Sunday, September 17, 2017

In Perspective: Prospect.4



Prospect.4, the latest iteration of Prospect New Orleans' international art triennial, opens November 18th on the cusp of a very auspicious event: the 300th anniversary of the city's founding. As befits America's most culturally Creole city, it promises to be its most exotic triennial art event in any number of ways. The title, The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, sets the tone. Most of us know about swamps, but the lotus flower evokes a whiff of mystery as an ancient Hindu and Buddhist icon of enlightenment. Prospect.4's artistic director, Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art curator Trevor Schoonmaker, calls it “a beautiful bloom flourishing untainted above the murky water” that he says is a fitting symbol for our natural environment as well as for the resilience of our city, for the way it reminds us that “redemption exists in ruin, and creativity in destruction.” He also likes the way the great jazz sax player Archie Shepp used it as a metaphor for the origins of jazz itself as it evolved through slavery and African drumming on Congo Square while absorbing European brass band extravagance and the "Cuban tinge" that influenced generations of epochal New Orleans musicians from Jelly Roll Morton to Professor Longhair and Allen Toussaint. P.4 features work by seventy-three artists from all over the world, presented in seventeen venues across the city. Beyond art stars like Yoko Ono and Kara Walker... More>>