Prospect.3: Notes for Now | A Project of Prospect New Orleans
Prospect.3: Notes for Now is an exhibition in restless search, guided by a constellation of singular artistic and literary works, sounds, and visions, at the apex of which is Walker Percy’s singular novel, The Moviegoer. Set in New Orleans in the early 1960s—a time of heightened social awareness in the first half of that decade’s movement for civil rights—The Moviegoer wades through the depths of existentialism in a world where people were legally segregated from each other and therefore prohibited from truly comprehending their selves.
New Orleans is situated at a specific and intense crossroads—a point of convergence for national conversations and a point of departure for the world’s horizon. The city, as Percy perceived, is truly “Somewhere and not Anywhere”: it is “the South,” holding its place at the edge of the United States; it is “the northernmost Caribbean city”; it is “Africa on the Mississippi”; it is the “most European American City”; and, less lovingly, it is the home of Plessy v. Ferguson. It is a truly vital vantage point from which to consider our social condition—an illuminating source of philosophical inquiry for the here and present, which often seems not so distant from the there and past.
It is hoped that this exhibition will provide entry into this ageless and possibly limitless quest to define the self and interpret the other. Let us consider the circumstances of where and how we are encountering these works, and each other, reflecting on the privilege of our position. While this exhibition attempts to seize on conversations of supposed universality, it is a thesis built to wilt and even fail, in some instances. Prospect.3: Notes for Now presents visual art as a lens through which to view both the everydayness and the strangeness of the world around us, to bridge fissures in the past-present and to imagine the possibilities of an interconnected future. “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?”
—Franklin Sirmans, Artistic Director