Keith Sonnier retrospective explores the influence of Louisiana art and culture

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Keith Sonnier retrospective explores the influence of Louisiana art and culture
Installation view: Keith Sonnier: Until Today Left to right: Mastodon (Herd Series), 2008; Circle Portal A (Portal Series), 2015; Circle Portal B (Portal Series), 2015; New Blatt Cinema (Blatt Series), 2016. Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, July 1, 2018–January 27, 2019. Photo: Gary Mamay.

NEW ORLEANS, LA.- The New Orleans Museum of Art presents Keith Sonnier: Until Today, on view March 15 through June 2, 2019. The first comprehensive museum survey for Keith Sonnier, the exhibition celebrates a pioneering figure in conceptual, post-minimal, video and performance art of the late 1960s. Born in Grand Mamou, Louisiana in 1941, Sonnier is widely recognized for his signature works executed in neon, deviating from much abstract art of the time in its engagement with questions of materiality, human connectivity, and politics.

“This exhibition explores Sonnier’s pioneering role as one of the first artists to incorporate light in sculpture,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “At a time when our city is particularly festive, we’re delighted to present works inspired by the landscape, art and culture of Louisiana.”

Keith Sonnier: Until Today includes over twenty key artworks and installations created between 1969 and 2018. Featured are some of Sonnier’s illustrious works in neon, as well as rarely exhibited works in sound, satin, radio waves, and bamboo that demonstrate Sonnier’s interest in the way architecture, light and form commingle to shape human experience, communication and interconnection.

“My first interest in light, I think, was how it felt on my skin rather than what it looked like to be bathed in light,” said artist Keith Sonnier. “My first light pieces were influenced by seeing the way light hit the rice fields in Louisiana and you could see it from miles away and it would wash the landscape. I owe a debt of gratitude to Louisiana as it has been the cornerstone of my cultural perception starting from my early childhood in Grand Mamou.”

Co-organized by Jeffrey Grove, Guest Curator and Terrie Sultan, Director of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, this exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with essays by curator Jeffrey Grove and NOMA’s Katie Pfohl. Also on view is Bondye: Between and Beyond, on view in NOMA’s Great Hall January 25 through June 16, 2019, featuring a series of elaborate sequined prayer flags created by artist Tina Girouard which pay tribute to Haitian Vodou spirits.

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