michael j. morris

14 December, 2008, 3:15 pm
Filed under: art, culture | Tags: ,

I wish I could write an exhaustive post about my experience yesterday in New Orleans with the Prospect.1 exhibit. You can read more about Prospect.1 at:
But putting together to artists, their websites/representation, and referential images of their work has taken well over an hour. I will hopefully make time to write a bit more later, but for now I offer a brief survey of my experience. 

Candace Breitz offered a 30-television video installation entitled “LEGEND (A Portrait of Bob Marley). Individuals were videoed singing along to a Bob Marley song that they were listening to through headsets, then each video was played in a different television, installed in a large rectangle like a wall. For me the piece was about commonality and diversity in community, the nuances of individuality and expression, individual voice, and the position/direction of the gaze (the videographer gazed on the subjects, but in turn, a wall of people gazed upon the viewer).
LEGEND, which you can watch on her website (which is different than an installation, but will at least give you a sense of the work) under the “Work” Section, under “Video”, and under the title “LEGEND”.

Isaac Julien presented a spectacular video installation (images below) entitled “Baltimore.” I loved it for it blatant and surprising appropriation of stylistic qualities (such a spy films, and science fiction) without integrating them into any particular narrative as plot devices. It raised questions of identity, and spatial situation, its fluidity, and its effect on identity.




Yasumasa Morimura had a series of large photographs, including both of those below. She also had a wonderful video in which she was dressed as Hitler, and both imitated him and spoke about the concept of tyranny and the tyrant. She said specifically that the tyrant of today has no face or nation, but that we ourselves are the tyrants of ourselves and one another. Which was provocative when paired with her costume.



Pierre et Gilles was a beautifully rare experience. I have seen images of their exquisite photographs for years, but this was the first time I saw them in person. Their work is extremely homoerotic, and examines/embodies the practice of portraiture and iconography. A large collection of their work was included, and besides the extremely attractive subject matter, their treatment of surface (they paint details on the surfaces of their photographs) was just lovely. The photos below are not recent work, but very indicative of their style.



Skylar Kein presented a multimedia installation of an entire room+hallway entitled “Remember the UpStairs Lounge,” enshrining the UpStairs Lounge, aNew Orleans  gay bar that was burned down in 1973, killing half the bar’s customers. For me the piece had to do with remembering the times from which we have come as well as the times in which we live, and reexamining both in the context of the other. It was a fun space tinged with deep trauma. Images of his other work are below.


I hope you are inspired by some of these artists, as I was, and hope you take time to more deeply explore them as time and inclination allow.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This looks like it was fantastic, wish I could have seen in person. Would love to have seen/heard the Bob Marley installation. Look forward to hearing more. Did I mention my idea for a piece with four men titled Gaze in the Fog?” or perhaps, “The Critical Gaze.” This would incorporate the sound image I’ve been having of four men w/their bare backs to the audience, singing. Interested? Is this offensive? Thoughts?

Comment by mahiree

I don’t know if you realized, you can watch the LEGEND piece on the artist’s website. I know it isn’t the same, but you can watch the video. If you want.

I love the idea of a piece called “The Critical Gaze.” I don’t know your timeframe. . . and I’m not even sure what four men you would use. . . Maungsai, me, James and Eran? Or maybe Daniel? Would love to hear more about it.

Thanks for reading/writing.

Comment by morrismichaelj

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