"My deep love for the city and its culture, combined with my experience in the field of city-wide international exhibitions fated me as the lynchpin of national and international cooperation - from foundations, philanthropists, museums, galleries and artists, as well as a buy-in from the local tourist infrastructure. With an amazing staff, board, volunteers and creative partners, we turned the initial despair of disaster into purposefulness, and neither New Orleans nor the American curatorial field will ever be quite the same."
PROSPECT NEW ORLEANS
Founding Executive Director & Artistic Director
2007 - 2012
New Orleans, LA/New York, NY
Prospect New Orleans, the largest contemporary art exhibition in the US, came into existence from the wreckage that New Orleans experienced following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005. Envisioning the city as the site for a recurring international exhibition of contemporary art, Dan Cameron developed Prospect.1 as the first-ever city-wide exhibition in the US.
The immediate goal of Prospect New Orleans was to provide a new form of cultural tourism for a city that had lost much of its tourist income in the aftermath of the 2005 floods. Stimulating art world participation in the city’s rebuilding efforts helped direct a vital flow of targeted revenue into the local arts economy, with a direct economic impact from Prospect.1 of more than $25 million. On a more long-term basis, Prospect’s mission was to raise national awareness about the vitality of New Orleans’ visual art community, so that it would become as well-known as the city’s rich gastronomic and musical heritage.
Prospect.1 was developed as the first-ever city-wide contemporary art exhibition in the US. Due to their calendars having been upended by the disaster caused by flooding after Katrina weakened its levee system, most museums in the city participated as venues, including New Orleans Museum of Art, Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans African-American Museum, Newcomb Museum at Tulane University, and the U.S. Mint, along with more than a dozen pop-up venues and satellite exhibitions. Prospect.1 opened on November 1, 2008 and continued through January 2009.
Eighty artists and collaborative groups presented works for Prospect.1 New Orleans, about half of which were in the form of outdoor and/or public works that received much of the press attention.
The public and media success of Prospect New Orleans did not alleviate the depth and duration of the 2008-09 financial crisis, which resulted in a one-year delay in presenting Prospect.2, establishing the pattern of a triennial format. As a way to continue the momentum of Prospect during what became an off-year in 2010, nearly a dozen museums, galleries and other spaces presented Prospect.1.5, which centered on New Orleans artists, including natives who’d become transplants elsewhere in the U.S., and out-of-town visitors who came for a visit and stayed.
With twenty-seven participating artists in the last iteration organized by founder Dan Cameron, Prospect.2 opened on October 22, 2011 and ran through January 29, 2012. The curatorial emphasis was more ecologically driven, and many works were in the form of public art commissions, some of which, like Alexis Rockman's Battle Royale and Francesco Vezzoli's Piazza d'Italia, belong to public institutions. Other participating artists include Sophie Calle, Nick Cave, Jonas Dahlberg, Bruce Davenport, Jr., Dawn DeDeaux, R. Luke Dubois, Keit Duncan, William Egglestone, Nicole Eisenman, Karl Haendel, Ragnar Kjartansson, An-My Lê, Iván Navarro, Lorraine O'Grady, Ozawa Tsuyoshi, Gina Phillips, William Pope L., Ashton Ramsey, Joyce J. Scott, Jennifer Steinkamp, Dan Tague. Robert Tannen, Grazia Toderi, and Pawel Wojtisak.