Happy 2013! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything for you, my Louisianaestheticians! 2012 was a rough and tumble year for me personally, filled with some incredible highs and some lowly lows. I needed a long moment for some reflection, and in many ways I’m still in that moment. God knows what 2013 has in store for me or for you, but I’ve decided to start the year off on a high-note with a series of art jokes.
But first … recently, art, artists and creative professionals from Louisiana have been getting a little more traction in the world than usual. New Orleans has become an “it” destination for the creative class. New Orleans-based arts writer Nick Stillman has started writing for Art Forum. Los Angeles art critic Peter Frank just wrote a review of artist Shawne Major’s solo exhibition at the University of Louisiana’s Hilliard Art Museum. The New Orleans Museum of Art‘s curator of Modern and Contemporary art, Miranda Lash, is currently the juror for the next installment of New American Paintings‘ Southern Regional Issue. Quite a few Louisiana artists have been making their debuts on the art fair circuit – most notoriously, the New Orleans duo Generic Art Solutions performing as “art cops” at Art Basel Miami. This got me thinking about Louisiana’s history in the visual arts, which is spotty at best, but has it’s moments of brilliance and significance.
The issue at hand is that Louisiana’s musical influence on the world at large has always overshadowed its contributions in visual art – think Jazz, Blues, Rock, Rap and Bounce and then think about how much lip service and attention has been given to these genres versus the state’s visual side. Granted the musical attention is deserved; however, the state of Louisiana has given the world the work of John James Audubon, Ernest J. Bellocq, Clementine Hunter, Noel Rockmore, George Dunbar, George Dureau, Clyde Connell, Lynda Benglis, Keith Sonnier, Richard “Dickie” Landry, Ida Kohlmeyer, Elemore Morgan, Jr., Eugene J. Martin, Tina Girouard, Robert Gordy, Robert Tannen, Hunt Slonem, Willie Birch, George Rodrigue, Francis X. Pavy, Dawn Dedeaux, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Lynda Frese, and Rashaad Newsom. There’s no shortage of emerging talent from Louisiana as well: Amy Guidry, Alex Podesta, Anastsia Pellias, Bob Snead, Brian Guidry, Courtney Egan, Cynthia Scott, Dan Tague, Dave Greber, Deborah Luster, Generic Art Solutions, George Marks, Hannah Chalew, Jennifer Odem, Jessica Bizer, Jonathan “JJ” Wilson, Jonathan Traviesa, Kevin Kline, Lee Deigaard, Lisa Osborn, Louvier + Vanessa, Matt Bell, Michael Pajon, Michel Varisco, Miss Pussycat, Monica Zeringue, Nina Schwanse, Patrick Segura, Pat Phillips, Rachel Jones, Ralph Bourque, Regina Scully, Shawne Major, Skylar Fein, Sophie Lvoff, Srdjan Loncar, Stephanie Patton, Stephen Collier, Stephen Hoskins, Stephen Kwok, Tameka Norris, Thomas Deaton, Troy Dugas and Wesley Stokes. As anyone can see, the list of emerging talent is twice as long as the first. The visual art ball in Louisiana is definitely rolling and gathering more traction.
Here at Louisianaesthetic, I pride myself on exposing the world to serious art from Louisiana, and there will be more to come in this new year, but for now I just need a good laugh. Since the world is getting more of an introduction to art from my fair state lately, I started thinking about what art would look like in an alternate universe where all of the greatest artists from the past 100 years or so were from Louisiana. This got my creative juices flowing, and a series of digital collages ensued. Think of it as a primer on the major themes of the state for those who may be unfamiliar with our peculiar ways or a refresher course for those of you who are natives. And if anyone wishes to hate on any of this, please take it with a grain of salt and a wink of the eye, and be assured that I love my state, with all of what that entails. I also have a lot of respect for the artists named above and the ones being lampooned below, Here’s the goods, and I hope you enjoy ’em and get a good laugh. God knows we could use one at this moment in time!
“Le Cri (for Edvard Munch)” – In Louisiana’s countryside, especially Mamou, LA, the old Cajun version of Mardi Gras prevails. Revelers get dressed up in handmade costumes, get drunk, tease young children, ride horses, participate in dances called fais-do-do’s (FAY-DOH-DOH) and chase chickens and roosters around for the communal gumbo pot. Here, the existentialist dread of Munch’s masterwork is applied to a grievous situation: not being able to catch the main ingredient for the gumbo. “Le Cri” (LUH CREE) is French for “the cry” or “the scream.” C’est pas bon!
