Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University

Fallen Fruit (David Allen Burns and Austin Young), “The French Quarter” for EMPIRE, 2018. Wallpaper pattern, variable dimensions.

April 10, 2018
A new commissioned artwork by David Allen Burns and Austin Young of Fallen Fruit
April 13–July 7, 2018
Opening: April 13
Fruit for All Day: April 14
Uncommon Exchanges: June 19, Conversations marking Juneteenth, featuring Bmike, Dr. Rosanne Adderley, and Denise Frazier
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From April 13 to July 7, 2018, Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University will present EMPIRE—an immersive art installation by Los Angeles-based artists Fallen Fruit (David Allen Burns and Austin Young) celebrating the New Orleans tricentennial—commissioned and presented by Newcomb Art Museum, A Studio in the Woods, and Pelican Bomb.

EMPIRE uses the vast archives and special collections at Tulane University as the material to create a complex visual narrative of New Orleans and its history of transnational trade and cultural rituals with myriad artifacts. Instead of following a chronological timeline, the immersive installation creates a more complex vision of our uniquely American city.

The exhibition explores the complex narratives of one of the country’s most important port cities and the dynamic culture that emerged from European, African, Caribbean, Latin American and indigenous influences. “We spent over a year researching the vast historic archives and interviewing each archivist—the process was rigorous, intuitive, and full of unexpected treasures,” says Young. In EMPIRE, Fallen Fruit intentionally includes historical records, ephemeral artifacts, artworks, and objects culled from various archives across Tulane’s campus including the Hogan Jazz Archive, Latin American Library, Louisiana Research Collection, Middle American Research Institute, Newcomb Art Museum, Newcomb College Institute, Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection / Tulane University Biodiversity Research Institute, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Tulane Law Library, and Tulane University Archives, as well as the Amistad Research Center and recontextualizes them in the museum. Burns explains, “We’re shifting the lexicon of historical meanings into one work of art.”

EMPIRE critically examines the principles of archives and anthropology to interrogate the ways histories are told, remembered, and revised. The immersive artwork considers the historical and contemporary effects that colonialism, slavery, trade, and tourism have had on the movement of culture across and beyond borders–to better understand the geographic and cultural position of New Orleans in relationship to Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. EMPIRE invites viewers to creatively interpret the displayed objects, their connections, and their juxtapositions to generate new meanings.

“This is not a survey show, but rather an installation about how archives perform on the campus; it is a generative space of active looking and listening—where all are invited to gather, and to enhance the various tapped bodies of cultural knowledge at Tulane,” says Burns. “Visitors may have repeat experiences, as with a prism or rainbow’s light spectrum, and see something different each time. The display is not intended to be encyclopedic, but instead communicates universal themes of the human condition.”

Fallen Fruit is an art collaboration originally conceived in 2004 by David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young. Since 2013, Burns and Young have continued the collaborative work.

EMPIRE at Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University is part of “Fallen Fruit of New Orleans” a suite of site-specific projects taking place throughout New Orleans from June 2017 through June 2018, commissioned and presented by Newcomb Art Museum, A Studio in the Woods and Pelican Bomb.

“Fallen Fruit of New Orleans” was initiated by Pelican Bomb in 2015.

Fallen Fruit’s EMPIRE exhibition at Newcomb Art Museum is made possible in part through the generous support of Jennifer Wooster (NC ‘91), Lora and Don Peters (A&S ‘81), the Newcomb College Institue of Tulane University, the Newcomb Art Museum advisory board, and the members of the museum.

Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University
April 10, 2018

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