Prospect.3 Trains Its Eye Provocatively on the Art World’s Social Failings


The show is a crossroads for art to gauge itself against real-world problems.

“Somewhere and not Anywhere.” That’s the way Binx Bolling, the protagonist of Walker Percy’s 1961 novel The Moviegoer, describes his ideal digs in New Orleans. Describing a place that is familiar yet in no way humdrum, the phrase feelingly captures this dynamic city nearly a decade after Hurricane Katrina. A location that historically touts its brilliant food, music, literature, dance, and local culture galore, the Crescent City is also currently the epicenter of a sparkling Prospect.3—one of the best international art biennials, anywhere, in recent memo




Two works that are slightly off-the beaten path provide their own answers. On view at historically black Dillard University is William Cordova’s excellent but historically skeptical Component One: untitled (Soul Rebels Band vs. Robert E. Lee: or silent parade), a literal face off between a statue of the Confederate general and a local eight-piece brass band. On the other, is Tavares Strachan’s You Belong Here: a football-field sized pink neon sign on a barge that floats up and down the Mississippi River, starting at sundown. The biennial work that deserves the most Mardi Gras beads, Strachan’s corporate-sized signage both embraces the idea that shows like this can successfully take on urgent questions, and sets it adrift: Who belongs? Where is here? What is belonging?


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