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When You're Lost, Everything's A Sign: Self-Taught Art from The House of Blues
More than 100 pieces from the House of Blues art collection on view-many for the first time
NEW ORLEANS, LA - From its inception in 1992, House of Blues has maintained a deep commitment to the preservation of both American Blues music and American folk art. For 20 years, House of Blues has collected and showcased some of the finest examples of Southern vernacular art, linking it with American vernacular music traditions.
Opening April 25, 2013 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans is When You're Lost, Everything's A Sign: Self-Taught Art from The House of Blues featuring more than 100 pieces from House of Blues art collection, which itself encompasses more than 10,000 pieces and is ever-changing and expanding. The exhibition is on view through July 21, 2013.
The opening will take place 6pm-8pm during the Ogden Museum's acclaimed music series, Ogden After Hours, which that night will feature One A-Chord. A New Orleans gospel group, One A-Chord has performed at the House of Blues Gospel Brunch.
Most art in the exhibition will be curated from House of Blues venues throughout the world, while some have not been seen before. Key pieces include work by Leroy Almon, Archie Byron, Roy Ferdinand, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Rev. Howard Finster, Sybil Gibson, Mr. Imagination, Baltimore Glass Man, Calvin Livingston "The Picasso of Prattsville," BF Perkins, Mose Tolliver, Reginald Mitchell, Herbert Singleton, Lonnie Holley, James "Son Ford" Thomas (who is also a musician), Ronald Cooper, Mary T. Smith, among other artists.
"Self-taught" is a self-explanatory description of the artist's training. Materials used are as diverse as the art: cracker boxes, sawdust, clay, broken glass, guitars, tin, wood, paint, roots, shoes, teeth, marbles, chains, old TV sets, paint cans and costume jewelry.
"Like the art itself, these vernacular art forms are pure expressions of creativity from the unique culture of the South," says Ogden Museum Chief Curator Bradley Sumrall.
The exhibition title, When You're Lost, Everything's A Sign, is a folk idiom that has a dual meaning: the art was used as signs to draw people into that artist's home or store to buy art; the other, was more spiritual as many of the artists viewed their art as a way to direct someone from evil and into the path of God.
There are a number of special events planned at the Ogden Museum during this exhibition, including Visual Workshops/Day with an Artist, and Ogden Family Day: Cultural Journeys: The Rhythm Is Going To Move You!, a multi-cultural drum and dance program teaching basic percussion and dance rhythms. Many of the special events are being delivered in a partnership with the International House of Blues Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, supported by the House of Blues and Foundation Room members, which enriches young lives through the arts. Also during this time, Ogden After Hours will feature musicians such as Colin Lake (at the Ogden Museum on June 13), who performs regularly at the House of Blues in New Orleans. Check www.ogdenmuseum.org for updates. Merchandise tied into the exhibition and the artists will be available in the Ogden Museum Store.
Complementing the House of Blues exhibition, the Ogden Museum will showcase selections of Self-Taught, Outsider and Visionary Art from its Permanent Collection. This is an ongoing exhibition.