After over a year of restrictions and precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, LSU Art & Design classes are returning to (almost) normalcy – including going on long-awaited field trips.
“Travel is an integral part of the educational experience for LSU Art & Design students,” said Alkis Tsolakis, dean of the LSU College of Art & Design. “There is so much to learn in this world. Visiting works of art and architecture, exploring public landscapes, or meeting experts and other students in the field opens the doors to other cultures and enriches our lives forever.”
This semester, trips have ranged from the international Design Paris study abroad program, led by Robert Holton, associate professor of architecture, to field trips around Louisiana, such as Kathleen Bogaski’s landscape architecture studio that visited Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans, and met with the city of NOLA director to learn more about city planning efforts.
One such field trip experience was the recent excursion of upper level seminar “Sites of Contemporary Art” to visit Prospect New Orleans. Taught by Allison Young, assistant professor of art history, the class explores topics such as public art, site-specific art, and social practice.
“In other words, art that takes place outside of traditional institutional or commercial contexts, and which engages with real places and various kinds of publics and communities within and beyond the art world,” Young explained.
Prospect New Orleans is a triennial art event – a recurring, temporary exhibition of international contemporary art that takes place every three years, (although it was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) Rather than taking place within a single museum or gallery, Prospect typically sprawls across the city; in past iterations, artists have used spaces ranging from restaurants and hotels to abandoned lots, public parks, the facades of historic buildings, and the sound environment of neighborhoods like the French Quarter.
Young organized a day-long tour for the art students to visit of some Prospect venues, including the Newcomb Art Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern art, the Contemporary Art Center, Capdeville Park, the New Orleans African American Museum and a few small venues throughout the Bywater neighborhood (in theaters, restaurants, etc.).
Seeing the works in person is key to the educational experience. “The course was conceptualized, in part, to coincide with Prospect New Orleans, since recurring exhibitions like biennials and triennials are often ideal platforms for the kind of work that we have been discussing,” she said.
At each stop, the group heard from exhibiting artists and/or curators involved with Prospect: Ron Bechet (a New Orleans based artist who is showing at Newcomb); Lucia Momoh (a Curatorial Associate for Prospect.5 who met us at the Ogden and NOAAM); Phoebe Boswell (a London-based artist who is installing at the CAC, and showed her work in progress); and Anastasia Pelias, a New Orleans based sculptor who has installed an ‘anti-monument’ at a park in Mid-City.
“There were truly so many great things about the trip from visiting many of the Prospect.5 sites to getting to meet and hear the artist talk about their work,” said Cecelia Moseley, MFA sculpture candidate. “However, if I must pick the most meaningful part to take away from the trip it would be getting to meet Phoebe Boswell at the Contemporary Arts Center, NOLA and seeing her process in her drawing installation. Her installation is on the first floor in an oval shaped room where the walls feel like an endless panoramic view of people she has drawn on the wall in charcoal. The public is able to see her working. It was an amazing experience to see and hear her talk about the process and inspiration behind the scenes.”
“As a graduate student in sculpture it is a great opportunity to see a successful artist and learn about her studio practice in person,” she shared. “One of the most inspiring parts of the installation is that it is site specific and can never be transported somewhere else and only experienced in the space it was created in. Since this piece is drawn on the walls and site specific she will be working on her installation until the end of December – I highly suggest if you have the chance to go by and see her work in person. You will be amazed!”
“Touring Prospect in New Orleans was amazing,” said Chris Toombs, President’s Millennial Scholar. “The culture and spirit were intoxicating as well as informational. Tulane’s Art Museum featured pieces that were brilliantly done and put a strong emphasis on color and placement. Professors Young and Ariaz were great hosts and I learned so much about the art culture in New Orleans.”