October 4, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 4, 2019

THE CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER NEW ORLEANS ANNOUNCES ITS FALL 2019 VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS SEASON

With identity as a thematic thread, the season is anchored by a year-long exhibition of Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires, featuring new work that explores the racial, political, and feminine identity of Black Women.

(NEW ORLEANS, LA - October 4, 2019) – The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), New Orleans today announced its 2019 Fall Season, beginning with Southern Crossings, a showcase of new works by CAC artists-in-residence during Art for Arts’ Sake on Saturday, October 5, 2019. Southern Crossings will feature Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever by Leyla McCalla and Kiyoko McCrae, Raw Fruit by Kesha McKey & KM Dance Project, and Requiem for a Stranger by Vagabond Inventions in collaboration with Renee Benson.

Continuing the CAC’s commitment to presenting cutting-edge contemporary art from around the world, and highlighting women artists, the CAC’s visual arts 2019 exhibition season begins with the critically-acclaimed Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires, on view from November 2, 2019 through June 14, 2020.  Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires is an exhibition of new work—collages and montages by the New York-based Mickalene Thomas. Spanning new painting, film, and photography, the works include references to pop culture and the long history of Western and African Art—from Edouard Manet’s odalisque figures to the mise-en-scène studio portraiture of James Van Der Zee and Malick Sidibé. Thomas’ ability to detect and to hold contradictions translates into powerful, self-possessed depictions of Black women that confront and subvert stereotypes. In dialogue with collages and montages by artists notably including Pablo Picasso and Romare Bearden. Thomas’s work uses juxtaposition and arrangement to explore cross-cultural, social, and personal histories. Co-organized by Andrea Andersson, The Helis Foundation Chief Curator of Visual Arts at the CAC New Orleans and Julie Crooks (AGO Toronto), this exhibition is transnational in its structure and logic, exploring the identity construction of women of the global African diaspora. Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires  is accompanied by a catalogue, co-edited by Andrea Andersson and Julie Crooks (AGO), and co-imprinted by the AGO and Goose Lane Press. 

Amplifying Thomas’s work is Femmes Féroces: Material Life X Femmes Noires, a collaborative pop-up between Mickalene Thomas and Carla Williams of the New Orleans-based emporium Material Life and Laa Ray Guillory.  Occupying the Oval Gallery and cafe space in the CAC Atrium, Femmes Féroces celebrates the creativity and originality of our collective community of “femmes noires” —who, borrowing from the 100 Black Females Project, we define as “…all who express and identify themselves as a woman, girl, femme, female, trans, queen on any day or all days,” states Carla Williams. Femmes Féroces will be on view from November 2, 2019 through June 14, 2020.

New Orleans-based visual artist Meg Turner will present Meg Turner: Here and Now, an exhibition of 100 portrait tintypes of artists, activists, teachers, schoolmates, friends, lovers, and near-strangers, as part of an immersive installation echoing the early roadside stations of the oft-mythologized American highway. With offerings for both subsistence and pleasure, Turner invites the public to join the photographic record of a fragile and political queer utopia. Meg Turner: Here and Now will be on view from November 2, 2019 through April 12, 2020. 

        Akosua Adoma Owusu, a Ghanian-American filmmaker, producer, and cinematographer whose films and installations address the collision of identities, rounds out the CAC’s exploration of identity with  Welcome to the Jungle, the first exhibition to screen her “hair trilogy” films adapted for a full-room installation. Owusu examines the construction of historical memory and cultural identity through archival material, direct animation, and staged scenes. Akosua Adoma Owusu: Welcome to the Jungle will be on view November 2, 2019 through February 2, 2020. 

    “The exhibitions of this season stand as a testament to the fact that identities are neither fixed nor created once and for all. Rather, they are constructed through an evolving process and practice of borrowing, filtering, adapting, and collaborating. Indeed, no identity is forged in isolation. We are proud to present the work of these artists with this notion of identity and community in mind,” states Andrea Andersson. 

 

The CAC is thrilled to welcome the award-winning Melissa Aldana Quartet for two performances, Friday-Saturday, November 22-23, 2019 at 7:30 pm. An internationally-touring saxophonist, composer, bandleader, producer, and educator, Melissa Aldana connects her work to the legacy of Latina artists who have come before her, creating a pathway for her own expression. This performance will feature music from her most recent album, Visions, released in May 2019 to critical acclaim. Inspired by the life and works of Frida Kahlo, Aldana creates a parallel between her experiences as a female saxophone player in a male-dominated community, and Kahlo’s experiences as a female visual artist working to assert herself in a landscape dominated by men.    

