Tweet Release: Swoon opening party and presentation Friday, June 10. Artist speaks at 6 pm. "Thalassa" soars over the Great Hall til Sept. 25.
New Orleans, LA - On Friday, June 10, the New Orleans Museum of Art unveils a new large scale, site-specific installation by the internationally renowned artist Swoon. This installation, entitled Thalassa, is named for and inspired by the Greek goddess of the sea. The work began with a careful examination of NOMA's Great Hall and was specifically designed for the space. Thalassa will be on display until September 25.EXHIBITION EVENTS
"This exhibition launches a series of commissioned site-specific works for NOMA's Great Hall," said NOMA Director Susan Taylor. "Each summer, the museum plans to work with an artist to create a project for this dramatic space. Whether inspired by New Orleans or the space itself, we hope to engage artists and our community in an ongoing conversation about contemporary art. Swoon's Thalassa is a dramatic, thought-provoking piece that will speak to all audiences."
The twenty-foot tall piece depicts a monumental female deity with extended tentacles rising from the waters, her body comprised of colorful swathes of fabric and aquatic creatures. The work is made of an enormous reinforced linocut enhanced with prints and paper cutouts.
"As an artist known for intricate and evocative work both in gallery spaces and in the streets, Swoon was an ideal artist for NOMA to engage with," said Miranda Lash, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. "Her installation invigorates our Great Hall with powerful imagery, and positions the museum as a window to artistic currents flowing outside our doors. Swoon has a talent for transforming the everyday into the mythical."
Swoon's installation of Thalassa was inspired by New Orleans' ties to the sea. New Orleans depends on water for commerce, transportation, energy, and food. The installation is named after the Greek goddess revered as the mother of all sea creatures. The octopus motif also links the piece to New Orleans' legendary red-light district, Storyville, where denizens of its brothels were likened to many-armed creatures separating sailors from their money. The piece thus connects to both New Orleans' past and present, as well as its complex and deep history as a port city.
During the past three years, Swoon developed a close relationship to the city of New Orleans and several New Orleans-based artists. In 2008, she began wheat-pasting her paper cutouts on walls in the Bywater neighborhood. Since then, she has been involved in an ongoing collaboration with the New Orleans Airlift (an organization dedicated to the cross-pollination of artistic ideas between New Orleans and other countries) on the creation of a musical arts venue and house in the Bywater called Dithyrambalina. "Every city that I go to, I try to absorb a little bit from each place," said Swoon.
Based in New York, Swoon has been recognized internationally for her large-scale paper cutouts which she wheat pastes on the exteriors of buildings. Her work often depicts portraits of families, friends, and residents of local neighborhoods performing everyday activities such as working, cycling, or sitting on stoops. As an artist working extensively in prints and cutouts, Swoon takes inspiration from the German Expressionists of the early twentieth century as well as Indonesian shadow puppetry. In 2005 she began displaying her installations in gallery settings in addition to her outdoor installations.
Thalassa is made possible thanks to generous support from The Joan Mitchell Center, the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, and Charles L. Whited, Jr.
Swoon will deliver a public lecture in NOMA's Stern Auditorium on Friday, June 10, at 6 p.m. A Where Y'Art closing party for Thalassa will take place on Friday, September 16, starting at 5 p.m featuring music by DJ Kazu.
Wednesdays are FREE for all museum visitors. Adults, $10; Seniors (65 and up) and Students, $8; Children 7-17, $6; Children 6 and under, free. Free Wednesdays are made possible through the generosity of The Helis Foundation.
ABOUT NOMA AND THE BESTHOFF SCULPTURE GARDEN
The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses more than 30,000 art objects encompassing 4,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing exhibitions, are on view in the museum's 46 galleries Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the adjacent Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, featuring work by over 60 artists, including several of the 20th century's great master sculptors, is free. The Sculpture Garden is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. except for Fridays when it's open until 8:45 p.m. The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden are fully accessible to handicapped visitors and wheelchairs are available at the front desk.