Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Savoring Prospect.3

After a long week-end of parties, galas, talks, for the opening of Prospect.3, it is time to look back or ...forward. Blogs, newspapers' articles, interviews, all eyes were on New Orleans the past few days. Groups of visitors came trailing curators, crowds gathered at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center to see Kerry James Marshall's Storefront, walked along the river to get a glimpse of Tavares Strachan's barge floating on the dark waters and selfies went on Facebook. Many looked official wearing their pink P.3 tag. But who had time to appreciate fifty-eight artists with works located in more than fifteen locations? This does not account for the P3+ venues and satellite shows. I was among the first visitors at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art to see Basquiat on the Bayou with a reservation from 10 till 10:30 on Saturday, then crossed the street to look at the works from more than twenty artists at the Contemporary Art Center. My next stop was at the New Orleans Museum of Art and  on the  way back, the Newcomb Art Gallery on the Tulane campus. Add a visit at the McKenna Museum of African American Art followed by a walk through the Joan Mitchell Center Gallery... Exhaustion was around the corner.
After this gluttonous start, I feel like savoring Prospect.3 over the next few months. I will delight in writing about each venue, an ambitious project, but this is how to appreciate the artists, the Biennale, the city. After all, I have all the time... I live in New Orleans, and I belong!

photographs by the author:

"Tank", 2014, Glen Kaino
"Untitled (Cadmium)", 1984, Jean-Michel Basquiat

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ed Clark at Prospect.3

Edward Clark was born in 1926 in the Storyville section of New Orleans. After living a few years in Baton Rouge, he moved with his family to Chicago.

In 1943, at the age of 17, he left high school and enlisted in the Air Force during the height of WWII. Upon his return, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1947 till 1951 and the following year at L' Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. While abroad, he was profoundly influenced by the tachist Nicolas de Staël. His early works are characterized by his unique push-broom technique and the monumental scale of his paintings.
After spending five years in Paris, he came back to the United States and lived in New York City where in 1957 he exposed a shaped canvas at the Brata Gallery, an innovation at the time. The first known of the sort was made in 1968 during his sojourn in France. He experimented with different techniques during his career like working on paper with dry pigments, inspired by the "pouring sand" technique of the Pueblo tribe of the American Southwest.

Now 88 years old, he was recently featured in a New York Times articles and states: "No matter what  I do, there's not a day that I am not an artist."
During Prospect.3, his work can be seen at the NOMA.


"Louisiana Red", 2004, Ed Clark

(photograph by the author)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Basquiat at Prospect.3

   Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1960 from an Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother. Early on, he visited museums with his mother and following an accident in which he was severely injured, she bought him the Gray's Anatomy book to distract him. Unfortunately, she suffered from a severe mental illness and was committed to a mental institution. From then on, Basquiat was raised by his father and his parents separated. He ran away at 15 years old and was eventually banned from home, living in the streets and supporting himself with small jobs like selling T-shirts. He never had a formal training but started to draw at an early age and did not graduate from high school. 
He started to spray paint buildings in 1976 signing his graffiti .SAMO (same old shit), the project went on for two years and was featured in the Village Voice. In 1979, SAMO IS DEAD, a graffiti on the walls of Soho buildings announced the end of the project.

Basquiat by then was becoming famous, appearing on television shows. He also formed the rock band Test Pattern (renamed Gray later) and performed in nightclubs. In 1980, under the umbrella of the Annina Nosei gallery he had a first solo show followed by an article in Artforum in 1981 which brought his works to the art world's attention. He was affiliated with Neo-Expressionism.
In 1982, he traveled to Italy, then worked for Larry Gagosian during a stay in Venice, CA, far from his NYC roots and friends and from 1983 till 1985 worked with Andy Warhol on series of collaborative paintings. But the artist became more isolated and depressed, overtaken by his heroin addiction. The death of  Andy Warhol in 1987 precipitated a down spiral of Basquiat's life who died in August 1988 of a drug overdose. Julian Schnabel portraits the artist in the film "Basquiat" in 1996.

An exhibition of works from Jean-Michel Basquiat will take place during Prospect.3 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.  The Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris presented a major retrospective of his work in 2010.


                                                   "Zydeco", 1984, Jean-Michel Basquiat

photograph by the author