On view at from NOMA May 29, 2015 – September 7, 2015
New Orleans, LA- Ten Years Gone brings together six artists whose work engages with the broad themes of time, memory, loss and transformation. Timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the exhibition seeks to situate the significance of the past decade within a larger context of human endeavor and life experience through the work of Willie Birch, Dawn DeDeaux, Isabelle Hayear, Spring Hurlbut, Nicholas Nixon, and Christopher Saucedo.
“We wanted to create an exhibition that not only honors this particular anniversary, but also considers how and why communities and individuals commemorate significant moments in a broader sense,” said Susan M. Taylor, director ofNOMA. “In focusing on works that embody important opposing concepts—absence and presence, nature and culture, life and death— Ten Years Gone invites our visitors to consider the present moment as both an ending and a beginning, a chance to reflect on the past but also engage with the future.”
“As the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the question of how that event defined New Orleans looms large,” said Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs, Prints and Drawings. “It is only with the passage of time that the way these events define us becomes clear and in the scope of this city’s history, ten years is a small crucible by which to measure the successes or failures of any recovery.Ten Years Gone includes several works that are about time itself, asking us to take a longer view at this pivotal moment.”
Presented in the second floor Templeman Galleries, the Great Hall, and interspersed throughout the museum, Ten Years Gone creates a series of spaces and juxtapositions that offer a chance to reflect upon the larger issues that an anniversary of a catastrophic event engenders.
Ten Years Gone is a multimedia exhibition that includes video, photography, sculpture, and works on paper. Eschewing images of destruction or ruin that so often follow in the wake of tragedy, the exhibition focuses instead on more profound and metaphoric ways of memorializing tragedy and thinking about community recoveries. While some of the works were created in response to Hurricane Katrina, others were a response to different, specific events or to more persistent issues that remain a constant presence in our lives such as ecological issues or personal family life and loss.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of small temporary dwellings produced by crawfish displaced by the changing ecosystem, appeared in artist Willie Birch’s backyard. At the same time, new wildflowers grew with great rapidity, reclaiming the yard. Memorializing these temporary natural subjects, Birch cast the dwellings in bronze, and created intricate drawings of the vegetation that take on a slightly menacing air, emphasizing encroachment or colonization. Displayed together in this exhibition, the crawfish dwelling sculptures and drawings of plant-life pose more general questions about the social components of community recoveries.
In her Water Markers project, Dawn DeDeaux embeds photographic images of water within tall polished acrylic slabs. The water line in each piece corresponds to a flood level in New Orleans after the levee breaches of Hurricane Katrina. InTen Years Gone, DeDeaux’s Water Markers will be interspersed throughout the galleries, juxtaposed with artworks from different centuries and of different media in order to create a set of conversations that shift back and forth across time, embedding this contemporary artist’s reference to Katrina within a broader framework of human representation of landscape and life.
Using a watertight encasement for her camera, Isabelle Hayeur visually explores the turbid waters of industrial canals, and high traffic waterways. The natural distortion that occurs when photographing through water produces a strange sense of scale, with small rocks, oyster shells, or underwater plant life often dwarfing the larger man-made structures above. In her images, the line of the water’s surface becomes a place of tension, at once a threat and a lure, and reminding us of the fragility of ecological balance.
In Spring Hurlbut’s video piece, Airborne (2008) the artist appears on screen in front of a black background wearing a respirator mask and opens a container, releasing the fine ash of the cremated remains of deceased acquaintances, including the artist’s father. What at first appears to be a clinical lab experiment is quickly transformed into a slow and graceful dance. In combining the personal with the profound, the artist created a piece in which endings are re-staged as beginnings and the reductive finality of death is animated into a vibrant, and often very elegant, afterlife.
Since 1975, Nicholas Nixon has photographed his wife and her three sisters each year. This exhibition includes the full set of forty images, tracing the four decades in the lives of these sisters. Although each picture represents a marker of a passing year, it is the space between the pictures in which the lives are truly lived. It is this push and pull, between absence and presence, and the visible and the imagined that gives this project a raw emotional power.
Christopher Saucedo created his Floating World Trade Centerworks as a memorial to both his brother, a New York firefighter who died in the collapse of the towers on September 11th, and to the buildings themselves, with which Saucedo had a long relationship having spent his childhood in Brooklyn. In tufts of white linen pulp pressed into the deep blue of a cotton paper, Saucedo represents the architecture of the site as an almost ineffable presence, floating cloud-like with a weightlessness that upends the physicality of the structures.
Ten Years Gone is organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and is sponsored by an anonymous donor. Additional support is provided by Mr. and Mrs. John Bertuzzi, Tim L. Fields, Esq. and an anonymous donor. The accompanying publication is made possible by American Can Company Apartments.
About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden:
The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses nearly 40,000 art objects encompassing 4,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing special exhibitions, are on view in the museum’s 46 galleries Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The adjoining Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features work by over 60 artists, including several of the 20th century’s master sculptors. The Sculpture Garden is open seven days a week: 9 a.m. to 6 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.
Wednesdays are free admission days for Louisiana residents, courtesy of The Helis Foundation. (May not include special exhibitions.)
Teenagers (ages 13-19) receive free admission every day through the end of 2015, courtesy of The Helis Foundation.
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