Ritual

February 28, 2024

It is a joy to be showing again with Gryder and to be joining Babette Beaullieu and Elizabeth Shannon in this exciting endeavor! This exhibition will be up through Saturday, April 27. We would be delighted if you can visit the show in person if you are here and virtually if not. I will be posting regularly both via Fb and Instagram in an effort to revisit and update spinoffs of projects.

(further extended on Instagram, whose little-known ancestor is perhaps the scrapbook).

If the films are a form of the present, the scrapbook is both their past (where they were drafted) and their future (as archive).

– Matthieu Orléan, curator at the Cinémathèque Française

 


 

RITUAL

Babette Beaullieu
Jan Gilbert
Elizabeth Shannon

RITUAL presents work of three artists who merge their lives with their art making rituals and tools, to ruminate, to recognize, to collect, to re-collect, to highlight, to honor.

Here are idiosyncratic, playful, yet serious displays of obsessive observing and compulsive producing of offerings to the public domain.

These artists while displaying quite distinctive modes of practice, possess common veins of mining a sense and since of history.

 


 

A Life in Art: The Steven and Kathleen Sidwell Collection

The Cape Cod Museum of Art, October 19 – January 14, 2023.

Two recent exhibitions were celebrations I was so pleased to be a part of:

The Steven and Kate Sidwell Collection at the Cape Cod Museum of Art presented their extensive collection resulting from their itinerant life together and became a memorial moment shortly after Steve’s passing.

From October 7, 2023–January 6, 2024, the stellar 45th Anniversary show at the Arthur Roger Gallery, was evidence of what a tour de force Arthur and his gallery are and have been for all these years.

 

On Portraiture and More

March 01, 2023

Super excited to be part of Gryder Gallerys new exhibition On Portraiture, 5 artists: Mark Bercier, Jan Gilbert, Eddie Ralph Hébert, Jana Napoli and Keith Perelli (link), fellow artists – all part of the art community for decades!

Opening Reception this Saturday, March 4, 2023, 5-8pm up through April 30. Hope you will stop by the gallery if you are in town!

Installation View

My series Call to DisArm continues to find its way out into the public realm in various virtual and even AR modes. Thanks to Susan Tucker for her continued collaboration including this work (link) in the new online compilation Keeping (and Telling) the Past. Nancy Baker Cahills augmented reality (AR) Battlegrounds routes New Orleans real time viewers via her 4th Wall App to a variety of layered artworks. They can be accessed and experienced through the free 4thWall app, a public art platform for users to explore resistance by hosting curated, geo-located public art exhibitions such as Battlegrounds. Heres a peek (link) at what you would see and hear on the app when arriving at St. Annas Church, 1313 Esplanade Avenue in Treme. Note a new and more permanent Murder Wall installation has recently been installed at the site. Lastly, in solidarity with St. Annas and Battlegrounds, we have reinstalled the Call to DisArm curtain on our 511 Royal St. studios to garner close encounters of visitors and passersby of all kinds. For an online overview of the Battlegrounds project, let your fingers do the walking online (link).

With all this virtual and AR news, it feels necessary to recommend a real book:

Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars by Kay Turner (which includes some of the Light in the Head artworks included in the Gryder exhibition)

and a couple of others by Susan Tucker: City of Remembering and Mending for Memory, Sewing in Louisiana, Essays, Stories, and Poems (authored by Susan along with Lee Meitzen Grue).

Getting a Jump on Fall News

September 02, 2022

Pleased to see The Vestiges Projects Flood Lines triptych including images by Debra Howell, Krista Jurisich, and me with text by Michele White on view in time for yet another Katrina anniversary (the 17th!) and another hurricane season. It is featured in Metamorphoses: Highlights from the Permanent Collection of Newcomb Art Museum.  This Fall 2022 exhibition (8/16-12/10/22) curated by Maurita N. Poole and Laura Blereau with support of NAM Staff includes a reception on 9/17 Noon-5 with food, music, and a tour with artists 2-3 pm.

Also happy to be invited by British scholars Stuart Andrews and Patrick Duggan to join in their American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) Plenary Panel Resisting Catastrophe: Performances of the Crescent City Conference while the group meets in New Orleans this fall.

