Prospect New Orleans is proud to announce its fifth edition, Yesterday we said tomorrow, curated by Artistic Directors Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi. Opening on October 24, 2020 and remaining on view through January 24, 2021, Prospect.5 will take place in museums, cultural spaces, and public sites throughout New Orleans. The exhibition will feature artists based in the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe, many of whom will produce newly commissioned projects. Yesterday we said tomorrow also introduces Programming Partners, a new collaborative element unique to Prospect.5. The list of participating artists will be announced in the spring of 2020.
“Prospect originated in 2008 as an experiment to welcome the contemporary art world to New Orleans and to spotlight a city with unmistakably singular culture and community,” said Executive Director Nick Stillman. “During this Prospect.5 cycle we are celebrating our tenth anniversary as an organization. We’re also recognizing the fifteenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is irrevocably altered since that moment, and yet remains beautifully unique. History––its weight and complexity–– is very much on our minds as we think about Prospect.5.”
The exhibition title Yesterday we said tomorrow is drawn from New Orleans–born jazz musician Christian Scott’s socially conscious 2010 album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow. The unspoken present is centermost in this frame, the site where past and future converge, which has always contained the possibility of other courses. Yesterday we said tomorrow addresses the social body and the individual, suggesting the deferral of structural and political change. The exhibition takes its cues from the specificity of our moment and of New Orleans itself, a city where inextricable layers of history and culture are always present and where performance and resistance define daily life in ways both literal and metaphoric.
Artists will employ diverse readings, interpretative models, and various forms to create a polyvocal retelling of history that is attuned to our complex era. Resistance and liberation have taken many forms; this exhibition is interested in these strategies that rely on the embodied, the imagined, the scholarly, the irrational, the felt, the connective, and the firsthand.
For Prospect.5, Keith and Nawi have convened a coalition of emerging cultural producers to create public programming in New Orleans throughout 2020 leading up to the triennial and during the exhibition: Grace Deveney, Kimberly Drew, Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Kristina Kay Robinson, and Maricelle Robles. These program partners will realize a diverse range of events in collaboration with venues across the city, from museums and cultural centers to theaters and bars, bringing unique perspectives to the exhibition’s themes through their own work. They will create programs in partnership with local organizations that illuminate, expand, complicate, and challenge the ideas of the triennial. The programming partner concept a new model for Prospect and reflects from the artistic directors’ dialogic approach to this exhibition.
The last edition of Prospect New Orleans’s triennial, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp (P.4), took place from November 16, 2017 to February 25th, 2018. This critically acclaimed exhibition featured more than seventy artists selected by Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker. During its run, Prospect.4 engaged over 100,000 visitors through the exhibition as well as educational and public programs.
Prospect.5 Yesterday we said tomorrow Programming Partners
Deveney will organize a series of film screenings and conversations between Prospect.5 artists in various locations throughout New Orleans. The programs will expand on the themes of the triennial by considering the ways the past remains palpable in liminal spaces such as airports, lighthouses, and churches, and the ways our actions in the present create new histories for these spaces.
Kimberly Drew is a writer, curator, and activist. Drew’s book Black Futures, coauthored with Jenna Wortham, will be published in 2020. Drew will produce a salon-style meal with New Orleans cultural producers and activists that provides an intimate platform for discussions around accessibility and our shared responsibility to one another. This event will be the genesis for accompanying public programs around these issues.
Jason Fitzroy Jeffers
Jason Fitzroy Jeffers is a Miami-based Barbadian filmmaker and co-executive director of Third Horizon, a Caribbean filmmaking collective. Jeffers will bring elements of Third Horizon alongside his ongoing project Foggy Windows to Prospect.5, convening a series of conversations, parties, and dances centered around the elusive question, “Why doesn’t anybody slow dance anymore?”
Kristina Kay Robinson
Kristina Kay Robinson is a New Orleans–based writer and curator. Robinson coedits Mixed Company, a forum for fiction by women of color. Robinson also leads Room 220, a division of Antenna Gallery that advocates for New Orleans’s literary culture. She will produce a series of free literary events relating to history and voices of color throughout 2020.
Maricelle Robles is an art educator based in New York. Her work investigates cultural histories through experiences that connect people and transform scholarship. For Prospect.5 Robles will produce a series of convenings with curators, artists, and emerging scholars that will engage distinct regional and local histories.