The Space Between Worlds: A New Experience at NOMA


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) —A brand new Exhibition is on display at the New Orleans Museum of art titled: Dawn DeDeaux: The Space Between Worlds. It is a retrospective of the environmental concerns of Louisiana and the greater world.

Dawn DeDeaux is a true daughter of Louisiana. Her love and concern for the natural world and mankind’s relationship in it is brought into focus. Close to 50 years of the acclaimed artists’ work is represented in this new exhibit.

It’s a personal story not only because of the urgency in environment that the art represents, but because DeDeaux once lost much of her work that dated back to the 1970’s because of Hurricane Katrina. NOMA now displays her works, resurrected weeks after Hurricane Ida.

“Katrina is kind of the mid career marker. It decidedly shifted me more to ecological concern. I was dealing with environmental issues as a subject before. However, there was no going back after Hurricane Katrina. To imagine that we would have this very ambitious retrospective in the midst of the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which happened on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina; it represents another bookend,” says DeDeaux.

There is much to look at in the engaging displays. One piece is a reimagining of an earlier work, where DeDeaux took musical instruments she found in the mud on the streets, after Hurricane Katrina and created a symbolic viking funeral boat. In that original piece she collaborated with trumpeter and composer Terrance blanchard.

“He allowed me to work with him. We used a composition from his album: A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) called Funeral Dirge. You’d would hear coming out of the horns his gorgeous piece of music. There were little microphones coming out of the bells of the horns,” says DeDeaux.

Like the great catastrophes of the past, visitors will see what looks like Greek Ruins of temples, but are instead storm debris columns from Louisiana homes.

Another piece is a large ring that is suggesting of a spaceship that would transport the world’s people, should the earth be doomed after a lack of environmental intervention.

Katie Pfohl is Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at NOMA and says, “this display is trying to take issues that feel important in Louisiana, like climate change and coastal erosion and treat them as something that effects everyone. It’s part of a world conversation about climate and this moment that we are in and what it means to confront a world that seems to be falling apart.”

Although the art displays apocalypse, it is not without hope. It is instead can be a portrayed as a cautionary tale instilling the message of how mankind should be a better steward of mother earth. It’s also a message that instills the message of how Louisiana’s people have an inherited DNA of resilience.

“At the end of this day, this exhibition for me, is about noticing and appreciating the splendor of what remains. It’s seeing the importance of culture, community and the power of nature,” says Katie Pfohl.

Dawn DeDeaux’s message in her artwork is as potent as always and she says ” think the environmental challenges that we face here in Louisiana have pulled us from this place that seems locked into the past and known for its past. We are at a front row seat looking at the future and what that means to have one.”

Dawn DeDeaux: The Space Between Worlds opens Friday at NOMA and will be on display until January 23rd.

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