Newcomb Art Museum’s show
NOT Supposed 2-Be Here is the first solo exhibition in a museum setting for New Orleans’ visual artist Brandan “BMike” Odums.
Widely known and celebrated for his post-Katrina art interventions that disrupt public spaces with messages of resilience and resistance, over the past 15 years Odums’ practice has resulted in video art, painting, design, murals, and sculptures that strategically challenge the status quo, using crowdsourced creativity to bring attention to legacies of urban blight, civil rights, family and racial dynamics. Engaging narratives of unsung heroes, fantasy and parody, the New Orleans’ native’s work skates a line at the edge of pedagogy, street art, and pop-culture.
NOT Supposed 2-Be Here, which features brand new site-specific installations, as well as past work, is part retrospective and part futurescape. Addressing the question of who or what kind of art belongs in a museum, the show explores four different takes on inclusion and identity drawn across notions of art, race, place, and accessibility.
These themes take form as colossal paintings, sculpture, mixed media, and immersive installations – from one room that reckons with the spiritual impact of Katrina to another room that honors local legends from New Orleans Access Television (NOATV) and pays homage to Odums’ early roots in film and television during his time with 2-Cent Entertainment. The thread of questioning identity continues throughout the exhibition as Odums’ wrestles with such concepts as Black power, the definition of Blackness, and the responsibility of the artist to his audience and community.
NOT Supposed 2-Be Here is a chance for audiences to envision and engage with the bold histories –and futures– that Odums’ work encapsulates, and explore the alchemy of one of New Orleans’ most prominent, contemporary visual artists.