Prospect.5, a cutting edge art party, arrives in New Orleans in October | Arts

Be on the lookout: Mind-blowing art will materialize around New Orleans this month, as the Prospect.5 art festival opens on October 23.

Expect a single-seater Ferris wheel in New Orleans East, a bronze alligator in Crescent Park, a West African-inspired sculpture at the old Lee Circle, a video projection inside a long-forgotten Bywater theater long, a tribute to the Oracle of Delphi on Esplanade Avenue, a Jamaican-style sound system that roams the city and other wonders.

The Prospect New Orleans series of city-wide art exhibitions began in 2008, modeled after international art festivals such as the Venice Biennale. Prospecting fairs have been held every two or three years since.

Prospect. 5, which features exhibitions by 51 artists from across the country and around the world, displayed in 20 dispersed museums and outdoor venues, promises to be a must-see experience for adventurous art lovers this fall.

Prospect.5 was scheduled to open in 2020, but the COVID pandemic has resulted in a one-year delay. Then this summer, as the time to start hanging exhibits and installing public sculptures approached, the delta variant of the coronavirus and Hurricane Ida threatened to derail the festival again.

Los Angeles artist Mark Bradford with the 3 story arch he built in the Lower 9th Quarter for Prospect.1 New Orleans, the international art exhibition which opened in fall 2008 .

But executive director Nick Stillman, Prospect staff and partner institutions have adopted an unmistakable spectacle attitude. New Orleans had already suffered a series of disappointments, when the Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest and Voodoo were canceled. The producers of Prospect.5 did not want to join that number.

“We were really determined to do this after all of the October cancellations,” Stillman said.

Prospect.5, which is subtitled “Yesterday We Said Tomorrow”, based on an album by New Orleans jazz musician Christian Scott, focuses on the work of artists from the African diaspora and will include exhibitions politically busy and socially difficult reflecting the zeitgeist of the past two years. .

The artists of Prospect.5, who were selected by Los Angeles-based guest curators Diana Nawi and Naima J. Keith, “look forward to a confusing and overwhelming moment in world history,” said Stillman.

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The Prospect.5 exhibits will be on display at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans African-American Museum, Historic New Orleans Collection, and several other institutions, but Stillman noted that one of the great pleasures from the Prospect series is the presentation of cutting-edge art in unexpected public places, such as parks and other public spaces.

The New Orleans arts community will be well represented in Prospect.5, with exhibitions by Ron Bechet, Willie Birch, Anastasia Pelias, Welmon Sharlhorne, the late George Dureau and others. As in past Prospects, several other local artists who are not on Prospect’s official list will present so-called satellite exhibitions in various art galleries.

Prospect.5 is free, although museum entrance fees may apply. The individual exhibitions and installations will open in stages, with three separate opening receptions, on October 23 and 30 and November 6, at separate locations. Prospect.5 continues through January 23, with a final unveiling of the artwork and a gala. To consult the Prospect website. 5 for specific times and locations for exhibition openings, performances and other activities.

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Artist Nari Ward welds the diamond element for her “Diamond Gym; Action Network”, an installation at the Battle Ground Baptist Church, which is part of Prospect.1 New Orleans, the international art exhibition that opened its doors. doors in New Orleans in November 2008.

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