Jonathan Ferrara Gallery Info:

Friday, October 31, 2014

NolaVie Features Dan Tague's 'The Chapel of the Almighty Dollar' Prospect.3+ Installation

Dan Tague  |||  The Chapel of the Almighty Dollar  |||  Installation View


By Renée Peck

For years, Dan Tague has been working on a series of artworks based on American dollar bills that are folded in Origami-like ways to spell out provocative phrases. The first bill he ever folded was done while sitting on a rooftop during Hurricane Katrina, contemplating 8 feet of water below.

“I sat there just thinking, where does all the money go?” Tague says. “We can deploy 20,000 troops somewhere in a day, but we can’t get someone off a roof for seven days. All I could think about, sitting there, was that we have all these resources and we can fund private wars but we couldn’t get people out of New Orleans.”

That first idly folded dollar bill (“I’ve always loved word play,” says Tague) spelled out “The Osama Wars.” He’s gone on to do many more. Now, the artistic culmination of Tague’s fascination with money is a 14-foot-tall golden pyramid that he has constructed in a front yard on St. Claude Avenue.

“I named it the Chapel of the Almighty Dollar because, in one way or the other, whether we like it or not, it’s the guiding force of how the world turns,” Tague explains. “We see what happens when banks fold, when countries go bankrupt, the economic impact of wars, you name it. Everything is based in money. You see a movie and it’s based on how much money it grossed, not how good it is. It just seems that everything is heading that way.”

The chapel is totally dark when you enter it. Once inside, a dim light and soft music slowly begin to swell.

“It takes about a minute or so for your eyes to adjust and then the walls start having messages from folded dollar bills,” Tague says. “As you walk in, it says the almighty dollar, and to the right it says the pursuit of happiness, and to your left is appearing the root of all evil, and as you leave, the end is near. So it’s kind of something for the whole spectrum of money lovers.”

Everything about the chapel has relevance to Tague. The pyramid, of course, is taken directly from the U.S. dollar bill. To enter, visitors have to stoop to get through a small door painted with the image of the eye of the needle – the small gate in the wall of Jerusalem that required a camel to kneel to get through, and the basis of the verse in Matthew: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

“Everyone has to crawl in and face the same kind of humility, no matter where you are at on the spectrum of economics,” Tague elaborates.

Tague’s chapel also has an international aspect to it.

“I wanted the chapel to be non-denominational, so I have the dollar bill sign in the entrance way and as you walk around it there’s also the euro, the pound and the yen. So, the four major trading units.“

Tague put equal meaning into the 20-watt chandelier that gradually lights the chapel for visitors.

“The chandelier, I guess, is a lot of different concepts of Americana,” he says. “There’s M16 bullets, the kind of iconic World War II guns, there’s a baseball bat that I actually carved that’s the center stem. In the bottom of it, the chandelier actually doubles as a reliquary. The bottom ball of the chandelier has an actual bill folded that says The American Icon, so you can make a pilgrimage to see it.“

Tague’s friend Heathcliff Hailey, who is also the chef at Mimi’s in the Marigny, composed the 6-minute soundtrack for the installation.

“ He took the Gregorian chant of the end times and also dubbed in a beat for the spirits of prosperity, so kind of like nice bookends of the message of the chapel.”

Tague says that he likes to think that his chapel has the largest congregation in the world, at almost 7 billion.

“Everyone who uses money.,” he says with a laugh. “As long as you’re spending it, whether you like it or not you’re a practitioner.”

The religious symbolism of the piece is done a bit tongue-in-cheek, Tague says. But there is definitely a serious side to his work. The chapel is meant to be a contemplative space.

“I wanted people to really go in there and relax and meditate and take it all in for however they need to contemplate these issues. It’s art about the idea of what money means, what wealth is. To start the conversation I didn’t want to tiptoe around it, so I went straight for it.”

Tague allows three or four people in at a time, and keeps the door closed for three minutes or so. It’s the adjustment of the eyes to dark and then light that creates the effect of images literally emerging from the wall. A carpeted floor and three or four body pillows cushion the experience.

So far, Tague says, only a couple of people have refused to crawl into the dark, fearing bouts of claustrophobia. And a bit surprising to him, he says, is the fact that the vast majority of visitors have emerged with big smiles. That, he says, is gratifying.

“This isn’t so much about idolizing money, but just the constant preoccupation with it. I want an open dialogue.”

The Chapel of the Almighty Dollar is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday through Sunday at 3919 St. Claude Avenue. 

Nikki Rosato Featured in Art New England for RAA Group Exhibition 'Out of Bounds'

Nikki Rosato, Jill (Cape Ann), 2014, hand cut road map

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Have a Look Inside JFG and YEP's First of Four Community Panel Discussions for 'Guns in the Hands of Artists'

Photography courtesy of Rheneisha M. Roberston, Executive Director of The Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies

The next panel discussion will be held on Wednesday, November 19th from 5:30 pm - 7:30pm at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery and will focus on the experiences of people directly affected by community and/or gun violence. This panel will also feature Dr. Vera Triplett who will speak about the psychology of victim blaming.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

YEP Panel Discussion with #GunsInTheHandsOfArtists ::: STREAMING LIVE NOW!