“Le Bonheur de Vie/ Le Festival (for Henri Matisse)” – Louisiana is home to many a festival where one can “pass a good time,” which is what Matisse’s pastoral scenes of dancers is all about. I don’t have any doubt that he would have been drawn to Louisiana festivals like a moth to a flame. Unfortunately or fortunately – depending on how one looks at things, there’s not much nudity to be found at Louisiana’s festivals. Matisse would have to use his profound sense of artistic license to correct that situation.
“Three New Orleans Musicians (for Pablo Picasso)” – Picasso was very fond of music and musicians. The preponderance of images of sheet music and musicians in his art is testament to that. He would have felt right at home in Louisiana, especially in the cosmopolitan bohemia of New Orleans with its cast of musicians and characters, and its French culture and Spanish Architecture. Here is a trio of Cubist New Orleans Jazz men playing on the streets of the Crescent City that would make Pablo proud. Unfortunately, if you want a Cubist rendition of the ubiquitous gutter punk musicians who populate the French Quarter now, you’ll have to go some place else.
“Albino Alligator Fountain (for Marcel Duchamp)” – If the early Modernist art world was horrified and confused by Duchamp before, it would have been doubly horrified by a bizarro Duchamp from Louisiana. BTW – albino alligators are a real thing. We’ve got a couple that live at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.
“Suprematist Crawfish (for Kazimir Malevich)” – The Platonic and Theosophical ideal of “crawfishness” in it’s purest essence. Suck da head!
PS: If you’re from Louisiana, you won’t think twice about that last part.
“Swamp Composition in Red, Yellow and Blue (for Piet Mondrian)” – Mondrian had an affinity for trees and water, and these things formed the pictorial foundation for much of his experimental early work which lead to de Stijl. Louisiana is home to a vast network of swamps where trees and water meet. Piet would have fallen off his Modernist rocker here, and probably would have been much less of an orderly tightass. The heat, decay and lust for life and death here obliterate any pretense at absolute neatness and order. It ain’t called the “Dirty South” for nuttin’! The muck would have found it’s way in to his airtight compositions somehow.
“Fur Gumbo Pot (for Meret Oppenheim)” – Nothing in the Surrealist canon is as beautiful and unnerving as Oppenheim’s teacup lined with fur. In Louisiana, Oppenheim would have traded in her teacup for a gumbo pot, and made something even more disquieting yet filling on a cold Louisiana winter’s day! Bon appetit!
“The Persistence of Hurricanes … and Soggy, Wrecked Yards (for Salvador Dali)” – Memory, nightmares, blighted surrealist landscapes and Hurricanes go hand-in-hand over here in Louisiana. Dali would always know what time it was between the months of May and October. Of course, most of us wouldn’t even bat an eye over him. We all have family members that can bring the crazy faster and better than anything from Mr. Dali. I have an aunt that wears something we in my family refer to as “the sausage dress” on hot summer vacations to the beach. I had a great aunt who consumed a spoonful of sugar-infused Vick’s Vapo-Rub on a nightly basis to ward off illness, until she died of cancer. I have another story about another one of my family members that involves explosive diarrhea and BINGO that is too heinous to repeat in public. Case closed. Without a doubt, bizarro Louisiana art history Dali would be much more interesting.
“The Cypress Ladder (for Joan Miro)” – Once upon a time in Louisiana, a little betaille (BAY-TIE, French for “monster”) named T’Joan from New Iberia was being chased by an alligator in da swamp. He climbed a cypress tree all da way to da top. Dere he met a nice egret dat gave him a ride to da sky dat was full of stars. He lived happily ever after in a nice cloud dat was like steam from a bowl of warm rice. Da end.
“Son of Swamp People (for Rene Magritte)” – The mystery of human swamp consciousness revealed! Choot ’em first. Ax questions later!
“Wolf Mother (for Louise Bourgeois)” – Cajun mamas are a force of nature. And screw spiders! The scariest thing bumping in the dark Louisiana night is the Rougarou (ROO-GAH-ROO, the Cajun werewolf). Louisiana folklore has it that the Rougarou is the product of a cursed/jilted lover gone rogue who becomes a demonic wolf that prowls the night in search of the blood of innocents. When children misbehave in Louisiana, their mamas will often tell them that if they don’t behave, the Rougarou will come and get them. Scary animals, scary mamas, jilted lovers – what’s not there for Bourgeois to like? She’d be on dat like white on rice!
