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"Whitney, take note." - Priscilla Frank, Huffington Post
"All gave the same reason for being there: ‘Franklin.'" - Linda Yablonsky, ArtForum
"[Sirmans'] vision is as grand, deep and complex as the Big Easy itself." - Julie Baumgardner, T Magazine
"Hailed as the most anticipated biennial yet, Prospect New Orleans seems to have hit their stride." - Lori Zimmer, Mutual Art
More than 1,000 patrons and VIPs descended upon New Orleans to celebrate the Opening Festivities of Prospect.3: Notes for Now (P.3) during a weeklong series of events at the end of October. Sponsored by First NBC, the week included events hosted by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, with appearances by Will Ferrell, collectors, and nearly all of the P.3 artists. Since then, reviews of the biennial have been pouring in, dubbing P.3 as "rollicking," (Art in America), "effortlessly global," (ArtNet) and "the most racially diverse biennial in recent history" (The Art Newspaper).
Featuring 58 artists from around the globe at 18 venues across New Orleans, P.3's Opening Festivities attracted visitors from all across the globe. Such attendees included:
• 48 P.3 artists
• MoMA Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art Stuart Comer
• MoMA Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art Thomas Lax
• The Whitney Museum of American Art Associate Curator Christopher Lew
• Andy Warhol Museum Director Eric Shiner
• Bronx Museum of Art Director Holly Block
• Carnegie Museum Curator Dan Byers
• The Speed Museum Curator and former New Orleans Museum of Art Curator of Contemporary Art Miranda Lash
• ICA Philadelphia Exhibition Director Ingrid Schaffner
• The Jewish Museum Deputy Director Jens Hoffman
• The Los Angeles County Museum of Art Curators Rita Gonzalez and Christine Y. Kim
• Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans Executive Director Neil Barclay
• CACNO newly appointed Chief Curator of Visual Arts Andrea Andersson.
Official Opening Festivities kicked off with a press launch and conference at Ashé Cultural Arts Center on October 23. Artists, press and VIPs were greeted by traditional African drumming, followed by a welcome song, performed by Ashé staff. Attendees observed Kerry James Marshall's site-specific window installation, "The Manifold Pleasures, and such...," as Liu Ding's performance, Crossroads, Days and Nights (No Loitering), attracted viewers on the street. Afterwards , the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation President and CEO Mark Romig, Co-founder & Executive Director of Ashé Cultural Arts Center Carol Bebelle and Prospect New Orleans Executive Director Brooke Davis Anderson joined P.3 Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans on stage for opening remarks. During his statement, Sirmans challenged attendees of the biennial, asking, "What does the art do? This exhibition is a search... Finding out who you are through different people and places."
Thursday events concluded with an opening reception at the Tulane University's Newcomb Art Gallery. Drinks and hors d'oeuvres accompanied a packed gallery space, as P.3 artist Hew Locke led visitors on a walk-through of his work. Further downtown on the Esplanade Avenue Wharf, Tavares Strachan launched his 120-foot-long neon barge, You belong here. More than 100 people gathered to celebrate (with champagne) the barge's journey up the Mississippi River.
On Friday, October 24, The Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans hosted "Miss Vesta's Swamp Galaxy Gala." With more than 700 guests in attendance, the sold-out fundraiser was an enormous success, and included remarks from such notable figures as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and acclaimed actor Will Ferrell. Other attendees included Win Butler and Régine Chassange of Arcade Fire, Solange and Tina Knowles, Jenna Lyons, and upcoming Venice Biennial curator Okwui Enwezor. The gala, adorned with artwork by Dawn DeDeaux, continued festivities with music by Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots, DJ Soul Sister, Big Sam's Funky Nation, and a surprise appearance by New Orleans marching club, The Pussyfooters. During the Prospect New Orleans Awards Ceremony, accolades were given to honorees, including:
• Robert Farris Thompson, the Groundbreaker Award;
• Robert Wilson, the Clementine Hunter Award;
• Okwui Enwezor, the Colleague Award;
• Dawn DeDeaux, the Alumni Award;
• Susan Gore Brennan, the Leadership Award; and Garrett Bradley, the Artadia Award, in conjunction with Champions of Culture.
Saturday, October 25 marked P.3's official opening to the public with a celebration in Washington Square Park. Mayor Landrieu, First NBC Bank's CEO and Chairman Ashton Ryan, Prospect New Orleans Executive Director Brooke Davis Anderson and Prospect New Orleans Chairperson Susan Gore Brennan led the inaugural Ribbon Cutting, which was followed by a traditional New Orleans second line parade through the neighborhood. Immediately following, Mrs. Leah Chase, Prospect New Orleans board member and owner of Dooky Chase's Restaurant, hosted a luncheon for all attendees in the park.
About Prospect New Orleans
Prospect New Orleans is an International Arts Biennial. Its third iteration, "Prospect.3: Notes for Now," is on view through January 25, 2015. The exhibition presents the work of 58 artists selected by Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans, in 18 locations throughout neighborhoods across New Orleans. For more information, please visit www.prospectneworleans.org.
Founded on the principle that art engenders social progress, the biennial and all related events are free and open to the public.*
The biennial is open to the public through January 25, 2015 Wednesdays through Sundays, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and will be closed on the following holidays: **
• Thursday and Friday, November 27-28, 2014 (Thanksgiving)
• Wednesday and Thursday, December 24-25, 2014 (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
• Wednesday, December 31, 2014 (New Year's Eve)
• Thursday, January 1, 2015 (New Year's Day)
If traveling to New Orleans for Prospect.3 during the holidays please consider that the following have additional closures. Book your travel so as to ensure the opportunity to experience the biennial in totality. Daily information regarding open and closed venues will be posted on Prospect.3 website calendar.
• November 26-30, 2014 (Thanksgiving Holiday)
• December 20, 2014-January 4, 2015 (Winter Break)
• November 26-28, 2014 (Thanksgiving Holiday)
• December 20, 2014-January 4, 2015 (Winter Break)
• November 27-28, 2014 (Thanksgiving Holiday)
• December 20, 2014-January 3, 2015 (Winter Break)
*General admission may apply at certain participating venues. Please note that Louisiana Residents are offered free admission to the New Orleans Museum of Art on Wednesdays, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art on Thursdays, courtesy the Helis Foundation, and the CAC on Sundays courtesy of The Helis Foundation, The Hearst Foundations, and the City of New Orleans | Edward Wisner Donation.
**Longue Vue House and Gardens tours will be offered hourly from 11am-4pm Wednesday-Saturday, and from 1pm-4pm on Sunday. Upon arrival, please check in at ticket office. Additional hours available on select Sundays by appointment. For more information, please call (504) 488-5488.