For more info about their project/research Performing City Resilience which began with New Orleans and has been ongoing since 2018.

Heres a link to a short video of extracts from a conversation last summer at Gryder Gallery with Babette Beaullieu and me and installation views from our AMEN! show.

https://vimeo.com/641219067

Can we get another AMEN?

July 08, 2021

As promised, here’s the update to the Gryder Gallery AMEN upcoming events and extension of the show:

This Saturday 7/10 at 2pm Babette Beaullieu and I hope you will join us in conversation at the gallery, 615 Julia Street (it’s also the Art Walk Saturday delayed due to last week’s holiday weekend).

Closing Reception Thursday 7/15 5-7 and final day of the show is Saturday, July 17.

The website is full of great installation shots and lots more on my work and other gallery artists. We also have more exciting news coming soon. Watch for another exhibition opening in early October and running through November! Come and visit while Prospect 5 is on view, jazz and book festivals and holidays abound!

Babette Beaullieu, Stick & Stones II, 2018

Jan Gilbert, Beuys of Summer Continuum, 1989

Don’t miss John Clemmer: A Legacy in Art on view at The Historic New Orleans Collection from July 21 to November 7, 2021. This exhibition and accompany book mark the occasion of the artist’s centennial with a survey of his life, work, and enduring influence, showcases his work alongside that of his artistic circle—mentors, peers, and protégés. Very pleased to be counted within his circle and to have a work on view.

Opening Reception Fri. July 30 6-8 reservations required

AMEN!

May 25, 2021

AMEN Exhibition at Gryder Gallery

I’m excited to have several artworks on view May 22 – July 10, 2021 at Gryder Gallery (615 Julia Street) in its AMEN Exhibition. It will be open during New Orleans Arts District first Saturday openings on June 5th and there will be scheduled events (Babette Beaullieu and I will be doing a gallery walk through) on dates TBD.

My best intention is to write again soon to give details on these dates along with JOHN CLEMMER’S CENTENNIAL EXHIBITION: HIS ART CIRCLE: His Teachers, His Students and Colleagues, Curated by Judith Bonner, at The Historic New Orleans Collection. I am so touched to be a part of this celebration of John,  a dear friend. He was my mentor while in grad school at Tulane (and long after) as he was to so many. Please watch for the show and publication opening near what would be his centennial birthday July 22, 2021.

 

THE URBAN LANDSCAPE: A SENSE OF PLACE BOTH HERE AND THERE

March 28, 2019

I’m delighted to announce The Historic New Orleans Collection’s (THNOC) ART OF THE CITY: Postmodern to Post-Katrina, presented by The Helis Foundation, premieres on April 6 and runs through October 6th, 2019 christening the exciting redo of the Seignoret-Brulatour Building, 520 Royal Street. Invited as guest curator and working with the assistance of its Executive Director Priscilla Lawrence and in collaboration with her superb staff, it is my pleasure to invite you to visit the show and to participate in its multidisciplinary programs. Check hnoc.org for details that will be updated regularly. This exhibition is opening on the heels of the tricentennial of New Orleans after a year of ART OF THE CITY programs and a preview exhibition. Address: 520 Royal Street. Admission is free.

Art of the City

 

Coincidental to the New Orleans Tricentennial, was a quite differently-themed tricentennial public art project in the Netherlands, the northern Holland Groningen Province. This art route titled Kerstvloed (Christmas Flood) 1717-2017 was curated by Merijn Vrij and featured Biography of a House and Vestiges/Trinitas, as well works by fellow Orleanians Jana Napoli and Rontherin Ratliff, among public artworks by 16 artists representing other flood plains around the world as Japan, Indonesia, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands. View a video of the project here.

TED Talk

 

Christmas Flood 1717-2017 Art Route Video

most of the installations

 

Babette Beaullieu and I have further developed Cajun Prayer Flags, also known as the Louisiana Prayer Flag Project, which has traveled to several locations across Louisiana and extended beyond the State to communities via New York State schools and Maison Gai Saber artist residency in the Poitiers Region of France.

Since Spring 2012 we have collaborated working with communities conducting workshops with all ages gathering stories and valuing heritage and the resilience which arises therefrom. We aim to foster awareness and appreciation for these cultural assets/qualities/tools the culture of Louisiana has to give to the world.