“Lavender Mist (for Jackson Pollock)” – Lavender mist happens every morning around 6AM over in the swamp. Dancing around things ain’t nothing special over here, either – especially paintings. At Fais do-do’s (FAY-DOH-DOH) which literally means “making sleep”, parents who needed to pass a good time would get together and have dance parties while their children slept. Take that Jackson! Trying dancing around a sleeping child in a drunken state of chanky-chank ecstasy, and see how that goes for ya. If you were here back then, maybe you would have discovered your drip a little sooner.
“Untitled – Rig (for Mark Rothko)” – Rampant soil erosion, rising tides, cancer alley, a blight on the state’s natural resources, including the seafood industry, and the 2010 BP Oil Spill. Ever since Louisiana got in bed with the petrochemical industry, we’ve had our fair share of tragedy. Rothko would understand. “Tragedy” was Rothko’s middle name. If he was from Louisiana, he would have gotten over his depression with some good beer and a bunch of fried shrimp poboys. My doctor says shrimp poboys are packed with B-12 – especially after the spill!
“Feu Follet (for Cy Twombly)” – Louisiana has much in the way of history and myth, which would have appealed to Twombly. One such myth is that of the feu follet (FUH FOLAY), or swamp gas spirit, said to lure unwitting visitors to their water graves with their luminescence and the empty promise of safety in the darkness of the swamp. According to local myth, feu follets are said to be the spirits of unbaptized children. Did I mention that Louisiana folklore is kind of jacked-up in a lot of ways?
“Bayou (for Robert Rauschenberg)” – Rauschenberg grew up in Port Arthur, TX, not far from Louisiana. Port Arthur was a maritime and petrochemical hub, and has its bayous, along with a bit of Cajun culture. Rauschenberg’s family also moved to Lafayette, LA early on in his life. So the artist has some Louisiana connections, but many of his most iconic works have a dirty, downtown New York meets Western desert sort of swagger with their references to canyons, sheep and hawks. If Rauschenberg would have stayed closer to his roots, he might have made works about bayous, egrets and rice. Maybe there’d be some red beans up in dat “Bed” of his, too.
“Triple Edwin (for Andy Warhol)” – Andy said in the future, everyone will have their “fifteen minutes of fame.” Former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards is on his 45th minute. The slickest, most corrupt, most stylish, silver-tongued and haired politician Louisiana has ever seen, Edwards is an icon and three heads above all of the other slimy politicians in the state. He brought casino gambling to the state in the 80’s. He also got sent to the pokey for racketeering, extortion, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud in the 90’s. But he’s like Teflon. He’s back in the 21st century, out of jail, has a new 30-something year-old piece of eye candy by his side (he’s 85 and his eldest daughter is in her 60’s), a bunch of crazed political backers who want to see him in politics again, and a reality TV show on the A&E network in the works! Andy would approve!
“Infinity Graveyard (for Yayoi Kusama)” – South Louisiana’s got some soggy foundations. Dig six-feet-under, and you’ll hit water. That’s why we’ve got all of those fancy above-ground tombs and crypts. That’s also why it seems like we Louisianians are so obsessed with death. In reality, we REALLY, REALLY are. Blame Catholicism and all those hurricanes and nasty critters that surround us. Our obsession with death is also the Yin to our “joi de vivre” (JWA DUH VEEV, French for “joy for life”). That’s our BIG YANG. They balance each other out. You know who is also obsessed with all this stuff, too – that batshit crazy Yayoi Kusama. She’d give her lecherous father’s left nut to do-up one of our graveyards with some spots. In a perfect world, this would be my final resting place. Love ya, Yayoi! REALLY! Come visit some time!
“TV Our Lady of Prompt Succor ( for Nam June Paik)” – IRL, Nam has his “TV Buddha,” which definitely has a better ring to it. But in bizarro-Louisiana art history world, Our Lady of Prompt Succor reigns supreme across the art airwaves. She’s gold and shiny and the freakin’ MOTHER OF GOD! See … she’s holding lil’ Baby Jesus in her arms. We in Louisiana love lil’ Baby Jesus so much we bake little plastic versions of him in our Mardi Gras King Cakes, risking death by asphyxiation if we accidentally swallow him. Whoever finds and survives the ordeal of King Cake consumption is indebted to buy the next king cake and continue to the next round of King Cake death matches leading up to Fat Tuesday. But I digress … Our Lady of Prompt Succor is there for you whether you die from lil’ Baby Jesus asphyxiation, diabetes and heart disease attributed to sugary, seasonal coffee cakes from Louisiana, or just plain old natural causes like Corexit poisoning. She’s always there to succor you … and she’s prompt. She’s got better things to do than sit on a giant lotus blossom under a tree while staring at her navel, contemplating the essential emptiness of the universe.
