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Big Fun in the Big Easy

The Prospect.2 Biennial in New Orleans opened on October 22. MASS MoCA Director of Development Jennifer Trainer Thompson and I took a group of trustees from our Tantalum Circle Member Group to see the exhibition dotted throughout the city.  The Tantalum Circle is a MASS MoCA membership group that includes travel opportunities as one of its benefits. In addition to this trip to the Big Easy, the group has gone to Sundance Film Festival, Miami Art Basel, Documenta, Ireland and Los Angeles.

Prospect.2 was the brainchild of curator Dan Cameron, the first version of the biennial took place in 2008 and included two artists with work currently on view at MASS MoCA: Nari Ward and Katharina Grosse. Prospect.2 also contains some familiar faces such as Sophie Calle (Game Show), William Pope.L, (The Interventionists); Jennifer Steinkamp and Alexis Rockman (Badlands), Karl Haendel (This is Killing Me), and Pawel Wojtasik (These Days: Elegies for Modern Times).

Pawel’s piece was of special interest to the group since it was filmed in New Orleans but commissioned for MASS MoCA, who lent the piece to Prospect.2. The photo above is of the group with Pawel in the amazing panoramic room that houses his video. The soundtrack was done by Stephen Vitiello, who in September opened a new sound installation in the MASS MoCA Boiler Plant)

We also got to meet with other artists along the way like Joyce J. Scott, who makes provocative beaded sculptures.

And Lorraine O’Grady, who’s seminal work 1983 work Art Is….  was on view at the New Orleans Museum of African American Art . Lorraine took some time to talk with us over a lunch served by Leah Chase, of the famous Dookie Chase’s Restaurant. Mrs. Chase is known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine”.

 

 

Other highlights included, R, Luke DuBois The Marigny Parade in which he worked with over 300 musicians from local high school and middle school marching bands. The groups started out in different neighborhoods, playing music composed by the artist, and converged on Washington Square.

 

Musicians in the square

A favorite project of mine was by Sophie Calle at the 1850 House, an antebellum-era historic home. Throughout the period rooms Calle inserted objects and text weaving new stories out of history. This is a continuation of her long-term project True Stories.

Last, but certainly not least, on our last night in New Orleans, we got to spend some time with artist Michel DeBroin. Michel will be in my upcoming exhibition Oh, Canada opening May 27, 2012. As a satellite project of Prospect.2, Michel created a new outdoor piece made up of street lamps that had been damaged and displaced post-Katrina  We look forward to seeing Michel’s new piece for MASS MoCA too!

New Orleans is a magical place, full of great art, food and music and a few surprises along the way like the Mardi Gras Indians who performed at the Prospect.2 Gala

And modes of transportation we don’t see around the Berkshires.

Posted November 4, 2011 by dmarkonish
Filed under BLOG, Support MASS MoCA
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