Through workshops and installations in elementary schools, high schools, universities and at festivals, we guide participants in creating original prayer flag designs representing their own personal culture: what they are truly embracing in their religion, food, music, family traditions. Each person produces a flag design from photography/written stories /small objects/fabric /paper.

LOUISIANA PRAYER FLAGS – PORCH STORIES is an installation which was on view at Urban Sidewalk/Installation Space for the whole of 2017 including as a Prospect New Orleans, P.S. satellite program venue also appearing as part of an interactive installation at Goat in the Road’s Get Your Art On (2017) at the Contemporary Arts Center and the Music Box Village (2018). It is an invitation to celebrate, look with deeper appreciation, and reflect on who we are today in Louisiana –this lively layering of many racial/cultural backgrounds – and to share this reflection in dialogue with a wider audience.

Jazz Fest LOGO

P3+ and then some: Last Call!

January 06, 2015

P3 and P.3+ Close on Saturday, January 25, 2015.
January 2015 Happy New Year!

P.3+ PUBLIC PROGRAMMING
PROSPECT.3, the international exhibition has abundant and powerful offerings all about town that are not to be missed! Three P.3+ events that my works are a part of are:

At New Orleans Museum of Art: there’s REPARATION: Contemporary Artists from New Orleans with works by 180 New Orleans artists, part of the larger project, Imago Mundi, a ten-year old initiative of Luciano Benetton and the Treviso, Italy, Benetton Foundation Museum Collection. The aim of the project is to create a vast inclusive tapestry of international art. REPARATION is a document of the city’s artistic condition. Click HERE to see the beautiful catalog and information about the overall project.

Reparations contribution: Remembering Allen Eskew

Reparations contribution: Remembering Allen Eskew

Then in the Central Business District, Click HERE for a map of the P.3 and 3.+ offerings. Our US.IS (Urban Sidewalk Installation Space) venue is featuring VESTIGES/Trinitas (described more fully in my last post) along with works by Bureau of Change, Jimmy Descant and Ross Lunz. Though this is a P.3 Satellite, Trinitas will remain on 24 hour view indefinitely.

Night view of VESTIGES/Trinitas at US/IS

Night view of VESTIGES/Trinitas at US/IS

Arti(fiction) of the Battle of New Orleans Exhibition is on view at Studio Inferno now located at
6601 Saint Claude Avenue, Arabi, Louisiana, January 3 through February 7. This 200th Anniversary celebration showcases faux relics, artistic ephemera and kitsch souvenirs in the spirit of this historic struggle.

Second Battle of New Orleans

Second Battle of New Orleans – Imprint: A Call to DisArm

Also, it is exciting to beckon you to two evolving multidisciplinary and web-connected projects including my work:

Emancipation: Challenges at the intersection of American and European philosophy was
curated by Aleksandra Łukaszewicz Alcaraz and Rebecca L Farinas. This website is a collaborative project joining philosophical research and artistic investigations on the topic of “emancipation.” Stemming from American and European perspectives and using practical tools, such as pragmatic philosophy, sound and imagery, the website offers a platform where contributors present and debate their work. With views and critique from you who are visiting the site, the research will continue to develop. Your input connects people, ideas and activism. Please join us by participating with the blog and attending some of the online events.

Pragmatism web gallery: Gilbert’s Masters of Their Conditions

 

Southern Rep Theatre’s Spring offering BOUDIN: The New Orleans Music Project, is an exhilarating theatre production that celebrates the music, art, magic, and history of our city.

Southern Rep Theater’s Boudin

Presented in partnership with WWOZ 90.7 FM, BOUDIN is a mash-up of local visual art, storytelling, live New Orleans music, and real stories from people like you!

 

Thanks for stopping by! Please come out – for real and/or virtually and join us!

Public Art and Publications

May 26, 2014

As summertime approaches, some serious catching up is in order.

A couple of my public art pieces are currently out on the streets if you’re strolling The Quarter or CBD:

A collaboration with Debra Howell and 48 other artists, VESTIGES/Trinitas, is on view at US.IS (Urban Sidewalk Installation Space) 441 Gravier at Magazine Street and will be up at least through January, 2015. Assemblagist Jimmy Descant currently has work up there as well.

