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Music Box Rewind, Flash Mob Highlight St. Claude's Second Saturday Art Openings
by Brad Rhines
While the Contemporary Arts Center will be closed this weekend for a Hollywood film shoot, St. Claude Avenue will be bustling with their monthly second-Saturday openings. Among the events this weekend are a reprise of last fall’s acclaimed Piety Street installation “Music Box: A Shantytown Sound Laboratory” and a collaborative performance event called “Posing Process,” an on-going piece originally conceived for and installed in the CAC, but recently removed and relocated in the wake of the CAC protests.
Back in October, the Music Box was just coming together, as artists and musicians put the finishing touches on an entire village of sound and sculpture.
The project was originally initiated by Callie Curry, better known to some as Brooklyn-based street artist Swoon. Downtown art collective The New Orleans Airlift kept the ball rolling, bringing in artists and musicians from New Orleans and beyond to contribute to both the shantytown and a series of nighttime concerts conducted by Quintron, which included a wide array of musicians like Mannie Fresh, Andrew W.K., and Helen Gillet. The Music Box performances sold out quickly and garnered attention from a number of national and international media outlets, including NPR, the New York Times, and artnet.
On Saturday, as both a spring awakening and a last call, the Music Box will re-open to the public, giving visitors an opportunity to explore the shantytown and interact with the artists, many of whom will be on hand to demonstrate pieces like the heartbeat-triggered percussion machine, the organ staircase, and the weather sensitive oscillators. The Music Box will remain open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays through June 2. A final performance is planned for early June, after which the shantytown will be dismantled.
Elsewhere, a recent tilt between a group of St. Claude artists and the CAC adds to the energy of Saturday’s art walk, as the vibrant downtown arts district continues to stake their claim as the city’s actual center for contemporary art. Also on Saturday, a flash mob will assemble at St. Claude gallery The Front as part of a project developed by artists Lala Rascic and Sophie T. Lvoff. The project is called “Posing Process,” and was initially organized for the Spaces exhibition at the CAC, which included work from a number of St. Claude artists and galleries. When the CAC confirmed the exhibition would be closed for five days to accommodate a movie shoot, Rascic, in an email to NoDef and others, wondered “are our efforts then relevant or appreciated?”
Rascic and Lvoff, along with a small group of like-minded artists, decided to remove their installation and performances from the CAC. Rascic wrote, “I join in the sentiment about the necessary reform of CAC's programming and content, better transparency, and a stronger development…We need a CAC that by establishing itself as a respectful and nationally and internationally relevant institution makes all our other efforts relevant.”
“Posing Process” continues to develop outside of the CAC, as the artists organize a series of flash mobs to investigate the notion of a collective action and the energy it generates. On Saturday, “Action 4,” a movement choreographed by Chard Gonzalez, will take place at The Front gallery, 4100 St. Claude. The performance starts at 9:00, but those who want to participate are instructed to show up at 8:30, meet in front of The Front on Mazant Street, and find the woman in the red pants. More information about the project and flash mob is available here.
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