NOT Supposed 2-Be Here
- On ViewJanuary 18 – May 23, 2020
- Curated byLaura Blereau
- Free Exhibition ToursFebruary 20, March 14, March 19, April 11, April 16, May 9, May 21 at noon
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.
Brandan “BMike” Odums (b. 1985) is a New Orleans-based visual artist engaged in a transnational dialogue about the intersection of art and resistance. Using film, painting, and site-specific installation, BMike’s work captures contemporary American social phenomena such as the political fervor of a generation of activists coming of age amidst the nation’s first Black president, the emergence of the self-care movement, and a resurgence in awareness of violence by law enforcement.
After graduating from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, BMike worked as a filmmaker, creating original content through 2-Cent Entertainment, LLC and directing music videos for hip-hop artists like Curren$y, Juvenile, and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def). Attracted to the decidedly temporary nature of graffiti, he began experimenting with the medium in 2012. His critically-acclaimed BE mural trilogy is sited throughout New Orleans and includes the former Florida Housing Project in the Lower Ninth Ward (Project BE, 2013), the five-story DeGaulle Manor apartment complex in Algiers (Exhibit BE, 2014), and a 35,000 square foot warehouse in the Bywater neighborhood (Studio BE, 2015-ongoing).
Outside of New Orleans, BMike’s murals appear in New York City’s Times Square, a men’s prison in Southern California, the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona, and on the streets of Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Jersey City, and along border walls of the West Bank. His collaborations have included partnerships with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Amnesty International, Boys & Girls Club, Colin Kaepernicks’ Know My Rights Camp, Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY, Common’s Imagine Justice, Nike, Cadillac, Red Bull, Starz, Spotify, OnStar, Bleacher Report, Complex Magazine, Revolt TV, and the Young Artist Movement youth mural project in New Orleans. The recipient of an NAACP Image Award, BMike has lectured at the Aspen Institute, TED conference, and many prestigious universities.