VESTIGES/trinitas

Imprint: A Call to Disarm, an elegy in the form of gunshot victims’ obits, continues to hang in the vestibule windows of my studio building, Borenstein Galleries at 511 Royal Street. Robert Boyd wrote a fun blog entry in his The Great God Pan is Dead telling of his tracking down info about this work which he ran into during his trip to New Orleans. It is a typical small world story of this place along with a newcomer’s take on the art underbelly he encountered.

Latin for Crab, a group show under the sign of Cancer last summer at The Front in the St. Claude Arts District, considered the female body- its armor, its flesh, bound, determined, embodied- from perspectives of illness, mortality, and recovery. Works in the show derived from artist responses to their own or close associates’ illnesses and included some of my Offering Blocks, featuring the work of Pinky Bass, Heidi Kumao, Sarah Cusimano Miles, Karen Edmunds, Monica Zeringue, and Lee Deigaard who also curated.

Latin for Crab

2013 was a special year as the Arts Council of New Orleans gave me a Community Arts Award and my work Salle des Pendus was included in the latest purchases for the City Art Collection for fire stations and first responders’ venues. These are two honors for which I am deeply grateful.

Congrats to Sophie Brechu-West, Gallery Director, on the publication of 571 Projects: The First Three Years, a catalogue celebrating and documenting its tenure at 551 West 21st Street. This gorgeous book is now available. It clocks in at 232 pages, 11 x 13 inches hardcover, with beautiful full-color images of works by all the artists. It is great to be included alongside: Lindsey Brown, Leah Durner, Sandra Elkind, Liz Engelhardt, Brian Fekete, Sally Gil, Melora Griffis, Tatiana Istomina, Jimmie James, Dorothy Simpson Krause, Noah Landfield, Laurel Lueders, Malcolm Moran, Nathan Schiel and Julie Tremblay. Please click on the links below to order the catalogue:

571 Projects: The First Three Years Hardcover & Ebook

571 Projects

Joined by my fellow instigator and guest editor of a special issue of TDR aka The Drama Review, Kevin McCaffrey, we gathered a collection of articles, interviews, and photographs representing post-Katrina New Orleans where creative artists took responsibility for remembering the disaster and re-visioning the city. It is a collective, intimate glimpse into the still emerging effort to think through the past and envision the future of art and performance here in New Orleans. We were joined by contributing writers Carol Bebelle, Anne-Liese Juge Fox, Rachel Carrico, and Catherine Michna along with many of the artists written about for their ongoing work in NOLA including artists of: ArtSpot Productions, Ashe´ Cultural Arts Center, Junebug Productions, Mondo Bizarro, and New Noise. Contributor Catherine Micha thoughtfully wrote about the process and product in her blog entry, TDR: New Orleans: It’s About the Listening. I believe the issue is sold out; however, you can access the articles online via these two links, which detail its contents. ARCHIVE and MIT Press:

Pennabilli We’re delighted that Kevin’s No One Ever Went Hungry documentary on Cajun Food traditions then and now will be featured in a summertime New Orleans festival in Nanterre, France, just outside of Paris. Others participating in the festival are the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Trio (George Porter Jr., Johnny Vidacovich, June Yamagishi), The Treme Brass Band, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Nicky Da B, Rusty Lazer. Other films that will be screened are: “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Trouble The Water”, “Belizaire,” and more.

More info will be posted here. The next blog entry will be sure to report on our return residencies at Maison Gai Saber and to rejoin our collaborators, The Arpins, in Pennabilli, Italy, where the city street signs announce its friendly attitude to street artists!

Have a great summer!

Tank Drama: Deliberations from The Wet Grave

July 05, 2013

Greetings All!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the exhibition I curated in my former role as Interim Director of Visual Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center.  Please see details below:

Tank Drama: Deliberations from The Wet Grave
July 6, 2013 – September 22, 2013
Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans

Artists working in a multiplicity of art forms—theater, writing, visual art, film, music, dance, and more—are brought together under the umbrella of The VESTIGES Project to present their work in the Lupin Foundation Gallery, along with scheduled events in the Freeport-McMoRan Theater and additional off-site venues.

