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Prospect New Orleans’ international contemporary art triennial on view through February
Mark Dion, The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist, 2017, Installation View at Algiers Point, Prospect.4. The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp ę Crista Rock.

NEW ORLEANS, LA.- The fourth iteration of Prospect New Orleans’ international contemporary art triennial, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, opened to the public in November and runs through February 25, 2018 aligning with the City of New Orleans’s Tricentennial celebration.

Led by Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp brings together 73 artists from North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the European powers that colonized New Orleans, addressing issues of identity, displacement and cultural hybridity within the context of the celebration of the city’s Tricentennial. 32 artists created work specifically for the exhibition, and approximately 10% of the selected artists hail from the New Orleans area. To enact this ambitious vision, Schoonmaker was aided by an Artistic Director’s Council of seven international artists and curators1 who contributed to the project’s publication and participated in public programming surrounding the exhibition.

“New Orleans has such a unique cultural hybridity that is evidenced in its customs, food, music, architecture, language, and spirituality. Additionally, racial and economic inequity, social justice, the displacement and migration of its people, and the ecology of New Orleans are all issues that connect it to the Global South,” said Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker. “I’ve selected artists whose work makes connections between the city of New Orleans and other parts of the world. This relationship between the local and the global is increasingly important today, but I’ve also emphasized it because 2018 is the Tricentennial celebration of the founding of New Orleans and the city has strong ties in particular to Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, in addition to Europe.”

Prospect.4 takes place across 17 venues throughout the city of New Orleans including the city’s storied institutions; the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, Historic New Orleans Collection, and the Jazz Museum at the Old US Mint, as well as interventions in unexpected destinations.

Special highlights for Prospect.4 include an emphasis on the city’s riverfront along the Mississippi river in an exciting route that includes the recently opened Crescent Park, in partnership with the French Market Corporation, where installations by Radcliffe Bailey, Hồng-┬n Trương, Jennifer Odem, and Runo Lagomarsino are sited between the river and the train tracks. Further upriver, the Riverfront Streetcar Line, features new work by artist Derrick Adams inspired by French Quarter street tappers, as well as part of a citywide reprisal of Yoko Ono’s Have You Seen the Horizon Lately. The Algiers Ferry plays a role in Odili Donald Odita’s citywide flag project, Indivisible and Invincible: Monument to Black Liberation and Celebration in New Orleans. The ferry will bring visitors across the Mississippi River to Algiers Point, a new Prospect site, where visitors will find Mark Dion’s installation, The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist, a detailed imaginary replica of an aquatic biologist’s field station that speaks to the ecology of the river and Mississippi delta.

Notably, music runs through Prospect.4, which includes the artistic collages of jazz legend Louis Armstrong, shown in the artist’s birthplace of New Orleans for the first time at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, together with a new interactive sculpture by Rashid Johnson, artworks by artist and musician Satch Hoyt, and the work of Big Chief Darryl Montana of the Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indian tribe. Additionally, artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah premieres an original feature length three-channel documentary about Buddy Bolden, the New Orleans-born cornetist widely accepted as the progenitor of jazz music and Quintron & Ms. Pussycat perform their peculiar local brand of music and performance, both at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Naama Tsabar presents a new Composition performance, Composition 21, featuring twenty-one local musicians arranged into 4 bands performing separate musical pieces commissioned especially by the artist.

“New Orleans is such fertile ground for music; it provides a unique opportunity to work with a broad range of international artists who use music as a way to engage people and bring them together, and to explore specific histories, cultural traditions and pressing social issues,” said Schoonmaker.

Additionally, the great hall of the New Orleans Museum of Art features a large installation of twelve portraits by Barkley L. Hendricks that functions as an informal tribute to the late artist. The oil paintings included in the exhibition range from 1970-2016 and are largely unknown as they have been borrowed from private collections. While Hendricks has recently been recognized as a giant of American painting, this is the first time that his works have been exhibited in New Orleans.

Prospect.4 will close this year on February 25th with the activation of Kara Walker’s new public artwork, Katastwˇf Karavan. For the Katastwˇf Karavan Walker, in collaboration with the noted jazz pianist Jason Moran and the steam-power enthusiast Kenneth Griffard, has constructed a thirty-two-note steam calliope similar to the one on the Steamboat Natchez and housed it in an arcane looking parade wagon of her own design. In critical response to the Natchez, Walker’s calliope plays songs and sounds she associates with the long history of African American protest music: gospel, reggae, jazz improvisation, chants, and shouts.

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