 

In keeping with the CAC’s commitment to collaborate and support artists in the New Orleans community, the CAC is proud to host New Orleans Airlift’s 10th Anniversary Celebration on November 9, 2019. New Orleans Airlift was founded by musician and artist manager Jay Pennington and multi-media installation artist Delaney Martin as an artist-driven collaborative initiative to inspire wonder, connect communities, and foster opportunities through education and the creation of experimental public artworks in the city of New Orleans and across the globe. Alumni artists who have generously shared their time and creativity with New Orleans Airlift and our city are returning to revisit old friends and create new work on a grand scale, indoors and out. Avey Tare and Deakin, of experimental pop band Animal Collective, return to screen an exclusive excerpt from their 2018 performance in the Music Box Village, and to perform on Airlift’s traveling musical architecture installation Porch Life, back to back with Grammy winners Lost Bayou Ramblers. 

2014’s Bounce Meets Vogue Ball enters its second round with new music by Drake collaborator Ha Sizzle and “Pose” creator Jack Mizrahi, along with special performances by Vogue and Bounce powerhouses Jack Mizrahi, DJ MikeQ, Kevin JZ Prodigy and Sinia Alaia plus Katey Red and more local Bounce and Vogue artists. 

Car fanatics the Louisiana Whipz, the 504 Boyz Horse Riding Club, Caramel Curves motorcycle club, plus Chief Ifáṣèyí Bamgbàlà and other members of New Orleans public ceremonial culture will show out on feet, wheels and hoofs to celebrate the multiple projects they’ve created with Airlift honoring the pageantry of  New Orleans’ truly unique street scene in an outdoor/indoor Tableaux Vivant, reminiscent of Rally Under the Bridge and Public Practice, directed by Ifátùmínínú Bamgbàlà Arẹ̀sà and Airlift co-founder Delaney Martin.

Also in honor of New Orleans Airlift’s tenth anniversary, the CAC presents the installation From New Water Music, on view from November 2, 2019 through February 2, 2020 in the CAC’s atrium. From New Water Music features remaindered materials and excerpted sound recordings from Airlift's April 8, 2017 performance, New Water Music. The original free, public performance on Lake Pontchartrain of composer Yotam Haber's score took inspiration from Handel's Water Music, famously performed on the River Thames for King George I in 1717. Conceived and executed by New Orleans Airlift, New Water Music was performed from the water by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and hundreds of community musicians in a spectacular choreographed visual presentation. Conducting with naval semaphore flags and in occasional Morse Code from the shore, Haber paid tribute to traditional Louisiana music, including Cajun accordion and African-American spirituals.

In the regatta beyond, a procession of fishing boats and vessels unfolded under the artistic direction of New Orleans Airlift's Delaney Martin. For months Martin worked with teams of artists and designers to create over three hundred costume pieces and original flag designs for musicians, participants, and shrimp and oyster boats. New Water Music was at once an art and music performance and an orchestration of so many who work daily on the frontline of our coastal crisis, including fishermen, environmental organizations, and members of the Houma Nation. The CAC is proud to present this installation as an incomplete history of a cultural institution, whose complex practice spans disciplines and boundaries.

The CAC’s fall season concludes with a community collaboration with the New Orleans School of Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker in New Orleans, a New Orleans-influenced presentation of an annual holiday favorite, Friday, December 20 through Sunday, December 22, 2019.

“It’s fitting to celebrate a new era at the CAC with works in progress by local artists being developed right within our walls and to help fête the wild imagination of our colleagues at Airlift.  We are also extremely proud to be introducing a young voice in jazz, a woman from the Global South, to our audiences. We are delighted to partner with these artists and organizations, recognizing their contributions to the creativity of our city,” notes Director & Curator of Performing Arts Laurie Uprichard.

All events take place at the Contemporary Arts Center at 900 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA. Galleries are open Wednesday-Monday, 11am-5pm, General Admission is $10/$8 Students & Seniors, Free to CAC Members, Free on Sundays for Louisiana residents, Courtesy of The Helis Foundation.  Advance Tickets are available at the CAC Box Office, 900 Camp Street and online at www.cacno.org or by calling 504 525-2580.  CAC Members receive free admission to the galleries, discounts for performances and early seating. Join at cacno.org.   

