Everything in New Orleans Is a Good Idea
Some of what was lost is being regained, though. Through art, no less. This Saturday, New Orleans is opening what's being billed as the largest exhibition of contemporary art ever held on American soil: Prospect.1 New Orleans, and I suspect the spontaneous parades will be plentiful:
On November 1, 2008, Prospect.1 New Orleans [P.1], the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States, will open to the public in museums, historic buildings, and found sites throughout New Orleans. Prospect.1 New Orleans [P.1] has been conceived in the tradition of the great international biennials, and will showcase new artistic practices as well as an array of programs benefiting the local community. Over the course of its eleven-week run, Prospect.1 New Orleans [P.1] plans to draw international media attention, creative energy, and new economic activity to the city of New Orleans.Folks in New York have been talking about this star-studded biennial for months now, some skeptical, some in awe of the energy going into the effort. From an article in the New York Times today, you get a sense that the organizers have more than pulled it off...they've created something truly important:
Dan Cameron, the impresario behind Prospect.1 and a former senior curator at the New Museum in New York, said that as he was planning the biennial, a friend frequently reminded him of a quotation from Bob Dylan’s “Chronicles”: “Everything in New Orleans is a good idea.”Prospect.1 has a blog as well. Check it out here.
Prospect.1, Mr. Cameron said, is “just 81 people running around with good ideas, and basically everyone they meet goes, ‘Oh yeah, sure, I’ll help.’ ”
“It is American,” he continued, “but it’s no longer what we think of as American — it’s drop what you’re doing and go do what your neighbor’s doing.”
This is, after all, the city of spontaneous parades.Mr. Cameron said he was careful to select artists for the first Prospect who would attract critics and collectors but were not divas whose expectations might exceed the abilities of a first-time exhibition on a shoestring budget of $3.2 million.