Sunday, July 17, 2016

Myth, Fun & Folly + Y'all Don't Want to Hear Us, You Just Want to Dance

This month's Second Saturday scene on St. Claude had everything from insouciance to gravitas, and on that deliriously hot and steamy evening the sight of a nude lady nonchalantly mingling with the crowd at the New Orleans Art Center initially seemed more pragmatic than provocative. But she was actually a burlesque dancer from a just-concluded performance, an event topped off with an impromptu German opera aria sung by tenor Joseph Fedor, which complemented the diverse, yet cohesively buoyant, and mostly affordable work on the walls. Bob Dylan once said that in New Orleans you could “almost see other dimensions,” and Ann Hornback's dreamy paintings of women interacting with—or morphing into—oddly undulating beasts seemed to bear that out, as did Brad Dupuy's interwoven baroque nudes Britney Penouilh's deft juxtapositions of human female and crystalline mineral forms and Sergio Alferez's painterly explorations of fantastical visionary ecosystems.

Meanwhile at Good Children, the Y'all Don't Want to Hear Us, You Just Want to Dance performance might have easily been mistaken for the hopping scene that it mostly was, as slinky dance moves fueled by DJ Sissy Elliot's steady stream of pulsating beats held sway. But at 10 pm sharp the music suddenly went dead, replaced by flashing blue police lights and a deafening silence as a procession of 27 ghostly, umbrella-wielding figures filed solemnly through and out of the gallery in memory of the 24 unarmed black men killed by police so far this year. Currently 79 umbrellas occupy the gallery floor and ceiling, top, in memory of the 79 unarmed black men killed by police in 2015. Organized by Kevin Brisco in collaboration with Marta Maleck and Ashley Teamer, the performance and installation poetically underscored the week's deadly events, leaving the question of how we came to this point hanging wordlessly in the air. ~Bookhardt / Y'all Don't Want to Hear Us, You Just Want to Dance, Through July, Good Children Gallery, 4037 St. Claude Ave., 616-7427; Of Myth, Fun & Folly: Group Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture and Mixed Media Works, Through July, New Orleans Art Center, 3330 St. Claude Ave., 707-779-9317.