New art instillation unveils Tulane’s archives as latent treasures

NEW ORLEANS -- Universities from around the globe typically have that one section of campus called the "stacks," which generally holds the school's archives.

At the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane, a couple of artists decided to unveil a few pieces of the campus's archives and turn it into an entire art exhibition.

The latent treasures have been hidden in plain sight.

"What we've done here is look at what's held in public trust in the archives of Tulane University to explore what New Orleans might mean today...300 years after it was founded," says one of the artists and co-founder of Fallen Fruit, David Burns.

Burns and Austin Young from Los Angeles have dubbed this installation "Empire, " which sheds light on the different cultures that make up the city of New Orleans. The exhibition is commissioned and presented by Newcomb Art Museum, Pelican Bomb, and A Studio in the Woods and activates objects held by 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, among other campus collections as well as the Amistad Research Center.

"We want to think about what meaning means, not just in terms of our own personal identities, but what culture means overtime. One of my favorite things is unexpected here, and it probably is the fish that were cataloged and archived over decades and stored and preserved by Tulane," says Burns.

Every sculpture, painting, and jewelry displayed in the exhibition equals 300 pieces of art and pays homage to the tricentennial.

The artists even created original wallpaper for the expo.

"We created this wallpaper, it's called the French Quarter. We think of wallpaper as a portrait of the city, as a portrait of a place. So, we made 3 different wallpapers for this exhibition," says the other co-founder of Fallen Fruit, Austin Young.

All of the pieces that are displayed allows anyone who visits the museum a chance to walk through time.

"There are all of these objects that ended up in the archives here, and I think hopefully, when you see the show, you will get a sense of a feeling about New Orleans," says Young.

The exhibition opens to the public on Friday, April 13th.

5:30 pm – Private VIP/members reception featuring New Orleans themed catering, desserts by Salt & Light Pastry Co., a garden-style mixologist, and live entertainment

6:30 pm – Talk with David Allen Burns and Austin Young of artist collective Fallen Fruit

7:30-9 pm – Public reception

For more information on the exhibition and on the "Fallen Fruit" project, click here.