Friday, October 10, 2014

UNO St. Claude Gallery Gears Up for Prospect.3: Notes for Now

The University of New Orleans St. Claude Gallery is gearing up to host work by artist Christopher Myers and the Propeller Group for Prospect.3: Notes for Now.

Known as P.3, Prospect 3.0 is an international contemporary art biennial now in its third iteration. This year's show will feature the work of 58 artists selected by artistic director Franklin Sirmans in 18 venues located throughout New Orleans.

Join Us!

The UNO St. Claude Gallery will be open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, in celebration of the public opening of Prospect 3: Notes for Now, curated by Franklin Sirmans.

Regular gallery hours will be 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wednesdays – Sundays, from Oct. 26, 2014 to Jan. 25, 2015.

The gallery will hold Second Saturday receptions from 6 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 8 and Dec. 13, 2014, and Jan. 10, 2015. The gallery is located at 2429 St. Claude Ave.

Contact Kathy Rodriguez at for more information.

"We are thrilled that the UNO-St. Claude Gallery is serving as the official Prospect New Orleans venue for The Propeller Group and Christopher Myers," said Kathy Rodriguez, director of the St. Claude Gallery. "The artists have joined forces to create "Shrine," a "call-and-response-like curatorial gesture" on the subject of funeral ceremonies in Vietnam and New Orleans. In the exhibit, a film titled "The Living Need Light, And The Dead Need Music" by The Propeller Group will combine with a sculptural installation including costumes and instruments by Christopher Myers."

For P.3, The Propeller Group and artist Christopher Myers have joined forces with a call-and-response-like curatorial gesture to create "Shrine," a collaborative project that includes a film created by The Propeller Group and a sculpture by Myers. In this work, the artists said, they have "encapsulated the elusive butterfly effect — the theory of 'nonlocality,' whereby two distinct phenomena affect one another across a vast expanse of space and time. They explore the celebratory and unique funeral ceremonies of Saigon and New Orleans: two cities, two cultures, mirroring each other from worlds apart."

The Propeller Group, headquartered in Vietnam and Los Angeles, was established in 2006 as a cross-disciplinary structure for creating ambitious art projects, organizers said. Artists Phunam, Matthew Lucero, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen created the collective, they said, to reexamine power structures by drawing on their backgrounds in visual art, film and video and utilizing mass media and popular culture.

The group has featured their work in gallery spaces, museums — including the Museum of Modern Art — and various media landscapes, including mainstream television and featured in international film festivals.

In Prospect 3.0 the Propeller Group introduces a film, called "The Living Need Light, and The Dead Need Music." The film, which takes its title from a Vietnamese proverb, focuses on the ceremony of the funeral wake in Vietnam, where spiritual mediums, professional criers and musicians lead these multiple day mourning ceremonies into euphoric public events.

"The off-kilter soundtrack of the film plays the lead character, as funeral bands embody popular musical tunes moving in and out of synchronicity, harmony and cacophony," the group said in a release. "In Vietnam, the history of the funeral wake, music, and processions that surround these ceremonies, is reflective of long traditions of ancestral worship. The purpose is not to bury the deceased, but to see them off on their journey to the immortal world and is expressed usually in uplifting and happy music as the coffin is carried to the tomb."

Myers, an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, accompanies this work with a sculptural installation of garments and instruments.

The sculptor's work has been shown at venues including PS1/MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, the ICA in Philadelphia, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Contrasts Gallery in Shanghai, and the Goethe Institute in Accra.

Myers has also exhibited an installation in Ouagadougou for the Prince Claus Fund's arts festival, in which he set recorded marketplace calls from several cities (Saigon, Kigali, Brooklyn, Lahore, Mexico City) in conversation with each other. He premiered his first film — a short about the changing economy and technology of Kenya entitled, "Am I Going too Fast?" in collaboration with the artist Hank Willis Thomas — at Sundance Film Festival.

Myers also collaborated with Kaneza Schaal on a performative translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and Performance Space 122. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of Conscious Realities, a lecture/residency series in Ho Chi Minh City advocating South/South exchange, and LitWorld, a global literacy initiative.

"One of the gifts of the Global South," the artists said in a release, is "this ability to be many things, from many periods of time, many places at once."

Such a feat may seem absurd, the artists said.

"But that's part of the magic and the Einsteinian science of inheriting dislocated and fragmented traditions. "Shrine" collapses distance to reveal otherness as an optical illusion, the hallucinogenic spell of nearsightedness," they said. "What emerges is a glorious, pulsating "future sound," as they call it, born between two cultures that have traversed centuries of violence and colonialism."

The New York-based nonprofit ART21, which produces educational documentaries about artists for PBS and the web, will be filming in New Orleans during the opening week of Prospect 3 for ART21's web-only series Artist to Artist. The Propeller Group has agreed to participate in the Artist to Artist film for Prospect 3 and ART21 will be filming at the UNO St. Claude Gallery.


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