Art Spill

Art Spill: Disaster, Art, Activism, and Recovery
Opening November 13, 2010, Closing Celebration Saturday, November 20

St. Claude Arts District in The Marigny
2822 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans, LA

Photo by Craig Morse (

This year in New Orleans, in conjunction with the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) 109th Annual Meeting, an eclectic array of artists, scholars, local organizations, and activists are collaborating to produce a constellation of interrelated exhibitions and panels that will take place as part of the St. Claude Arts Biennial.  One of these events is called Art Spill: Disaster, Art, Activism, and Recovery in Post-Katrina New Orleans.  Art Spill is a multidisciplinary event that will explore how art objects have exposed disaster, facilitated recovery, and participated in political activities in post-Katrina New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Art Spill is sponsored by Ethnographic Terminalia and Collective World Art Community, and is collaborating with Multispecies Salon III: SWARM and others. Art Spill consists of an exhibition, which will run from November 13-20 in the St. Claude Arts District; an AAA-sponsored, offsite panel consisting of scholars and artists whose work is relevant to social and ecological issues in the Gulf Coast region; and a juried art show and NOLA-style party to be held on November 20, the proceeds of which will be donated to the non-profit watchdog groups Defenders of the Coast and NOLA Emergency Response.

The Exhibition: November 13-20

Art Spill: Disaster, Art, Activism, and Recovery seeks to question the boundaries between art, activism, and science and engage with the politics of interdisciplinary work; sample the proliferation of post-Katrina “sensual culture”, including public art, documentary, demonstrations, and performances; and explore the role of the arts in recovery.  After the St. Claude Arts Biennial Kick-off Party, the Art Spill exhibit will open with a poetry reading at 6PM hosted by 17 Poets! Literary and Performance Series and the Gold Mine Saloon.  Works on exhibit Nov 13-20 include disaster and recovery-themed work by Abdul Aziz, Don Blancher of Sustainable Ecosystems LLC, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Ryan Burns, Beth Chasse, Pati D’Amico with text by Joel Dailey, Hunter Daniel, Dawn DeDeaux, Rex Dingler, Lynda Frese, Andrea Garland with text by Bill Lavender, Stacy Kranitz, the Krewe of Dead Pelicans, Malcolm MacClay, Craig Morse, Crista Rock, Karel Sloan-Boekbinder, José Torres-Tama, Hilary Wallis with text by Brenda Landry, and local architectural and scientific visual and political work dealing with these themes.  On the same night, Multispecies Salon 3: SWARM will open with edible companions, Swarm Orbs robots, and other festivities at The Front, Kawliga Studios, and Ironworks.  In addition, Ethnographic Terminalia will show works at Barrister’s Gallery as an extension of the show at Du Mois.  Together, we will provide a space for conversation (or creative conflict) between academic approaches to reflexivity and engagement, and the politically charged ideas, practices, and things emerging in post-Katrina New Orleans.

The Panel:

November 20, 6:00pm-7:30pm
St. Claude Arts District in The Marigny,
2822 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans

This panel, featuring participants who work or have worked in New Orleans as artists, activists, and scholars, seeks to bring local artists and art works into anthropological conversations about the role of the arts, activism, and scholarship in the revealing of disaster, the facilitation of recovery, and political action.  Participants will be encouraged to use their personal biographies to explore tensions around art and technology, the roles of publics and experts, and the relationship between nature and culture.


  • Barbara Allen – Associate Professor, Director of the Graduate Program in Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Tech; author of Uneasy Alchemy: Citizens and Experts in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor Disputes (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003) and Dynamics of Disaster: Lessons on Risk, Response, and Recovery (London: Earthscan Press) edited with Rachel Dowty, foreword by Alan Irwin, forthcoming
  • Craig E. Colten –  Carl O. Sauer Professor, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University; author of An Unnatural Metropolis: Wresting New Orleans from Nature (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2005).
  • Dawn DeDeaux – Independent Artist,; currently working on “Project Mutants”
  • José Torres-Tama – Interdisciplinary Artist, Writer, Visual and Performance Artist, ArteFuturo Productions,; work includes “Cone of Uncertainty: New Orleans after Katrina” and “Aliens, Immigrants, and Other Evildoers.”
  • Elizabeth Underwood – Interdisciplinary Artist, AORTA Projects,


  • Eben Kirksey, Cultural Anthropologist, Mellon Fellow, CUNY Graduate Center New York

The Juried Art Show: Online and On Exhibit Nov 13-20

In the wake of the ongoing oil disaster, the exhibition will empower artists and visitors to contribute directly to the recovery of the Gulf Coast region by hosting a juried art show.  This juried show of artwork and crafts, organized by Collective World Art Community, will be on display to the public as part of the Art Spill exhibition.  Entries accepted for the juried portion of the show will be for sale through the duration of the exhibition as well as through a silent and online auction hosted by Tizm Online Auctions.  The final celebration for this event will take place on Saturday, November 20th.  Funds will be donated to the non-profit watchdog organizations Defenders of the Coast and NOLA Emergency Response.  To view and bid online, go to the Tizm website and click on “Art Spill: Silent and Online Auctions.”