Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where They At?

Partners N Crime by Aubrey Edwards

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, in its mission to broaden the knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the culture of the South, has partnered with Aubrey Edwards and Alison Fensterstock to offer Where They At:New Orleans Hip-Hop and Bounce in Words and Pictures.

Ms Tee by Aubrey Edwards

As an introduction, on April 20th the Ogden screened Ya Heard Me? (2007), the definitive bounce documentary by Matt Miller and Stephen Thomas. The screening was well attended, and was followed by a discussion with Miller, Thomas, Edwards and Fensterstock, as well as producers John and Glenda Robert of All Good in the Hood fame.

Photo by David Houston

The exhibition opened on April 22nd, block-party style, with DJ Jubilee performing in the atrium of Goldring Hall. Over five hundred attendees danced on the staircases and browsed the galleries. It was a night not to be forgotten, a night only New Orleans can produce.

DJ Jubilee and the Ogden's Kisharon Green
Photo by David Houston

The exhibition in pictures includes over forty portraits from the bounce and hip-hop community of New Orleans, taken by Brooklyn and New Orleans based music photograper, Aubrey Edwards. Also included are twenty images of where it all happened: clubs like Blue Gardenia, Club Fabulous, Big Man Lounge and Ceasar's; parties like Katey Red's Anniversary, Take Fo's Anniversary and Teen Bounce Night at the Chatroom.

Big Freedia by Aubrey Edwards

The exhibition in words includes excerpts from interviews conducted by Alison Fensterstock of the players in the bounce scene: artists and DJs, family members and archivists, producers and record store owners. Fensterstock has also compiled playlists of the music combined with her interviews, offered on Ipods and Ipads.

Collection of Loren Phillips Fouroux

The third component of this exhibition is the ephemera. Two galleries are filled with archival images and artifacts, mainly drawn from the collections of Sthaddeus "Polo Silk" Terrell and Loren K. Phillips Fouroux. Representing over two decades of bounce history, the cases in these rooms include gems like DJ Irv's turntable, the famous "red tape" of Tucker and Irv's Wha Dey At? release, a No Limits Records tour jacket ('Bout It. 'Bout It.), Da Rude issues, badges, buttons, flyers, and amazing candid shots by Terrell and Fouroux. One corner is devoted completely to Bobby Marchan. Another wall lists those artists who have passed away.

Collection of Loren Phillips Fouroux

Where They At? represents several years of research and production by Fensterstock and Edwards. The respect and reverence in which they approached the subject shows clearly, not only in the professional quality of the work, but in their deferment of attention from themselves and toward the community, in their celebration and inclusion of everyone involved. This is the real deal, an exhibition that hopes to shed light on an often overlooked genre of New Orleans music, a genre directly descended from the call-and-response chants of Mardi Gras Indian music and the second-line tradition.

Polo Silk and Mother by David Houston

"Where they at?", you ask. At the Ogden. Come see.

The exhibition will close on August 1, 2009.

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