NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Ogden Museum of Southern Art and New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) are pleased to announce a Panel Discussion featuring New Orleans-based multimedia artist Dawn DeDeaux, presented by The Helis Foundation. The discussion will be moderated by Bradley Sumrall, Curator of the Collection, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and will also include Katie A. Pfohl, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, NOMA, and curator of The Space Between Worlds, DeDeaux’s first comprehensive museum exhibition now on view at NOMA. The three will explore DeDeaux’s newly installed work in the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation, FREE FALL: Prophecy & Free Will in Milton’s Paradise Lost on Poydras, and will take place at Ogden Museum of Southern Art on Saturday, Jan. 8, at 2 p.m.
“Using compositions of light and literature, this powerful sculptural installation engages the viewer to acknowledge their own agency and complicity in an impending loss of our Earthly Paradise,” explains Bradley Sumrall, Curator of the Collection, Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “With this work (much like her entire body of work) Dedeaux characteristically looks to the past to inform the future with her singular voice. It is a poetic alarm, an epic visual warning.”
DeDeaux’s FREE FALL: Prophecy & Free Will in Milton’s Paradise Lost on Poydras is a large-scale sculpture installation that pays tribute to John Milton’s 1667 ‘Paradise Lost.’ Selections from the epic poem appear on 64 concrete columns, installed at angles as though in a state of fall over several city blocks in front of the Caesar’s Superdome. The text is generated in highway reflective vinyl to offer distinctive appearances that vary from day to night: by day, the text reads in subtle pearlescence typography; and by night the verse transforms into a glowing vibrancy before the light of cellphones and headlights of passing cars – creating a moving, ever-changing choreography of light and language.
DeDeaux shares, “I am so pleased to illuminate Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ in highway reflective vinyl on columns that glows in the dark on Poydras Street before the Caesar’s Superdome. Milton was blind when he wrote the poem, dictating the verses to his two suffering daughters! I was also influenced by Milton’s greatest aspiration to make our DARKNESS VISIBLE – which is the poem’s most famous word couplings. I wanted to give back to the blind poet and let him see his words in the darkness of night, and to share his poem’s sage relevance today, as we consider our own potential expulsion from Paradise. I personally now read the poem differently, and more a foreboding tale of our future rather than a myth of our past. This beautiful spinning Earth is our paradise and it needs our protection and respect.”
“I have linked the Milton’s Poydras Corridor Colonnade to the last art installation in my current retrospective at the New Orleans Museum of Art, The Space Between Worlds on view through Jan. 23. Here I honor Milton with a 200 year old iron gate that is paired with the last verse of his poem describing Adam and Eve as they are expelled and depart Paradise through such a gate. I substitute Adam and Eve with my own self-portrait as a mere shadow, referencing our fragility and the ecological challenges of our time.”
This panel discussion will be free and open to the public, but advanced registration is required. All discussion attendees will receive one complimentary ticket to NOMA to see Dawn DeDeaux:The Space Between Worlds, on view through Jan. 23, 2022. Attendees can register and to learn more by visiting www.ogdenmuseum.org.