Curated by George Scheer, Katrina Neumann and Toccarra A. H. Thomas
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
September 18, 2020 – January 24, 2020
The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) New Orleans announced its 2020-2021 Fall season and the reopening of its galleries with the landmark exhibition, Make America What America Must Become, featuring the work of 35 regional artists and their collaborators from the Gulf South states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, the Indigenous area known as Bulbancha, Mississippi, and Texas.
In the context of the shifting landscape for artists in the South, the CAC has geographically expanded its annual open call and invited all Gulf South artists working across media to submit work that examined how power in America is manifested in culture, politics, economics, and ecology. During a season of discontent and upheaval, more than 400 artists submitted work for consideration.
Make America What America Must Become is inspired by a letter written by philosopher and American commentator James Baldwin to his nephew on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Baldwin offered an optimistic but urgent message, “Great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become.”
Co-Curator and CAC Executive Director George Scheer states: “The work in this exhibition speaks urgently to the current political paradigm and reflects broadly on the conjuring and churning of the American condition. This is the art of our time, and the depth and abundance of submissions reveal the strength of artistic voices throughout the region. As our institution and others face a once in a lifetime challenge, the CAC reaffirms its commitment to being a touchstone for Contemporary Art in the Gulf South and an asset to its artists.” Scheer worked alongside Co-Curator Katrina Neumann, Director, Private Collection, and Curatorial Consultant Toccarra A. H. Thomas, Director of the Joan Mitchell Center, to select the artists for the CAC’s seventh annual open call exhibition.
Langston Allston (LA), Jacksun Bein (LA), Lauren Cardenas (MS), Veronica Ceci (TX), Artist Collaboration (LA): Savannah Levin, Lacy Levin, Nelle Edge, Caitlin, Natalia Roa, Elias Serhan, Antonia Zennaro, Kjelshus Collins (LA), Veronica Cross (LA), Luis Cruz Azaceta (LA), Jeffery Darensbourg (Bulbancha), Stephen Paul Day (LA),Su Ecenia (FL), AnnieLaurie Erickson (LA), Adam Farcus (TX), André Fuqua (TX), Coulter Fussell (MS), Dustin Harewood (FL), Sarah Hill (LA),Ariel René Jackson (TX), C E Johnson (AL), Darryl Lauster (TX), Krystle Lemonias (FL), Fernando Lopez (Bulbancha), Gabriel Martinez (TX),Lionel Milton/ELLEONE (LA), Yue Nakayama (TX), Ned&ShivaProductions (FL) (Javier Barrera and Lynn Burgos), Derrick Woods-Morrow (IL), Ozone 504 (Bulbancha), Edison Peñafiel (FL), Dan Rule (LA), Dalila Sanabria (FL), Caroline Sinders (LA), Rosalie Smith (LA), Gabrielle Garcia Steib (LA), Kristine Thompson (LA), Monique Verdin (LA).