About the CAC:

The CAC is a multidisciplinary arts center that is dedicated to the presentation, production, and promotion of the art of our time. As a cultural leader, it organizes, presents, and tours curated exhibitions, performances and programs by local, regional, national, and international artists. It demonstrates proactive local and regional leadership by educating children and adults, cultivating and growing audiences, and initiating and encouraging collaboration among diverse artists, institutions, communities, and supporters.

Media Contact:

Laura Belinda Tennyson

Associate Director of External Affairs

ltennyson@cacno.org

(504) 319-9943

 

CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER FALL 2019 SEASON 

-Visual Arts Exhibition-

OPEN CALL EXHIBITION: IDENTITY MEASURES

On View: August, 3 - October 5, 2019

$10 Admission/CAC Members Free Admission. Free on Sundays for Louisiana residents, courtesy of the Helis Foundation

The Helis Foundation First Floor Galleries

Identity Measures presents a diverse group of 23 local and regional artists working in a range of material practices that engage identity not as a fixed structure, but as an insistently mobile and often resistant assemblage of traits and vulnerabilities. This exhibition is guest-curated by Jordan Amirkhani.

 

-Performing Arts-

CAC's ART FOR ARTS’ SAKE

SOUTHERN CROSSINGS: A SHOWCASE OF THE CAC’S ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE

Saturday October 5, 2019, 5:30 - 10:00 pm

Admission is free and open to the public - RSVP at cacno.org/afas2019

CAC Warehouse 

6:30 PM - Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever by Leyla McCalla and Kiyoko McCrae

Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is a multidisciplinary performance set to new music by Haitian-American singer-songwriter Leyla McCalla, exploring the legacy of Radio Haiti-Inter, Haiti’s first privately owned Kreyol-speaking radio station, and the assassination of its owner, Jean Dominique, in 2000. Note: Leyla McCalla will not perform as part of this showcase.

7:15 PM - Raw Fruit by Kesha McKey and KM Dance Project

Raw Fruit is a multidisciplinary work in development led by KM Dance Project Artistic Director, Kesha McKey and Associate Director Catherine Caldwell. It is a collection of stories that reveal the essence of ancestral values which have been woven into the cultural fabric of our lives.

8:00 PM - Requiem for a Stranger by Vagabond Inventions, featuring Renee Benson

Requiem for a Stranger is a devised work in development by physical theater company Vagabond Inventions, in collaboration with Singer/Composer Renee Benson, exploring the nature of grief – both personal and cultural -- in the heartspace of humans. 

 

-Film-

The 30th Annual New Orleans Film Festival

Thursday, October 16 - 23, 2019 

CAC Warehouse

The CAC is proud to serve as the official Festival Hub for the 30th Annual New Orleans Film Festival. New Orleans shines ever brighter as an epicenter of culture and creativity during the annual New Orleans Film Festival, with 500+ filmmakers from every corner of the world attending 230+ films. For more information, visit www.neworleansfilmsociety.org 

 

-Visual Arts Exhibition-

MICKALENE THOMAS: FEMMES NOIRES

On View: November 2, 2019 - June 14, 2020

$10 Admission/CAC Members Free Admission. Free on Sundays for Louisiana residents, courtesy of the Helis Foundation

The Helis Foundation First Floor Galleries

Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires is an exhibition of new work—collages and montages by Mickalene Thomas that confront and subvert stereotypes with powerful, self-possessed depictions of Black women. 

 

-Visual Arts Exhibition-

FEMMES FÉROCES: MATERIAL LIFE X FEMMES NOIRES

On View:  Saturday, November 2, 2019 - June 14, 2020

$10 Admission/CAC Members Free Admission. Free on Sundays for Louisiana residents, courtesy of the Helis Foundation

CAC Oval Gallery, 1st Floor

A collaborative pop-up between Material Life and Mickalene Thomas, Femmes Féroces celebrates the creativity and originality of our collective community of femmes noires—who, borrowing from the 100 Black Females Project, we define as “…all who express and identify themselves as a woman, girl, femme, female, trans, queen on any day or all days,” states Carla Williams.  Realized in collaboration with Mickalene Thomas through a creative partnership between Carla Williams, founder and owner of New Orleans-based emporium Material Life, and New Orleans-based artist Lee Laa Ray Guillory, Femmes Féroces celebrates black women creatives in every aspect.