“Eat and Dance (for Bruce Nauman)” – Eat, dance and let the good times roll! Despite all of the Catholic dogma shoved down our throats, along with the dubious presence of that current gubernatorial killjoy, Bobby Jindal, and his right-wing christian zealots, there are only three commandments in Louisiana. If Bruce Nauman were from Louisiana, he would abide and make some flashy neon art about it that’s supposed to be deep and make you think or something.
“Untitled – Cajun Microwave (for Donald Judd)” – In Louisiana, we don’t have much use for the aesthetics of industrial manufacturing and or the obsessively, theatrical perfectionism of Minimalism. That’s for people who live in glass houses on streets that are perpendicularly aligned. We’re a lot more rough-and-tumble than that. In Louisiana, wood and metal boxes are made for cooking, which is an artform, in and of itself, here. If Donald Judd were from Louisiana, he would have made Cajun Microwaves: hand-crafted boxes slapped together for cooking succulent meats in the great outdoors. Mmm … Minimalism never tasted so good! Ca, C’est Bon!
“The Marriage of Reason and Real Squalor (for Frank Stella)” – As stated in other parts of this post, strict Minimalism is incompatible with the ethos of our fair state. We require something a bit more messy than a couple of black, concentric squares to call it art. Slap some orderly squares on top of a squalid swamp scene and you’ve got something there, Frank Stella! It’s the visual equivalent of spraying Febreze on a rotting nutria carcass. Vive la difference!
“Cajun Musicians (for Gerhard Richter)” – Even though we try to hold on to family, friends, and acquaintances, time and death continually steal them from us like sand falling between our fingers. All that is left behind are memories, photographs, traditions and the secrets and uncomfortable truths that such things blur, soften or hide. It’s as true in Louisiana as it is in Richter’s Germany.
“Fat Tuesday chair (for Joseph Beuys)”- If Joseph Beuys would have went native in Louisiana, there’s no doubt that this would be the ultimate version of his famous assemblage of furniture and fat. Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”) is a season and a day in particular to which most Louisianians look forward. It is a period of decadence on par with the excesses of the Roman Empire that we indulge in every year right before the downer of the Catholic Lenten season. During Mardi Gras, every man or woman is a king or queen if they so choose to be. Sometimes he or she can be both at the same time, depending on his or her sexual proclivities. It’s also a time to get really drunk, eat lots of King Cake, dress up in a costume, act the fool in public, flash people and beg them for cheap plastic beads, and also ride ridiculous floats that either vaguely or openly allude to Greek gods, goddesses and other pagan demons, etc. It’s reason enough to feel good about crash landing in Louisiana and going native. To hell with the hang over, your need to piss, or your worries about tomorrow. Drink another hurricane on the Fat Tuesday Chair and show us your regal boobs!
“Real Tree 2 x 4 (for Sol Lewitt)” – From the perspective of most Louisianians, everything looks better draped in real tree, even boring Conceptualist/Minimalist sculptures. In the bizarro Louisiana art history universe, Sol Lewitt made really great art that doubled as duck blinds and deer stands. Louisiana ain’t called the sportsman’s paradise for nuttin’! Choot ’em, Sol! Choot ’em!
“Spiral Boom (for Robert Smithson)” – Good ‘ol Rob was all up into ideas about entropy, site specificity and the environment. Just like Rob dumping all that dirt on top of that old wooden shed, British Petroleum took an oil dump all over Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast. Oil boom attained a ubiquitous presence along the coast of Louisiana because flimsy, floating barriers can really make a difference in containing 4.9 million barrels worth of oily shitstorm. Both Rob and Ye Olde God of Entropy had a good laugh at that one. In our parallel universe, Smithson marked the occasion with a celebratory boom formation in the shape of a death spiral!
“One and Three Chairs (for Joseph Kosuth)” – When confronted with Conceptual Art, Louisianians scratch their heads like chimps in need a flea bath at the Audubon Zoo. Add some Saints paraphernalia to said art, and that’s something we can all get behind much like fantasy football. Oh, it’s CONCEPTUAL! In our parallel universe, Joseph Kosuth knew how to deliver the message in a Louisiana friendly way. Who dat say day gonna make art out of ideas? Who dat?