These greatly varied works have evolved over the course of the past eight years, many winding their way through several iterations in different locales. The artists and works often traveled to cities with a high concentration of New Orleanians in diaspora, such as Houston and Atlanta. Others reached out to people and places with parallel coastal experiences and concerns. Some works passionately address issues such as global warming, public health, racism, and economic inequities, while others gently touch upon modes of peaceful escape, meanderings of memento mori, and metaphors and tools for intimate community healing and rebuilding.

Assembled together, these works are a potent representation of just some of the creative networks documenting, remembering, and re-visioning post-Katrina New Orleans. The ongoing efforts to think through the past while establishing fresh connections propels us toward new collaborative possibilities as we envision the future of New Orleans.

Tank Drama is defined as “a sensational or cheap melodrama in which water is employed in the scenic effects, as in representing a rescue from drowning.”

1906 Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

The Wet Grave

The “wet grave” term for New Orleans, these days more commonly called The Big Easy, is first referenced in TransAtlantic Sketches, by James Edward Alexander, a Captain in a Scottish foot regiment of the British Army.  He detailed his travels around the New World, in 1833, when he visited New Orleans and emphasized that it did not resemble any other American city.

There are other references in old newspapers, ephemera, and even a cocktail invented with this appellation.  The name “wet grave” arose from the fact that New Orleans, in addition to its below sea level status which flooded graves and inspired the usage of above ground crypts, was also a rugged city to live in being marked by yellow fever, alligators, snakes, and other pestilence, thereby offering a shortened life expectancy to its residents.

As many of you know, The VESTIGES Project  (began in 1984 as an interdisciplinary collective of artists and writers who shared a common sense of place and sensibility nurtured by New Orleans.  To VESTIGES Project participants, New Orleans is a complex and eclectic culture of remnants, relics, rituals, memories, and myths characterized by a hazy distinction between fiction and truth, facade and reality, past and present.  In 2006 VESTIGES: Think Tank began as a 3-year roving residency under the auspices of the Contemporary Arts Center to explore the flood that turned New Orleans into true vestiges and its aftermath.

WATERWORDS OFFICE IMAGE

WATERWORDS OFFICE IMAGE

“The Things that Float” by Rontherin Ratliff

“The Things that Float” by Rontherin Ratliff

“After Disaster” Rondell Crier

“After Disaster” Rondell Crier

These explorations have continued in a variety of manifestations, called VESTIGES/Enactments 2013 as I assumed the role of Interim Director of Visual Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center April 1, 2012.

As a co-founder of VESTIGES I curated a series of dialogues, public art projects, publications, events and exhibitions in partnership with various organizations and individuals.

 

 

30 Years / 30 Blocks

May 24, 2012

gilbert_postcard_front

Please mark your calendars: Saturday, June 9th 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. is the opening reception of my solo exhibition 30 Years / 30 Blocks: a retrospective installation of place and public artworks at The Front gallery in the St. Claude Arts District. This exhibition, and the book accompanying it, is a scrapbook-like album that simultaneously chronicles three decades of public art, amalgamates these works with the current physical presence of The Front, and introduces an upcoming plan for a new series of public pieces to appear on the streets of New Orleans in 2014.

The book of this retrospective installation/exhibition will be available for sale at the gallery and online at e/PRIME Media.

gilbert_cajunPrayerFlags

Along with this installation, Babette Beaullieu and I will introduce our Cajun Prayer Flags public art installation in the back/side yard of The Front. Ushering in the 2012 hurricane season, our new hybrid of Cajun Prayer Flags will flutter with deeply textured imagery of Cajun Mardi Gras costumes in Acadiana. Paper and pen will be provided as an interactive component for passers by, encouraging them to join in by offering their personal wishes or prayers and tying them to the fence amidst its dead, clinging vines. This ritual and these devotional offerings are borrowed and blended traditions from Tibetan, Japanese, and Cajun cultures.

I plan to be gallery sitting Saturdays and Sundays 12-5 during the run of the exhibition.

gilbert_callToDisarm_spread

Imprint: Call to Disarm. This installation was installed at our 511 Royal Street studio building in the Quarter as a Prospect.2 Satellite and will remain on view through July 8th, the end of the exhibition at The Front.