Louis Armstrong in His Den, 1969. 5″x7″ Photograph. Courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum.

Preview Weekend: November 16-19
Swamp Galaxy Gala: November 17
Open to the Public: November 18, 2017- February 25, 2018


NEW ORLEANS, LA—The fourth iteration of Prospect New Orleans’ international contemporary art triennial, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, opens to the public on Saturday, November 18, 2017 and runs through February 25, 2018 aligning with the City of New Orleans’s Tricentennial celebration.

Led by Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp brings together 73 artists from North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the European powers that colonized New Orleans, addressing issues of identity, displacement and cultural hybridity within the context of the celebration of the city’s Tricentennial.

Thirty two artists are creating work specifically for the exhibition, and approximately 10% of the selected artists hail from the New Orleans area. To enact this ambitious vision, Schoonmaker was aided by an Artistic Director’s Council of seven international artists and curators who will contribute to the project’s publication and participate in public programming surrounding the exhibition.

“New Orleans has such a unique cultural hybridity that is evidenced in its customs, food, music, architecture, language, and spirituality. Additionally, racial and economic inequity, social justice, the displacement and migration of its people, and the ecology of New Orleans are all issues that connect it to the Global South,” said Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker. “I’ve selected artists whose work makes connections between the city of New Orleans and other parts of the world.

This relationship between the local and the global is increasingly important today, but I’ve also emphasized it because 2018 is the Tricentennial celebration of the founding of New Orleans and the city has strong ties in particular to Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, in addition to Europe.”


Mark Dion, The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist, 2017. Installation view at Algiers Point, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. © Crista Rock


Prospect.4 will take place across 17 venues throughout the city of New Orleans including the city’s storied institutions; the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, Historic New Orleans Collection, and the Jazz Museum at the Old US Mint, as well as interventions in unexpected destinations.

Special highlights for Prospect.4 include an emphasis on the city’s riverfront along the Mississippi river in an exciting route that includes the recently opened Crescent Park, in partnership with the French Market Corporation, where installations by Radcliffe BaileyHồng-Ân TrươngJennifer Odem, and Runo Lagomarsino are sited between the river and the train tracks.

Further upriver, the Riverfront Streetcar Line, will feature new work by artist Derrick Adams inspired by French Quarter street tappers, as well as part of a citywide reprisal of Yoko Ono’s Have You Seen the Horizon Lately.

The Algiers Ferry plays a role in Odili Donald Odita’s citywide flag project, Indivisible and Invincible: Monument to Black Liberation and Celebration in New Orleans. The ferry will bring visitors across the Mississippi River to Algiers Point, a new Prospect site, where visitors will find Mark Dion’s installation, The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist, a detailed imaginary replica of an aquatic biologist’s field station that speaks to the ecology of the river and Mississippi delta.

John Akomfrah, Precarity, 2017. Three channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound. Dimensions variable. © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.


Notably, music runs through Prospect.4, which includes the artistic collages of jazz legend Louis Armstrong, shown in the artist’s birthplace of New Orleans for the first time at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, together with a new interactive sculpture by Rashid Johnson, artworks by artist and musician Satch Hoyt, and the work of Big Chief Darryl Montana of the Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indian tribe.

Additionally, artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah will premiere an original feature length three-channel documentary about Buddy Bolden, the New Orleans-born cornetist widely accepted as the progenitor of jazz music and Quintron & Ms. Pussycat will perform their peculiar local brand of music and performance, both at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Naama Tsabar will present a new Composition performance, Composition 21, featuring twenty-one local musicians arranged into 4 bands performing separate musical pieces commissioned especially by the artist.

“New Orleans is such fertile ground for music; it provides a unique opportunity to work with a broad range of international artists who use music as a way to engage people and bring them together, and to explore specific histories, cultural traditions and pressing social issues,” said Schoonmaker.

Additionally, the great hall of the New Orleans Museum of Art features a large installation of twelve portraits by Barkley L. Hendricks that functions as an informal tribute to the late artist.

The oil paintings included in the exhibition range from 1970-2016 and are largely unknown as they have been borrowed from private collections. While Hendricks has recently been recognized as a giant of American painting, this will be the first time that his works have been exhibited in New Orleans.

