Editor’s note: Southern Glossary is a web-based magazine experimenting with different approaches to arts coverage. Just over a year old, they have recently collected the best of their features all on one page. Southern Glossary and NolaVie usually partner on a monthly Last Call column to give readers fair warning to catch an event before it’s lights out. This month, however, we’re taking a look at some highlights of the annual White Linen Night art walk on Julia Street.
The temperatures will be high on Saturday night, but that usually doesn’t thin the crowd at the Whitney White Linen Night, one of the city’s premiere art walk events and a fundraiser for the Contemporary Art Center. Thousands of patrons will be well-dressed in white (whether in traditional suits or outlandish, artsy outfits) and walking the museums and galleries near Julia Street. Here’s my recommendation of what shows you should linger at longer than the surging crowd might.
Louisiana Contemporary – Ogden Museum of Southern Art
This annual, juried exhibit presents work from artists with Louisiana roots who are working today in all mediums. Over thirty artists are featured, including painter Aron Belka, photographer L. Kasimu Harris (whose stills made it into the opening credits of HBO’s Treme), sculptor Ti-Rock Moore (whose work Fly Over is pictured above), and photographer David Armentor. Also opening Saturday is a retrospective of the long career of Rolland Golden, a native of New Orleans whose life in the deep South inspired the bold colors and unique perspectives applied to his landscapes.
Gordon Parks: Segregation Story – Arthur Rogers Gallery
Gordon Parks made a name for himself as a high-profile photographer at a time when many African-Americans were struggling to subsist in the post-WWII years. As a longtime staff photographer and writer for LIFE magazine, Parks got to document all walks of life from fashion models to the more humble families of the South. Segregation Story collects fifteen photos shot for an essay about African-Americans living in rural Alabama during the Jim Crow era, some of which have never been published. If you were a fan of the Parks exhibit Makings of an Argument last year at the New Orleans Museum of Art, you’ll want to check this one out as well.
Mitchell Lonas: Balance & Perception – Callan Contemporary
Taking all sorts of natural phenomenon as his subjects — trees, waterfalls, feathers, birds’ nests — Tennessee native Mitchell Lonas creates large-scale works by painting over metallic surfaces, then incising them with custom tools. The results are highly detailed, expressive artworks. Each mark has to count; there’s no erasing or painting over errant cuts. There’s a faint callback to scientific illustrations in his work, but Lonas’ images exist in their own world with their interior flourishes of light.
Mark of the Feminine – Contemporary Arts Center
The Contemporary Art Center is debuting a group show curated by Regine Basha. Earlier this year the CAC invited female and female-identifying artists from the New Orleans region to submit work that touched on any aspect of femininity. Basha said, “the Mark of the ‘Feminine’ is not necessarily a narrative theme show, or a feminist manifesto, but more like a question about the term itself, posed to the artists of New Orleans.” Around thirty artists were selected out of almost 350 applicants, including printmaker Meg Turner; Nikki Rosato, who intricately cuts road maps into figures and silhouettes; painter Ronna Harris; and photographer Jennifer Shaw. The resulting show presents multiple mediums and themes that include maternity, empowerment, gender ambiguity, body image, and age.
The galleries and outside food and drink vendors are open until 9 PM. There’s always an after party at the CAC with more food, booze, and dance music blaring off the main lobby walls, but if you’re ready to sit down, cool down, and maybe peel off that white linen jacket, I always recommend the Circle Bar.
Ryan Sparks is the editor of Southern Glossary.