U.S. Biennial, Inc. was founded in 2007 to produce the Prospect New Orleans biennial, conceived by curator and part-time New Orleans resident, Dan Cameron, shortly after Hurricane Katrina to contribute to the revitalization of this important U.S. city. Prospect New Orleans is modeled on the tradition of the great international biennials, such as the Venice Biennale and the Bienal de São Paulo, to showcase new artistic practices from around the world in settings that are both historic and culturally exceptional, and contribute to the cultural economy of New Orleans and the Louisiana Gulf region. The Prospect New Orleans biennial and U.S. Biennial’s ongoing community programs are designed to promote the study and teaching of art through the creation of stimulating visual arts curricula and programs; foster international exchange between local residents and visiting artists, arts professionals, and audiences; and strengthen the city’s art infrastructure by galvanizing the art community and inspiring progressive entrepreneurship.
In the tradition of the great international exhibitions, Prospect New Orleans invites leading contemporary artists from around the globe to exhibit at venues that include major cultural institutions, as well as non-arts venues, and public spaces. In addition to its impact on cultural tourism and the fact that people travel to and spend money in New Orleans to see Prospect, its larger impact has been the way that artists have embraced the social mission of the biennial, and created projects that resonate deeply with the City’s unique history, culture, people, and institutions, making a lasting impression on audiences both local and throughout the world. At the heart of Prospect is the connection that it enables between “high art” and the larger cultural landscape of the city, with its rich and diverse vernacular traditions of music, Mardi Gras Indians, second line parades, and other popular cultural forms. Prospect introduces audiences to the richness of New Orleans culture as seen through the eyes of artists.
Most recently, Prospect.3: Notes for Now ran from October 25, 2014 to January 25, 2015, under the Artistic Direction of Franklin Sirmans. The exhibition showcased 58 local, national, and international artists at 18 venues citywide and offered related art education and community programs, most of which were free and open to the public. Prospect.3 broke organizational attendance records for its previous biennials (including its inaugural biennial in 2008) inviting an audience composed of more than 100,000 local, national, and international visitors. Prospect.2 ran from October 22, 2011 through January 29, 2012 at 16 venues throughout New Orleans and featured 27 local, national, and international artists (attendance of 72,000). Prospect.1.5, an experimental interim-year program focused on artists from or working in New Orleans and the Southeast region, was organized in collaboration with public art centers and museums, schools, alternative spaces and commercial galleries in New Orleans from November 6, 2010 to February 19, 2011. These group exhibitions and solo projects involved more than 50 artists (attendance of 29,000). In its inaugural biennial exhibition in 2008-09, Prospect.1 New Orleans featured 81 artists who exhibited at 24 venues throughout the city (attendance of 88,000), generating over $23 million in economic activity.
Prospect.4 New Orleans
Prospect.4 will open in Fall 2017 and run through winter 2018. Trevor Schoonmaker, the Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at Duke University, has been named Artistic Director.
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