“Untitled – Chris Owens (for Cindy Sherman)” – Cindy Sherman is a master of postmodern identity with a whole storage facility of really shitty and creepy disguises, costumes and props. Lately, she’s taken to impersonating really old, rich women who are desperately trying to hold on to a youthful vitality that set sail on a yacht to nowhere a long time ago. Sherman would have a field day impersonating the Queen of New Orleans, Chris Owens. Burlesque performer, club owner, entrepreneur, bonne vivante, skimpy outfit-wearer and plastic surgery victim – you name it – this ancient lady did it all and still does it all in the heart of the French Quarter without a shred of shame or dignity, and we in Louisiana love her for it despite wanting to wash our eyes out with soap everything we see her. Chris Owens could high-kick every one of Sherman’s socialites in the head with her stilettos, cha-cha over their lifeless, emaciated corpses, eat them for brunch with a Drano Bloody Mary, perform all night, and still have enough strength to show up for church the next morning with her boobs hanging out all over the place. Now that’s what I call life as art! Cindy, you’re still in your prime and kickin’ it. This could all be yours! Just sayin’!
“King Crude (for David Salle)” – David ain’t got the cred that he used to way back in the caviar-infested salad days of the 80’s, but oil companies ain’t looking so hot these days either. Makes, no difference,though. They still makin’ money hand over fist. Nothing says “I’ll kill you slowly and methodically while you sleep and you’ll like it” better than the cool, detached, pathological irony of a David Salle painting. His work is the painting equivalent of all those insanely cheerful post-oil spill commercials from BP, inviting tourists back to the Gulf. Come down to Louisiana, David! We’ll leave the light on for you as long as the oil’s still flowing.
“Zydeco (for Jean Michel Basquiat)” – Basquiat was deeply invested in the history of art and the history of African Americans and people of color around the globe. In his hands, his style of street-influenced Expressionism grounded in Cubism operated as an incisive weapon, cutting through the arbitrary hierarchies of the art world and Western culture at large to expose the underbelly of a dominant system that still was ideologically an affront to minorities and the impoverished in the 1980’s – a decade generally thought of as a bell-weather for affluence and prosperity in the West. It is to his credit that he did so with such virtuosity and panache that the art world and the general public ate his often dire visual reportage of the minority experience in the West with a silver spoon. Thereby, Basquiat became rich as well – rich enough to paint in expensive suits, and buy lots and lots of heroine to cope with his depression and imploding sense of isolation among the upper echelons of the art world. He ended his life as a casualty and cautionary tale of the excesses of the 80’s, but he also managed to crack open the art world for minorities and brought some of the freshest and most vital work of the 80’s to bare on the cannon of Western art. His work still holds it’s own in the art market today, and every year his name grows in stature. No jokes, here – just honest appreciation. In our alternate universe, Basquiat tackles the subject of the Louisiana Creole music known as Zydeco (ZIE-DECOH), which mirrors the music of the Cajuns. Zydeco is characterized by a more syncopated rhythm and a faster pace than its counterpart. The term “Zydeco” is said to come from the French phrase “Les haricots ne sont pas sale'” (LAY ZAR-EE-COH SAHN PA SA-LAY), which translates to “The green beans aren’t salty” and is a sly way to reference that one is too poor to afford salt meat to season one’s beans. In the painting, our Creole Basquiat paints a Zydeco washboard, or frottoir (FROTWAHR), player, and references the power of the music which essentially comes from a marginalized population and it’s folkways.
“Catahoula (for Jeff Koons)” – In our alternate universe Jeff Koons is a T-Boy from Louisiana with a passion for the state’s official dog, the Catahoula Leopard, which is know for its hunting skills, mottled coat and the colors of its two eyes, which are typically mismatched. T-Boy Koons is still a pretentious ass with a penchant for banal kitsch, though. Check-out his giant flower Catahoula sculpture towering over the Louisiana marsh. He’s out to prove that his flower dog’s weiner is bigger than yours by bending the tastes of the nouveau riche to his eccentric, perverse and ego-maniacal will because swindling people out of their hard-earned money with bogus sugar cane and rice stocks wasn’t sick enough. He had to take it one step further. I hear his next project will be to suspend a big shrimp boat over Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans.
