Seventy-eight original works, 48 artists: the 2016 Louisiana Contemporary presented by the Helis Foundation debuted at a VIP reception at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art on Friday (Aug. 5). The exhibition officially opens tonight during Whitney White Linen Night.
Dureau was born in New Orleans’ Irish Channel neighborhood in 1930, about four miles from the city’s French Quarter, where he spent the majority of his life making paintings, sculptures, and photographs — both in the studio and on the street. Forty years of Dureau’s portraits have recently been published in a new Aperture book, The Photographs, a volume that arrives over 30 years after Dureau’s only other book was published in 1985.
[George] Dureau began taking pictures in the nineteen-sixties, with a Hasselblad. He did not think of photography as a “total” artistic medium, the way drawing and painting were, but his photographs are his best work, maybe because it’s the work he cared less about. His drawings and paintings are romantic in a different way; they are too suffused with his sensibility, or self-regard. The camera gave him a certain distance, and the pictures a moral ambiguity or weight that’s missing in his other work…
In 2012, Higher Pictures in New York exhibited a selection of George Dureau’s photographs of New Orleans locals shot between 1973 and 1986. Dureau traveled in the high art world but also allowed his work to be displayed in the legendary leather-S/M magazine Drummer. That exhibit, thankfully, sparked renewed interest in Dureau’s work, which led to a new monograph, George Dureau: The Photographs, published by Aperture in June of this year.
Since the late 1970s, New Orleans artist Jim Richard has been making paintings, drawings, and collages in which art-stuffed modernist interiors melt into multihued graphic fields. Devoid of inhabitants, his signature claustrophobic spaces are visual essays on taste and influence, composed as if with maximum disorientation in mind.
James Drake is interested in systems, the micro- and the macrocosmic. Having recently opened the show Drawing, Reading, and Counting at Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans (May 7 – June 18), the Texas-born, Santa Fe-based artist is still at work within a system he created for himself over four years ago; creating numbered drawings on nineteen by twenty-four inch paper every day.
George Dureau, The Photographs is an album of the great photographic portraits made throughout the forty years of Dureau’s artistic career—a New Orleans romance between the photographer and his subjects.
Dapper Bruce LaFitte, formerly Bruce Davenport, Jr., at the Atlanta Contemporary | May 19 – August 7, 2016
Jacqueline Bishop: Climate Strange – a FestivalSpeaks! lecture at the University of Southern Mississippi | June 3, 2016
Lesley Dill: Myth and Menagerie at The Gershman Gallery | April 24 – July 22, 2016