Monday, September 05, 2005

Hurricane Katrina & Art

First Art or Idiocy? would like to encourage you to give in any way you can to relief efforts. Over at NOTIFBUTWHEN #2, artist Brian Ulrich is making the prospect to good to refuse with the offer of an original artwork given to you, for giving to those in need.

Times-Pic on NOMAIn depth info on Kenneth Snelson
Rebecca Morris

contact electronically? •

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ALSO (and this is just disgusting) How about this comment left by a spam program?
    Anonymous said...
    Report from Steve Domas
    I just couldn't take it and went down to N.O. today. And I'm very heartened. Uptown, Warehouse District, and CBD are dry..... There's lots of fallen limbs and power lines.
    (the phonesex link directs you to "")
There's also an email going around from a fictitious woman claiming to be working with the real charities of Nourish the Children and Feed the Children. But the website her email address is hosted by doesn't exist. The message urging you to give to the starving children left in Katrina's wake conveniently asks for all your credit card information. Horrible.

So now you can still leave comments on Art or Idiocy? without being a blogger member, but you will have to verify your human nature with typing in one of those text confirmations.

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Now let us focus on the arts in regards to the disaster. Miraculously art has survived all sorts of tragedy through the ages, from disasters of war to disasters of nature. I am always amazed at how very little was damaged or lost in wars like WWII, or how objects of antiquity have survived the ages. The recent looting at the Iraq Museum, Baghdad speaks then of America’s abysmal management of the invasion. For Christ’s sake, think of all the treasures of Europe which survived centuries of wars and compare with that with the one invasion of Iraq. These are the things members of the art community think of in times of tragedy.


So when the horrible news of Katrina came in, my thoughts were first of the safety of those caught in it. Of my family and friends and their homes. Then the less crucial, but still important, things. What is to become of the family tomb which dates back through centuries of ancestral history in the Crescent City? And what of the city’s art museum, an institution I have fond memories of visiting? Others in the family wondered the fate of places like the church where my great grandfather preached the last sermon in German (incidentally, this was in the Industrial Canal District, the location one of the levees failed). Everyone has personal questions about the disaster that go beyond what is being covered on the news.

For the art community, this is the art institutions. And there has been little or no mention. Finally, an email came out from the Director’s Office at the Art Institute of Chicago, forwarding the Times-Picayune entry to staff. This was the first, and only, piece of news, which has come out. (it is posted in it’s entirety below) shortly thereafter blogger Tyler Green picked up the story along with others on his site (you can see the post here). But no word at any major art publications. It wasn’t until the 2nd of September that Artnet News mentioned something based on the Times-Pic. Artforum, which always aggregates breaking art-related stories has nothing on the hurricane.

In any case, the NOMA website is down, most likely it’s server is local and has been knocked out. Using the yellow pages, Art or Idiocy? attempted to call the museum’s information numbers, on the off chance some sort of message had been left as to the state of affairs. Unfortunately, the phone lines aren’t working, as expected.

Unlike NOMA, The Contemporary Arts Center’s website is up and running. There is has been no information about what sort of state it is in, nor the gallery district it is located near. The CAC’s info telephone line produces the same sort of error message everyone dialing into the city is getting. The artnet piece offers some speculation.

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