As New Orleans is completely focused on celebrating Mardi Gras 2018, you would be remiss if you are in town and miss Prospect.4. Prospect is a citywide triennial of contemporary art displayed all over New Orleans. The artists range from local to international. Created by Dan Cameron, a world recognized curator, he brought the idea to New Orleans in 2007 with seed money from philanthropist Toby Devan.
The art is exhibited all around New Orleans, including traditional museums like the New Orleans Museum of Arts (NOMA) to non traditional art venues, including public art. Prospect is able to intertwine the rich New Orleans culture with artists from around the world to create a seamless benefit to impact New Orleans culturally and economically.
I found out about the exhibit from an Artsy email and I am glad I caught it. Immediately, I fell in love with the work of Njideka Akunyili Crosby and had to figure out a way to get to New Orleans to see it. With a quick flight to New Orleans from Houston, I literally drove from the airport to NOMA. I did not have a lot of time on this trip so I had to be very strategic with which pieces I could see.
As soon as I entered NOMA, I was greeted by pieces that immediately blew me away. I had never heard of Barkley Hendricks, but his work left you remembering that they are unforgettable. While I learned more about Mr. Hendricks, I realized he recently passed away in 2017 (RIP). All of the pieces exhibited, were recently purchased from his estate and on loan for Prospect.4. I am very grateful to the collector that allowed us to witness the magnificence of his work.
I was emotionally full before I even made it to Ms. Crosby’s work. Yet, I had no idea I would have the response I did when I explored her section of NOMA. I burst into tears as soon as I saw it. The collages were not like anything I have ever seen. I was also overwhelmed thinking about how blessed I was to go from a goal to visit by reading an email to a very short time before I was standing in front of masterpieces. As you look closer to her collages, you begin to see some materials from magazines from Nigeria. There is an overlap of Western and African culture with small messages throughout each piece. These pieces felt like they represented me. A gumbo of many of life’s experiences and cultures, never fully understood by the naked eye.
Next, I ventured off to an Afro-Cuban artist Alexis Esquivel. Still processing Njideka’s work, I now had to evoke emotions by seeing our former President in paintings placed in Cuba. A beautiful play of fact and fiction, I enjoyed experiencing the depiction from Alexis’s lens.
Prospect.4 features art from 73 artists from around the world. If you only have time to visit one place, I suggest you visit NOMA. It runs through February 25, 2018. The welcome center is on 750 Carondelet Street with hours from 10:30am-4:30pm. Some venues will be closed from Feb 10th-Feb14th for Mardi Gras so check before you go. For more information, visit Prospect New Orleans