Dario Robleto Traces The Cross-Generational Experience Of Blues, Jazz, And Rock ‘N Roll In Solo Exhibition, “The Prelives Of The Blues”

Exhibition Features New Work Inspired by New Orleans, on view March 23 through September 16, 2012

New Orleans, LA-Conceptual artist Dario Robleto explores the power of music to transcend time, race, circumstance, and life cycles in his upcoming solo exhibition, Dario Robleto: The Prelives of the Blues, at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). The exhibition features approximately 24 sculptures and works on paper, including Survival Does Not Lie In The Heavens, a new work that was inspired by the city of New Orleans. Other never-before-seen works, include The Sun Makes Him Sing Again (Brown), a series of cyanotypes from the lyric sheets of various deceased musicians such as The Mamas and the Papas, John Coltrane, Johnny Cash, and Jimi Hendrix, and Will The Sun Remember At All, a suite of nine digital prints of stage lights taken from live album covers by various deceased musicians such as James Brown, Etta James and Muddy Waters.

Dario Robleto: The Prelives of the Blues highlights the historical and emotional significance of blues, jazz, and rock ‘n roll music and the varied ways this music has been transferred across generations. The exhibition is on view from March 23 through September 16, 2012, and features works from Robleto’s last ten years of production.

“Dario Robleto’s poignant examinations of musical roots have a special resonance in New Orleans, where music-in particular blues and jazz-is such an integral aspect of the city’s cultural heritage and experience,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA Director. “Dario Robleto: The Prelives of the Blues sheds new light on the stories of these musical genres, and builds on NOMA’s previous explorations of subjects that have strong connections to our community.”

Robleto’s previous solo exhibitions have concentrated on the Civil War and animal extinction, while Dario Robleto: The Prelives of the Blues focuses on 20th century music, family connections and the process of musical development.

“Dario’s work in Dario Robleto: The Prelives of the Bluesexplores the notion of music in its conceptual and embryonic stages,” said Miranda Lash, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “This exhibition represents a commonality among us all: the love of music-which is so intimately felt in New Orleans, the home of so many musical families.”

Dario Robleto: The Prelives of the Blues was inspired by Robleto’s visits to New Orleans over the last three years, during which he became fascinated by the city’s use of music in everyday life and social rituals such as second lines, jazz funerals, and Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs. The exhibition provides a universal understanding of what it means to love music, particularly across culture and class, and also includes a number of autobiographical works that explore the role Robleto’s family played in his conception of music.

Exhibition highlights:
-Inspired by Robleto’s autobiography, The Sin Was In Our Hips, 2001-2001, consists of male and female pelvic bones made of bone dust that was ground together with melted vinyl from his mother and father’s Rock ‘n’ Roll record collection. The piece refers to the importance of Rock music to his parents’ generation, and music’s role in his own conception.

-The series, Melancholy Matters Because of You, 2010, was conceived as a “B-Side” companion to the piece The Sin Was in Our Hips, and the works will be exhibited together for the first time. Melancholy explores the transference of music across generations and is comprised of bone dust combined with melted vinyl and shellac records, and shaped into fetal hand bones (using his grandmother’s 78 rpm vinyl records), adolescent hand bones (made from his mother’s 45 rpm vinyl records), and adult hand bones (made from artist’s 33 rpm vinyl records).

-The Sun Makes Him Sing Again (Brown), 2012, is a new piece inspired by funk singer James Brown. For the past two years, Robleto has been making cyanotypes focusing on the creative process of songwriters. In these pieces, he exposes original handwritten lyrics by deceased pop stars, using sunlight to illuminate the songwriters’ words. In this new piece, Robleto creates a cyanotype using original notes written by James Brown. The Sun resurrects Brown’s moment of inspiration, when he inscribed his lyrics onto the page.

-Survival Does Not Lie In The Heavens, 2012, is a new work inspired by New Orleans. Part of one of Robleto’s most recent bodies of work, this constellation of stars is comprised of the stage lights from various record album covers. Focusing on the lights that once illuminated musicians in the midst of their performances, the piece pays homage to moments of musical creation. In this new work, Robleto draws from albums that relate to the rich history of New Orleans music.

About Dario Robleto
Robleto, a native of San Antonio, Texas, has become internationally known for his use of unusual materials, instilled with conceptual significance. The subjects and materials he uses express his interest in history, music, and universal human desires. Past works have included dinosaur bones, wartime memorabilia such as bullets, letters, hair wreaths, and carefully chosen melted vinyl records and audiotapes.

His work has been the focus of numerous of solo exhibitions, most recently at Des Moines Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, the Francis Young Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego and the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston. His pieces are in museum collections across the United States, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.

Exhibition Events for Dario Robleto: The Prelives of the Blues
Friday, March 23, 2012 from 5:30 – 8:30pm: Opening reception for Dario Robleto: The Prelives of the Blues with live performance by blues musician Mark Stone
Friday, June 1, 2012 at 6 pm : Public Lecture by Dario Robleto

Also on view
Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial – on view at NOMAfrom Feb 24 to May 20 – highlights Dial’s significant contribution to the field of American art and shows how the artist’s work speaks to the most pressing issues of our time-including the war in Iraq, 9/11, and social issues such as racism and homelessness. The exhibition presents over 40 of Dial’s large-scale paintings, drawings and found-object sculptures, including new works. Spanning twenty years of his work as an artist, the exhibition is organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Exhibition Events for Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial
March 2 at 6:45 pm – Walk-through and discussion with curator Joanne Cubbs
March 30 at 6:30 pm – Presentation and walk-through by artist Shawne Major
April 20 at 6:00 pm – Walk-through and discussion by artist Willie Birch
May 18 6:00 pm – Conversation on “Modern Folk Art in America” with historians Jane Livingston and John Beardsley

NOMA will also feature an installation of Self Taught Art in NOMA’s Permanent Collection in the museum’s Great Hall, including works by Thornton Dial, Sam Doyal, Pervis Young, Sister Gertrude Morgan, William Hawkins, and Clementine Hunter.

NOMA Admission
Wednesdays are FREE for all museum visitors. Adults, $10; Seniors (65 and up) and Students, $8; Children 7-17, $6; Children 6 and under, free. Free Wednesdays are made possible through the generosity of The Helis Foundation.

About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden
The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses over 35,000 art objects encompassing 4,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing temporary exhibitions, are on view in the Museum’s 46 galleries Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The adjacent Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features work by 62 artists, including several of the 20th century’s master sculptors. The Sculpture Garden is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. except for Fridays when it’s open until 8:45 p.m. The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden are fully accessible to handicapped visitors and wheelchairs are available from the front desk. For more information about NOMA, call (504) 658-4100 or visit www.noma.org.