, is a masterpiece of swirling vortexes and painterly mini- tornadoes as well as controlled explosions like fireworks in a labyrinth. The name refers to the tendency of atoms to swerve, as predicted by the classical Greek philosopher Epicurus in an eerie anticipation of Einstein and Heisenberg. AUTO EXTRACTION, top right, is a lyrical example of visionary abstraction that harks to that portentous point in the 1940s when the surrealism of Arshile Gorky and Roberto Matta morphed seemingly full blown into abstract expressionism. Matta called it “morphologies,” landscapes of the inner world, things felt more than seen. The look may be related, but Gueorguieva makes it lyrically her own. ~Bookhardt
PREFIGURATION: New Paintings by Iva Gueorguieva, Through Oct. 29, Heriard-Cimino Gallery, 440 Julia St., New Orleans, LA 525-7300; www.heriard-cimino.com