“Cajun Nurse (for Richard Prince)” – She loves the Saints. When she ain’t takin’ care of da patients, she hunts puldos (PUHL-DOHS, a Louisiana waterfowl) wit her old man in da back 40 acres. She’s like hot sauce in da bed, an’ she got a shot of bourbon with cane syrup an’ lemon fo’ you, cher (SHAH)! But she in danger. She been pulled into da boue (BOO, French for mud or muck) in a bataille (BAH-TIE, French for battle) for her family land and her very soul. Can she pull herself out before it’s dinner time and da gumbo gets to cold to eat? Only Cajun Richard Prince knows.
“The Brown Pelican Is Present (for Marina Abramovic)” – Sittin’ and starin’ at people all day ain’t nuttin’. Try keepin’ da attention of da state bird, da brown pelican, witout da help of a pocket full of chum. Louisiana Marina Abramovic has got dat in da hole. Now dats some art, T-Boog! I heard she trained wit da peoples from da Wildlife and Fisheries for months an she even had to pay $15 for a pelican handlin’ license.
“Le Royaume (for Damien Hirst)” – Excerpt from an interview with the Cajun Damien Hirst: Bon Dieu, I had an alligator swimmin’ aroun’ in da bayou in ma backyard. He was a big boudou (BOO-DOO, french for a big, fat beast) an’ he was nasty. He used to make dem evil eyes at my wife. His name was Pierre. We used to feed him table scraps an’ insurance adjustors we didn’t like. Every once in while when I got drunk, I would go down to da bayou and wrestle him. He liked to try to death roll me, but I was too smart and quick for him. Cher, if somebody would have told me I could make 12 million dollas for picklin’ Pierre in a fish tank, I would have told dem dat dey been hit in da head wit da fou-fou (FOO-FOO, French for crazy) stick. But one day, a trapper friend of mine came down to da bayou and he was admirin’ Pierre wit a jealous eye. Dat night I heard some tracas (TRAH-CAH, French for trouble) outside. I go out, and dere’s ma friend haulin’ Pierre out of da bayou. Dat sonofabitch done did-in poor Pierre. I went an’ got ma twelve guage an’ told ma trapper friend to clear out or get a second hole in his fess (FES, French slang for butt). He ran into da woods, spooked like he just seen da Rougarou (ROO-GAH-ROO, French for werewolf). After dat’s when I put poor Pierre in da fish tank. He looked perty an’ I said dats nice. It was only when da man dat sells da billboard signs along da bayou came to dinner at our house, when he said dat Pierre was a great work of art dat it dawned on me dat I was an artist. Now, I’m rollin’ in da dough. I got a bunch of ol’ ladies dat work for me after dey go to morning mass at Sacred Heart, and we make all kinds of stuff. Ma next piece is gonna be a diamond covered coonass.
“The Louisiana Candidate from ‘The Boulette Cycle’ (for Matthew Barney)” – Eh, la! Dere’ ain’t nuttin’ betta dan some good boudin (BOO-DAN, Cajun sausage filled with pork and rice) and cracklin’ (pork rinds). Cajun artist and film maker Matthew Barney weaves a complex tale of mythic symbolism around the origins of Louisiana’s pork sausages and fried pork meatballs in his “Boulette Cycle” a series of 5 films complete with drawings and sculptures and a full replica in pork lard of the one of the many Louisiana gas stations where one can find all of their favorite, succulent pork products. In “Boulette Cycle 4,” Barney takes viewers into the heart of a rousing ATV race around Pecan Island, LA in search of the island’s only gas station where the participants must buy a pound of boudin, boudin balls, and cracklins each and then bring them to the hidden, Indian Burial ground where the Louisiana Candidate, a mythical creature that is half-man, half hog, judges their success. Along the way, a band of letins (LAY-TANS, swamp creatures) assess their progress. If an ATV racer pleases the letins, they give the racer a map of the course. If the letins are displeased, they slather pig lard on the racer’s ATV wheels. The winner of the race is given the hand in marriage of the Boudin Festival Queen, and they retire to a magical pig sty to consummate their nuptials. This concludes film 4 of the cycle. Critics have praised Barney’s “Boulette Cycle” for it’s masterful blending of history, place, myth, pork products and really weird and greasy sex.
“Magnolia Eyes (for Takashi Murakami)” – In our alternate universe, Murakami moved from Tokyo, Japan to New Orleans to teach painting at the University of new Orleans. He is bewildered by the strange people and customs he comes into contact with in Louisiana, and he becomes highly xenophobic, locking himself in his studio and gorging on sushi and Hubigs pies. He uses his Superflat style to create a surreal and claustrophobic field of magnolia blossoms and redfish eyes to express his extreme displeasure.