Address: 134 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Co-Directors: Ricardo Barba and Amy Mackie
Open Hours: Friday and Saturday, noon to 5pm or by appointment (during exhibitions)
How is the project operated?
Press Street in New Orleans is currently our fiscal sponsor. We are in the process of building our board in anticipation of applying for nonprofit status in early 2014.
How long has it been in existence?
PARSE (formerly Parse Gallery), located in a three-story, late 19th century building in New Orleans’ Central Business District, functioned as a gallery from 2011 to 2013 presenting the work of emerging international artists. Artists Ricardo Barba and Margot Walsh oversaw this program.
In September 2013, PARSE announced a new curator-centric approach, inaugurated by Raw Material, a solo exhibition of the drawings and installations by New York-based artist Alyssa Dennis (organized by curator Amy Mackie). Invited curators will organize future exhibitions and events in conjunction with PARSE.
What was your motivation?
There are few contemporary art curators in New Orleans, thus we aim to bring curators to the city to engage with the local community as well as to produce projects and exhibitions at PARSE and beyond. We are also working to develop a lecture series through which established curators can talk about their practices and/or specific projects they have initiated and executed.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
Artist Ricardo Barba and curator Amy Mackie are Co-Directors of PARSE. Invited curators are responsible for their individual projects, exhibitions, or events. Emily Wilkerson, an emerging curator based in New Orleans, is organizing our upcoming exhibition opening in March 2014. Other events and projects will be announced soon.
How are programs funded?
PARSE is currently being funded out of our own pockets, but ultimately will be supported through foundation grants, city agencies, and private patrons. Bartering (with friends who are fellow artists and curators) has been essential since we re-launched our program during the Hand-in-Glove conference in New Orleans. We are also considering crowdsourcing initiatives such as Kickstarter as alternate fund raising approaches.
Who is responsible for the programming?
We (Ricardo Barba and Amy Mackie) are responsible for shaping the overall scope of the program, though invited curators are individually responsible for lectures, exhibitions, and events held at PARSE.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
Exhibitions at Parse Gallery initially opened on the first Friday of each month. After two years, the duration of exhibitions were extended. Under the rubric of PARSE, the space (and the entire three story building) now operates in a more organic and nomadic fashion to accommodate various approaches to exhibition making and thinking. Ultimately, we plan to host three to four curators annually.
What kinds of events are usually organized?
There is no usual at PARSE. There have been dinners, tea parties, tableau vivants, dance parties, magazine and book launches, exhibitions, performances, music shows, artist talks, lectures, etc. PARSE is constantly in flux and we think of both the building and program as a living organism that requires energy and ideas to allow it to grow.
How is your programming determined?
PARSE is all about bringing curators to New Orleans. We’re interested in emerging/established, independent/institutional, and local/international curators. The field of curatorial practice is expansive and curators work in/on/through many different platforms and embrace various approaches to researching, presenting, and thinking about contemporary art. We aim to support curators who challenge traditional methods of exhibition making and who are engaged in dialog about contemporary art internationally.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
Amy: We see PARSE as a resource and a platform for contemporary art and ideas. By hosting curators from around the world, we hope to connect artists, writers, and curators based in New Orleans to curators working in disparate contexts. We also encourage visiting curators to engage in studio visits with local artists and to spend time getting to know the community. I have worked primarily as a curator in institutions (at the New Museum in New York at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans), so PARSE is very new for me. I am excited to have the opportunity to nurture emerging curators and serve as a mentor, but I’m also really looking forward to inviting my peers to New Orleans to engage with the city’s vibrant arts community.
Ricardo: To create a space where the heart and the imagination can run free… To inspire the spirit into movement…
What’s working? What’s not working?
Everything is working so far! We are currently spending a good deal of our time planning and fundraising as we look towards 2014.
Not working: our sink!
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
Our mission statement pretty much summarizes this:
PARSE is a storefront gallery and curatorial residency in New Orleans’ Central Business District that serves as a platform for critical dialog about contemporary art. This program hosts three to four visiting curators in New Orleans annually to give lectures, curate exhibitions, engage in studio visits with local artists, conduct research in the area, and utilize the PARSE facilities to experiment with the boundaries and possibilities of curatorial practice.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?