Please join Jonathan Ferrara Gallery and Youth Empowerment Project for the 1st of four panel discussions in conjunction with Guns in the Hands of Artists. If you are unable to physically attend the discussion, please go to :

'Guns in the Hands of Artists' Featured in Art News


BY M.H. Miller 

Luis Cruz Azaceta, Shot, 2014, guns, cotton, nails, tape on wood, 37 x 48 x 11 in.  

William Villalongo, Sleeping on Reason, 2014, gun, ceramic head, velvet flock, velvet pillow in PlexiGlass box, 12.25 x 12.25 x 8 in.  

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery on tony Julia Street, home to Emeril’s and a row of kitschy galleries, had organized a group show where the gallery had acquired guns from the NOPD—this took two years of bureaucratic navigation, Ferrara told me—and commissioned pieces using the weapons by a number of artists. These ranged from minimalist sculptures like R. Luke Dubois’s Walther 9mm resting on a steel plate to less subtle symbolism like William Villalongo’s gun resting on a velvet pillow with a ceramic sculpture of a baby’s head acting as its chamber to Skylar Fein’s bong constructed out of a Mossberg shotgun (“Mossbong”). Everything was for sale. The most expensive piece was by Luis Cruz Azaceta and cost $45,000.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bradley McCallum's Special Performance "Smelting: A Gun Legacy" for #GunsintheHandsofArtists

A Gun Legacy: Hartford - New Orleans
a special performance by

24 October 2014, 6:15pm
in conjunction with Guns in the Hands of Artists
an official P.3+ exhibition

(New Orleans, Louisiana) October, 2014

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery is proud to announce a special performance by artist Bradley McCallum entitled A Gun Legacy: Hartford – New Orleans. The performance will take place in front of the gallery at 6:15pm on 24 October 2014 in conjunction with the opening of Prospect.3. For his contribution to the exhibition Guns in the Hands of Artists, McCallum will perform a live pour of smelted firearms and ammunition, casting them in a mold that he designed for his Manhole Cover Project in 1996. This public art project began in Hartford, CT at the same as the first “Guns in the Hands of Artists. Now, the two activist projects join together, as “A Gun Legacy” continues in New Orleans.

McCallum says of the performance . . . 

In this live pour, I intend to link performance and object, and bridge my 1996 work The Manhole Cover Project that cast 228 utility cover from 11,194 guns that were confiscated by Connecticut law enforcement to New Orleans’ current effort in transforming weapons into art. During the performance, I will smelt guns taken from the streets of New Orleans along with gun shell casings, and pour this iron-infused brass into a sand-cast impression lifted from the pattern that was used in the Manhole Cover Project. Part alchemy, part historical reference, this transformation and symbolic tracing of a past work aims to remind us that the national conversation around gun violence and ownership has not changed. The object fabricated in this performance will fuse the present with the past -- the metal disc made from the impression of the manhole cover pattern will be penetrated with firearms taken from the streets of New Orleans, to create a touch stone that aims to contribute to the civic discourse concerning gun ownership that is active in this local community. 

The epidemic of gun violence that shaped the urban cities in the 1990’s and was a focus of my work for a decade is still active. The mothers who have lost children to gun violence 20 years ago are joined each year in small and large cities alike. Our national policies have not changed and even the most reasonable efforts to enact gun legislation face huge obstacles.  Our national attention focuses only momentarily when major tragic acts of violence are in the headlines, but for the thousands of families who have lost loved ones to gun violence and incarceration each year the impact of this public health crises continues to be felt.  As artists we can contribute to this essential discourse and to contribute to long overdue change. 

Bradley McCallum was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1966, and trained at Virginia Commonwealth University (BFA, 1989) and Yale University (MFA, 1992). He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, since 1998.

McCallum’s installations embody the silenced lives of individuals and the disempowerment of communities. Representational in form yet open to interpretation, his work serves as testimonies on behalf of victims and perpetrators. McCallum creates collective social portraits and works in close collaboration with a team of researchers, assistants, production specialists and the communities to which his work refers. He challenges audiences by activating them in an examination of notions of human rights, democracy and truths about the violence, alienation, and inhumanity that underlie countless aspects of social interaction in present-day society. McCallum is currently the Artist in Residence at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court in New York.

In addition to his solo practice, McCallum is part of the collaborative art duo McCallum & Tarry since 1999. Together they emphasize personal and racial histories to address larger issues of race, justice and social exclusion in the United States. Their collaborative work is often large-scale and site-specific, and relies on civic advocacy to confront and make connections with local communities. Their works range from video, paintings and performance, to sculpture and installations.

The first retrospective of his collaborative work with Jacqueline Tarry, Bearing Witness, was organized by The Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, Maryland (2010). A second survey took place at the Burchfield Penny Center in Buffalo, New York (2012-2013). He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad including: Quintenz Gallery, Aspen (2014); Galerie Nordine Zidoun, Luxembourg (2012); Nichido Contemporary, Tokyo (2011); Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta (2010); SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe (2010); Prospect 1 Biennale in New Orleans (2008); Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, Portland (2008) and the Wadsworth Atheneum (1996).