 

-Visual Arts Exhibition-

MEG TURNER: HERE AND NOW

On View November 2, 2019 - April 12, 2020

$10 Admission/CAC Members Free Admission. Free on Sundays for Louisiana residents, courtesy of the Helis Foundation

CAC Second Floor Galleries

Meg Turner: Here and Now is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. The installation, including over 100 portrait tintypes of artists, activists, teachers, school mates, friends, lovers, and near-strangers, documents a self-selected community who over the past five years have elected to participate in Turner’s photographic photographic record of a fragile and political queer utopia.

 

-Visual Arts Exhibition-

AKOSUA ADOMA OWUSU: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE 

On View: November 2, 2019 - February 2, 2020

$10 Admission/CAC Members Free Admission. Free on Sundays for Louisiana residents, courtesy of the Helis Foundation

2nd Floor Gallery

Akosua Adoma Owusu is a Ghanian-American filmmaker, producer, and cinematographer whose films and installations address the collision of identities. Often combining personal ethnography and cultural representations of beauty in her work, Owusu transitions between avant-garde cinema, fine art, and African tradition. Welcome to the Jungle is the first exhibition to screen the artist’s “hair trilogy” films adapted for a full-room installation, examining the construction of historical memory and cultural identity through archival material, direct animation, and staged scenes.

 

-Visual Arts Exhibition-

NEW ORLEANS AIRLIFT: FROM NEW WATER MUSIC

On View: November 2, 2019 - February 2, 2020

Admission is free and open to the public

CAC Atrium

In 2009, New Orleans Airlift was founded by musician and artist manager Jay Pennington and multi-media installation artist Delaney Martin, as an artist-driven collaborative initiative – to inspire wonder, connect communities and foster opportunities through education and the creation of experimental public artworks in the city of New Orleans and across the globe. In honor of New Orleans Airlift’s tenth anniversary, the CAC presents the installation, From New Water Music, including remaindered materials and excerpted sound recordings from Airlift’s April 8, 2017 performance, New Water Music. 

 

-Special Event- 

NEW ORLEANS AIRLIFT 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

Saturday, November 9, 2019

$30 General Admission / $25 for CAC Members / $70 VIP Tickets Buy Tickets >

CAC Warehouse

In keeping with the CAC’s commitment to collaborate with and support artists in the New Orleans community, join us for a celebration of New Orleans Airlift's 10th anniversary at the CAC. Alumni artists who have generously shared their time and creativity with New Orleans Airlift and our city will return to revisit old friends and create new work on a grand scale, through reprises of Airlift projects including New Water Music, Rally Under the Bridge, Public Practice, Music Box Village, Animal Collective, Bounce Meets Vogue Ball, and many others. This event will be accompanied by an exhibition entitled From New Water Music in the CAC atrium, on view November 2, 2019 - February 2, 2020.

 

-Music- 

Melissa Aldana Quartet

Friday, November 22  & Saturday, November 23, 2019, 7:30PM

$25 for CAC Members / $30 General Admission. Buy Tickets >

CAC Black Box Theater

An internationally-touring saxophonist, composer, bandleader, producer, and educator, Melissa Aldana connects her work to the legacy of Latina artists who have come before her, creating a pathway for her own expression. In her recently-released album Visions, Aldana draws inspiration from the life and works of female visual artist Frida Kahlo to create a parallel between her own experiences as a female musician in a male-dominated community.

 

Community Collaborations

-Dance/Theater- 

New Orleans School of Ballet presents The Nutcracker in New Orleans

Friday, December 20 - Sunday, December 22, 2019

(Dec. 20, 7:30 pm; Dec. 21, 2 pm & 7:30 pm; Dec. 22, 2 pm & 5 pm)

$20 CAC Members/$25 General Admission. Buy Tickets >

CAC Black Box Theater

In keeping with the CAC’s commitment to collaborate with and support artists in the New Orleans community, New Orleans School of Ballet comes to the CAC this holiday season with its original production of The Nutcracker in New Orleans: your favorite holiday classic, staged with a New Orleans twist! Set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, the localized production includes the Flight of the Pelicans, a Mardi Gras Strut, dancing Who Dats in black and gold shaking pom-poms, and more!

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