Eli A. Haddow
The Historic New Orleans Collection
Sarah Chambless Federer
New Orleans, Louisiana-As part of its acclaimed exhibition about Louisiana photographer Clarence John Laughlin (1905-1985), The Historic New Orleans Collection will present two special events before the show closes on Saturday, March 25.
New Orleans Museum of Art's Freeman Family Curator of Photography Russell Lord will discuss Laughlin's vast private collection of photographic prints on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. Then, on Saturday, March 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., THNOC will host a double-feature screening of two documentaries about the eccentric artist: "The Phantasmagorical Clarence John Laughlin" (2015) by Gene Fredericks and "Clarence John Laughlin: An Artist with a Camera" (2009) by Michael Frierson and Michael Murphy. The filmmakers for both works will be present to answer questions and discuss their films at each screening.
Both events are free and will take place at THNOC's Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St., where the exhibition is on view. Registration is encouraged and may be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (504) 523-4662.
"Clarence John Laughlin and his Contemporaries: A Picture and a Thousand Words" features more than 250 letters and images exchanged between Laughlin and his peers. Gambit described the show as "a sprawling yet very personal exhibition that provides unusual depth and insight amid images ranging from [Laughlin's] most experimental to his most famous."
A Louisiana native, Laughlin ranks among the most significant artists in New Orleans history. Though his international reputation as a pioneer in experimental and surrealist photography took root during his lifetime, he was convinced of his isolation from the mainstream artistic community. His exhaustive written records and remarkable collection of images prove otherwise: Laughlin corresponded extensively and often traded photographs with his artistic peers. The exhibition encourages visitors to discover the enigmatic artist and make their own assessments of his work.
Both events will take place at THNOC's Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St. Admission is free, and the exhibition will be open during each event. Registration is encouraged, and may be made by emailing email@example.com or calling (504) 523-4662. Participants are asked to specify the programs they would like to attend when registering. More details are available at www.hnoc.org.
"Building a History of Photography: Clarence John Laughlin's Collection"
A lecture presented by Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photography at NOMA
Wednesday, February 8
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; lecture begins at 6 p.m.
While The Historic New Orleans Collection became the repository for Clarence John Laughlin's photographs and personal archive, the artist donated his private collection of photography to the New Orleans Museum of Art. At this program, Russell Lord, curator of photography at NOMA, will explore the personal history that emerges from Laughlin's collection, which exceeds 400 photographic prints, including works by Man Ray, Edward Weston, Carlotta Corpron, Imogen Cunningham, Wynn Bullock and Brassaï.
When Laughlin donated the works by other photographers, he preserved not only their work, but also his assessment of what he knew and deemed important about the pieces. Even the briefest exposure to Laughlin's work or his writing reveals that he had strong thoughts about his legacy, and he was equally particular about his own collecting habits.
A Saturday Double-Feature: Two Documentaries on Clarence John Laughlin
Saturday, March 4
Doors open at 9:30 a.m. First film begins at 9:45 a.m.; second film begins at 1:45 p.m.
Participants will be able to break for lunch independently between films from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.
"The Phantasmagorical Clarence John Laughlin" (2015)
A documentary by Gene Fredericks
Screening begins at 9:30 a.m. (Run time: 90 minutes)
Although he is remembered primarily as a photographer, Laughlin frequently described himself first as a writer, then as a book collector. Gene Fredericks's 2015 documentary "The Phantasmagorical Clarence John Laughlin" stems from a 1977 interview with Laughlin about the book collection that consumed the artist's compact Pontalba apartment. It is believed to be the only known footage of the artist and provides insight into his personality. Interviews from colleagues shed light on Laughlin and his unique approach. Following the screening, Fredericks will discuss the project and answer questions from the audience.
Guests will have the option to break for lunch independently prior to the start of the second film.
"Clarence John Laughlin: An Artist with a Camera" (2009)
A documentary by Michael Frierson and Michael Murphy
Screening begins at 1:45 p.m. (Run time: 65 minutes)
In the 2009 documentary "Clarence John Laughlin: An Artist with a Camera," filmmakers Michael Frierson and Michael Murphy chronicle Laughlin's life and career. Paying particular attention to the artist's philosophies on art, writing, collecting, architecture and more, the film also illustrates Laughlin's relentless drive to create and the importance of his legacy. Following the screening, both filmmakers will be on site to discuss their project and to take questions from the audience.
About The Historic New Orleans Collection
Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. For more information, visit www.hnoc.org or call (504) 523-4662.