The Claude Arts District is often considered a post-Katrina phenomenon--and it mostly is--but this show illustrates how deep the experimental Marigny-Bywater art scene's roots really are. Curated by Beau Tardy and Michael Fedor, themselves veterans of Fedor's former (1987--1990) Marigny-based Galerie Avant Gout, it also includes works by Patti D'Amico and William Warren whose Waiting Room Gallery in Bywater was active from 1997 to 2008. Both spaces catered to emerging artists, a tone that continues in this show. Tardy, who worked for MTV in New York for years, was inspired by mass media's fixation on erotic titillation as seen in GotCha, left, a manipulated image of a babe in a vortex of flashy graphics like those TV ads that somehow inspire salacious thoughts based on nothing more than subliminal suggestion. The paintings by French counterpart Louis Jean Gorry are far more graphic, but his style is as raw as scrawled subway station graffiti. Somehow slick is more insidious. But fellow Frenchie Cyr Boitard, left, takes a more romantic turn in his Proustian evocation of the soft porn of the past in images like an updated Toulouse Lautrec hashish fantasy.
Michael Fedor's intricately surreal collages such as Goliath, left, suggest something an absinthe-inspired French Quarter Max Ernst might have created in a dark corner of the Napoleon House in the lost days of yore, a sensibility complemented by Patti D'Amico's mystically tinged canvas The Medium, among others. In 2008, she and partner Warren moved to Water Valley, MS, where the omnipresent kudzu inspired him to paint humanoid vine critters like Kudzu Blues Man, a wavy gravy exercise in animist pointillism in the form of a vinous Delta musician, bottom left.
Throw in Margaret Meinzer's adjacent expo of pop-expressionist dreamscapes like A Small Boat at Sea, above, and it's a weirdly wonderful show in the grand St. Claude tradition of ad hoc epiphanies by artists with eternally youthful attitudes--a sensibility that resonates neatly with French digital artist Nicolas Sassoon's Green Waves, a vast surround-sound and light environment of choreographed pixels in motion at the May Gallery in Bywater, and Irish artist Jane Cassidy's electronic music-video composition at Parse (see upper left sidebar). Both of these sublimely ethereal shows at two of the newer art spaces in town extend a long local tradition of experimental art in unlikely places. ~D. Eric Bookhardt
LaPopSexTVArtShow: Group Exhibition Curated by Beau Tardy and Michael Fedor, through June 1, Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave, 710-4506
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