Above: Barkley Hendricks, installation views of Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp at New Orleans Museum of Art. © Mike Smith


With over 80% of participating artists in New Orleans, Prospect.4 opens with conversations, events, and performances including the Swamp Galaxy Gala, honoring native Louisiana artist Lynda Benglis, Prospect New Orleans founding board member and noted Africanist William Fagaly, and director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem Thelma Golden. Additionally, posthumous awards will be presented to artist Barkley L. Hendricks, whose work is featured in Prospect.4 and the late executive director of the Bronx Museum Holly Block. The weekend concludes on Sunday with “Levee Stream” a day-long, street-corner, pop- up, Cadillac radio station-installation by legendary Houston arts collective, Otabenga Jones & Associates, and Peabody Award winning NPR producers, The Kitchen Sisters.

As part of our mission to support the local artist community of New Orleans, Prospect New Orleans has implemented a Satellite Program for each triennial edition. The aim of the Satellite program is to highlight and promote concurrent exhibitions and arts events organized by local and regional artists, curators, and cultural workers throughout the course of the triennial. With over one hundred participating artists and organizations, P.S. Satellites is an important component of Prospect New Orleans, showcasing New Orleans’ position as an innovator in the contemporary art world.

Prospect.4 will close this year on February 25th with the activation of Kara Walker’s new public artwork, Katastwóf Karavan. For the Katastwóf Karavan Walker, in collaboration with the noted jazz pianist Jason Moran and the steam-power enthusiast Kenneth Griffard, has constructed a thirty-two-note steam calliope similar to the one on the Steamboat Natchez and housed it in an arcane looking parade wagon of her own design. In critical response to the Natchez, Walker’s calliope plays songs and sounds she associates with the long history of African American protest music: gospel, reggae, jazz improvisation, chants, and shouts.

“As we prepare to open this magnificent fourth iteration, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, I am once more taken by the extraordinary contribution that artists make to society, enriching our lives with their vision,” said Ylva Rouse, Interim Director. “This exhibition is an enormous undertaking that would be impossible without the committed dedication of our venue partners, donors, and tireless staff. We are excited to share what we have been working on for the past three years with their help and support.”


Left: Barkley L. Hendricks, Photo Bloke, 2016. Oil and acrylic on linen 72 x 48 inches Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Barkley L. Hendricks. Right: Cauleen Smith, EGUNGUN, 2017. Production still Image courtesy the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago and Kate Werble Gallery New York.


Led by Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp brings together 73 artists from North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the European powers that colonized New Orleans. Taking place within the context of the celebration of the city’s Tricentennial, it pays particular attention to issues of identity, displacement and cultural hybridity.

More than 30 artists are creating work specifically for the exhibition, and approximately 10% of the selected artists hail from the New Orleans area. To enact this ambitious vision, Schoonmaker was aided by an Artistic Director’s Council of seven international artists and curators who will participate in public programming surrounding the exhibition and contribute to the fully illustrated catalogue, published by DelMonico Prestel books and Prospect New Orleans.


Naama Tsabar, Composition 18, 2016. Performance at Collins Park, Miami Beach, as part of Art Basel Miami Beach Public, curated by Nicholas Baume, Miami Beach. Image courtesy the artist, Art Basel, Paul Kasmin Gallery; Spinello Projects. Image © Art Basel


A Civic Adventure/An Artistic Experiment – Prospect New Orleans is a citywide triennial of contemporary art. Emphasizing collaborative partnerships, Prospect presents the work of diverse local, national, and international artists in unique and culturally exceptional venues, creating an optimistic cartography through the education and engagement of residents and visitors. For more information, visit last edition of Prospect New Orleans’s triennial, Prospect.3: Notes for Now (P.3), took place from October 25th, 2014 to January 25th, 2015. This critically acclaimed exhibition featured more than fifty artists selected by Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans.

During its fourteen-week run, Prospect.4 is expected to exceed the 100,000 visitors engaged throughout P.3, through the exhibition as well as educational and public programs.

Prospect New Orleans and Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp are made possible through generous support from Founding Benefactor Toby Devan Lewis and our generous supporters including the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; The Helis Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.; Nancy A. Nasher; David J. Haemisegger; VIA Art Fund; the National Endowment for the Arts; Whitney Bank; the Joan Mitchell Foundation; Kevin G. Clifford and Michele T. Reynoir; the Reily Foundation/Stephen Reily Family Fund; the Zemurray Foundation; Gustaf W. McIlhenny Foundation; the Keller Family Foundation; RosaMary Foundation; Peake BMW; Arts Council New Orleans; Accion Cultural Española (AC/E); New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation; the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas; the National Council of Jewish Women/New Orleans Chapter; the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana; and Regions Bank. We are also grateful for the generous in-kind support from the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, The New Orleans Advocate, the Domain Companies, Ace Hotel New Orleans, DW Drums, FHI Social Practices Lab at Duke University, and Habana Works.