There are four great reasons to spend time on New Orleans' legendary Esplanade Avenue, at 2326 Esplanade, and surrounding cultural sites during the closing days of Prospect 5, the New Orleans Triennial, from noon until five, on January 17 – 23.

     REDART is the most recent permutation of work by artist and planner Robert C.Tannen whose lifelong focus on environmental issues began as a teenager making sculptures from debris on the beaches of Coney Island where he was raised. Consumer objects doused in red now warn of consumerism's contribution to climate change, and underscore the dominance of Chinese manufacturing. REDART populates the ample garden surrounding Tannen and his wife Jeanne Nathan’s 19th century home in Treme, New Orleans. Tannen has placed the reddened refrigerators, washing machines, generators and more throughout the garden/jungle surrounding the 19th century house. Ironically, the garden's canopy consists of beautiful but invasive Chinese Fan Palms that started with one small plant, now innumerable.

     Tannen first showed environmentally themed work at artists' collectives on East 10th Street in New York City, including the Tanager Gallery, March and Brata Galleries in 1956-57. At 18 and 19 at the time, he was the youngest of the artists showing at the collectives that initiated the movement of American abstract expressionist art. He was presenting work best described as conceptual. He called it pre-conceptual since it preceded the conceptual movement. He exhibited wrapped objects there before Christo. His exhibitions of animals in formaldehyde were exhibited in the 1960s, before Damien Hirst. He built monumental concrete block constructions before Sol LeWitt.

     Since residing in New Orleans beginning in 1971, he has shown work revealing the significance of the city's diverse architecture, infrastructure and neighborhoods and their response to the challenges of the environmental threats here, even as he worked as project director for the planning and siting of the second bridge over the Mississippi in New Orleans; the identification and protection of the historic neighborhoods of New Orleans; planning for Riverwalk, a festival marketplace at the river and a suburban style market in the heart of downtown New Orleans, adjacent to the Superdome. He sited the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition and planned for the residual uses of its riverfront site after the fair and sitied the Arena adjacent to the Superdome and a million square foot regional distribution center in the Almonaster-Michoud Industrial District. 

     His large ubiquitous sheet metal shotgun houses have been shown at galleries and museums since 1974. His large fiberglass fishes perched on their bills have influenced other artists including Frank Gehry. In a response to the House Floats that replaced Mardi Gras parades during the Covid pandemic last year, he hung a casting of a 1,018 lb Blue Marlin, the largest ever caught by a woman in the Gulf, Linda Koerner, "afloat" from the balcony of 2326 Esplanade. The house contains Tannen's home and studio, and his wife Jeanne Nathan's headquarters for the Creative Alliance of New Orleans, (CANO), an arts and economic development advocacy non-profit aimed at increasing support for the creative industries sector of the city's economy. The Marlin's placement, as well as the red soaked buoy on the sidewalk in front of the house warn that Esplanade, despite sitting atop a prehistoric river ridge, may be underwater in the future. 

     Also in the garden is a work by landscape architect and artist Robin Tanner, no relation to Tannen, except for receiving each other's mail. His Liberaguity, is a reimagining of the material, color and configuration of the American Flag. Tanner, best known for his landscape design including the beautiful Enrique Alferez Garden and the Japanese garden in City Park where Esplanade Avenue gives way to what once was a plantation, has also recently placed a labyrinthian work in the Crevasse 22 | River House sculpture garden in Poydras, Louisiana adjacent to the Mississippi River. Crevasse 22 began life as a pop-up sculpture garden for Prospect 3.


     CANO offered art to promote donations during the recent citywide givenoladay fund drive. Art was also offered to people who filled in a survey to help CANO collect information about the state of the creative industries in New Orleans, informing a strategic plan for the city's creative industries sector. The plan will include recommendations for better support and investment in this sector, and help creatives to build sustainable careers in New Orleans. 

    The Covid Delta variant surge delayed plans to invite people to come by 2326 Esplanade to pick up their art. With the REDART show, it is perfect timing to invite them to come by for their art and enjoy the exhibition, as well as some libations and treats. With most of the exhibit outdoors in an expansive garden that extends from Esplanade to Barracks Street, there is plenty of room for a safe visit. 

     With a special viewing of Tannen's prints and drawings in flat files in the foyer of the house, those with proof of vaccination may enter the museum-like-home filled with not only works by Tannen, but many other regional and international artists. Paper and selected works are available for purchase. The neighborhood is part of a cultural district, so all sales are tax free. For those who did not either contribute or take the survey, the gift art is also for sale, and is tax deductible. 

     ART HOME NEW ORLEANS CULTURAL TOURS, a CANO program, offers year-round opportunities for visitors to see the cultural richness of America's first black neighborhood, Treme and Esplanade Ridge, as well as neighborhoods throughout the city, including artists’ studios, private collections, museums, galleries, parks, and the New Orleans African American Museum at 1418 Governor NIcholls Street which serves as the hub for the Prospect 5 official program, just 8 blocks away from the REDART exhibition at 2326 Esplanade. New Orleans has a uniquely indigenous art scene, with culture bearers keeping three centuries of cultural, including Native American roots alive on every block.

    With creatives streaming into New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, initially to help, but then many staying, they added new cultural themes into the richly diverse cultural life of the city. Prospect is the perfect opportunity to see the curated work of the citywide triennial, as well as dig deeper into the city's unique culture. 

     Need any more reasons to visit? Esplanade Avenue is one of the most beautiful Boulevards in America, maybe the world. 


CANO: The Creative Alliance of New Orleans has the mission to provide training, education, and information for creative artists, cultural producers and the community, to protect our cultural legacy and to promote the revitalization of the city as a cultural and economic center.

Prospect 5: Every three years, we invite artists from all over the world to create projects in a wide variety of venues spread throughout New Orleans. We bring new art to an old city, both inviting artists from around the globe to engage with New Orleans and raising the voices of artists who represent the Global South. Many Prospect projects are rooted in social justice issues and the city of New Orleans itself. Each iteration of Prospect is organized by a leading voice in the curatorial field. For residents and visitors alike, Prospect is an invitation to experience the city through the eyes of artists.

NOAAM: The mission of the New Orleans African American Museum is to preserve the history and elevate the art, culture, and contributions of African Americans in New Orleans and the African Diaspora.