Last Saturday I visited Edward Winkleman‘s gallery on 27th street to attend the artist talk with Paul Chan and the New Orleans artist collective The Front as moderated by Newsgrist‘s Joy Garnett who curated the group show currently up at the gallery. It was an exciting event because not only did I get to see a bunch of bloggers such as Winkleman, Garnett, and Hrag Vartanian, it brought an enlightening exposure of the art scene post-katrina, and the urgency to create a community of artists who support and exhibit their work independent of galleries and focused specifically on the location and how it is incorporated and influences the art making process. The Front members mentioned the availability of space and the rise of organized collective to continue a dialogue that was started by free seminars Paul offered in colleges in New Orleans. The collective met during the seminars and wanted to keep a momentum going in creating a community and it seems the right energy was floating in the air at New Orleans where artists were ready to cleanse and replenish and nourish their artistic endeavors, especially through a multi-dialogue discourse and multidinous opportunities of exchanging ideas through this unifying scheme. These artists seem to be attached and proud of this destroyed but recovering city and they took shows such as Prospect 1 biennial as a great starting point to nurture and expose an art scene that is starting to grow and flourish. They discussed a surge in site specific and political art in New Orleans which seems to be a rightful reaction considering the hurricane and government’s inability to productively successfully responsibly take care of the disaster. It’s reactive and New Orleans is arguable used as a stage and backdrop to coordinate with and reflect the context of these given works. Prospect 1 is widely discussed and reviewed and in the most recent Art Forum issue there is a book review on Michael Fried who emphasizes either the indulgence or lack of theatricality and absorption in photography and also mentions how location is used to a theatric affect and in considering the biennial, would a self-absorbing element in making art about katrina, to be shown in New Orleans, creating elements that are interdependent. I think this is the reason Prospect 1 is such a success, because of this balance and the ability for new orleanians and artists to gather and collaborate as a means of coping and surviving, combining creative resources to escape, indulge, dramatize, and reopen political, social, artistic discourse.
Podcast of the talk here.
More on the group show here.
Paul Chan shows with Greene Naftali, website here
Artist collective, The Front
Paul Chan Raffle drawing to benefit the collective, here