This past year at May brought some very exciting headway. It is because of your dedicated support that May was able to make such amazing progress. May presented the work of artist Tameka Norris as an official venue for Prospect 3. For May, becoming an official venue for Prospect 3 was a goal among many which served as motivation to achieve many smaller, but very important foundation-building goals.
Since 2012, May has produced nine solo exhibitions. All of which have established May as a unique space for experiencing contemporary art as distinctly intended by its artists. May has been setting a standard for the production and exhibition of contemporary art within a non-institutional, multi-sensory spacial envelope. May does not set forth standards of presentation or architectural rules which are replicated from exhibition to exhibition. We deliberately make this choice because we believe that the branding, aesthetics and intent of the institution are a distraction from the artist’s intent—we want the art to speak for it self. Concurrently, our publications bring transparency to the artist’s intent and process. However, we don’t impose interpretations on our audience. An artist could deliberately choose to use an institutional aesthetic in their installation, but that choice is a pre-rationalized one—it is a choice that precedes the physical production of their desired art experience. In architecture, the practice rests upon two principal constraints: the creative intent of the architect and the programmatic, functional needs of the client within their chosen site. Reflected within the framework of the institution of contemporary art, the role of the institution should be to provide the artist with the tools necessary to fulfil both the creative intent, and the functional needs within the given space. The curator should simply assist the artist in deliberate art place-making, versus only providing a place to hang artwork, or a pedestal to place sculpture—though, the latter could be a deliberate need of the artist’s intent!
The white-box model of art presentation was one which represented creative freedom from the institutionalized art museum codes of conduct; it was thus a continuous clean slate for new art, media and ideas. But for too many, the white-box now also embodies sentiments of exclusivity, and it now unavoidably has self constructed artist codes of conduct. As art presenters we can no longer afford to use exclusivity as a tool to elevate the value of contemporary artwork; that approach is dysfunctional. The intent and products of our contemporary artists must be made more accessible and conceptually unencumbered if we truly hope to convey our artist’s ideals. We need to elevate contemporary art to a position in society where it is a legitimate player in the evolution of our global culture, where the current, long standing owner of that title is pop-culture.
I look forward to your committed support and please visit us soon!
In a reinforcing effort to manifest May’s mission, May also developed and incubated the first specialty art, design and creative source publications shop, May books in the fall of 2014. May books has since left the auspices of May gallery & residency and is now called The Stacks, which operates in New Orleans’ Contemporary Art Center.
We’re very proud to have taken a key role in the continuation of New Orleans’ contemporary art community development, and hopefully, our mission—to bring transparency and accessibility to contemporary art, its culture, and the means of its production— has served it’s purpose and will continue to inspire others.
Established in 2012 and closed January 1st, 2017, May produced and funded eleven immersive, multi-sensory, large-scale solo exhibitions by exceptional, emerging and mid-career international, contemporary artists. Among May’s funding organizations and partners include The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Mondriaan Fund, Prospect New Orleans, The Joan Mitchell Center, many local and national foundations, and numerous individual donors from around the world.
Over the four years that May operated, hundreds of people volunteered and participated as board members to help produce the astounding and consistently awe-inspiring immersive exhibitions, which thousands of visitors from around the world viewed and participated in. May gallery & residency was the first international artist residency in the Greater New Orleans area. It provided a 3000 square foot open floor plan space, and full funding for our residents’ housing, art creation, and living expenses. May’s artists were supported to produce experimental, architectural-intervention style art exhibitions which would be typically unsalable in a commercial setting, and too burdensome and costly for many institutions to install and maintain.