Elsewhere: Global Council Goes to Prospect.4

The 2018 Global Council trip took members to the closing weekend of Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp in New Orleans.

The Studio Museum in Harlem's Global Council at Prospect.4
Photo: Josh Bell

Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp
November 16, 2017–February 25, 2018
New Orleans, LA

Every three years, the city of New Orleans is inundated by artists from around the world who participate in a citywide triennial called Prospect. Prospect.4 is the fifth installment, following Prospect.1, 2, and 3, as well as an interim-year program focused on artists from or working in New Orleans. This year’s triennial was presented under the artistic leadership of Trevor Schoonmaker, chief curator at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. The theme, The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, was inspired by the beautiful lotus plant that takes root in the fetid mud of swamps. The lotus refers to the natural location of New Orleans, a city surrounded by bayous, lakes, and wetlands. The flower is symbolic of enlightenment, suggesting the possibility of overcoming arduous challenges to produce something beautiful and also alluding to the city’s unique cultural landscape as a creative force. The triennial has featured an incredible number of artists of African descent in past iterations. This year saw the participation of seventy-three local, national, and international artists, including Barkley L. Hendricks, Derrick Adams, Kahlil Joseph, Kara Walker, and Xaviera Simmons. While participating artists presented a broad range of international perspectives, the works made and selected seek to resonate with the city of New Orleans—aesthetically, musically, culturally, historically, and environmentally.

— Josh Bell