"Would you believe that the Sculpture Garden was under 3-6 feet of water after Katrina? We didn't lose any of the sculptures, but we did lose a good amount of vegetation--especially the magnolias," David informed me.
This was spoken as part of his role with the Garden, but we also ventured into the world of restaurants, travels, art, and jazz. In the course of our conversation, he asked if I listen to WWOZ (the local jazz station). He added that he is known as "Jelly Roll" and has an early morning show.
Reclining Mother and Child
This abstract sculpture represents the mother enclosing the child in a protective embrace. David elaborated upon this brief description, and just before departing, I asked if I could take his picture. After declining, he offered to take my photo, but I said that was not necessary. We parted, agreeing to a "No Photos" policy.
"Spider is a good example of the menace, anxiety and drama that has come to characterize her works. The monumentality of Spider can be disturbing because of one’s own predisposed associations with the arachnids.
From the plaque, in front of the piece it states: "This sculpture, by the nationally renowned African American artist Alison Saar is a thought provoking memorial to victims of terror and violence. The man, while formally dressed, is presented in a torturous position; yet he appears brave and resolute, preserving his personal dignity.
"Saar has made the figure into a bell, inspired by Japanese temple bells, which are rung in purification rites. When the chain is pulled on the back, a deep mournful sound is heard. The title, Travelin' Light, is taken from a popular Billie Holiday song."
This was a very unsettling work--as was this next one.
Window and Ladder—Too Late for Help
"This work was originally installed in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans for the 2008 Prospect.1, a citywide exhibition of international art including a number of site-specific works created in response to Hurricane Katrina... its placement in New Orleans commemorates the destruction of large areas of the city and the slow rescue of thousands of stranded citizens after Katrina."
Do Ho Suh
"This amazing 23-foot stainless steel sculpture...features a male figure surmounted by a seemingly endless chain of alter egos, rising into the sky like a silver spinal column. The string of figures is faceted like a gem stone, lending a glittering digital effect to the strange tower. Each iteration of the man is holding his hands over the eyes of the man who precedes him.
"The enigmatic Karma is one of those ideal public artworks that is accessible enough to welcome all onlookers."
"Karma is created based on oriental philosophy that every person is related to a number of former lives. The work visually embodies the relationship of lives that a present reason may cause a present or future result by showing a number of people riding on each other.
"Connected by hope or by mutual resentment about perishing in fear would be an appropriate subtext to this piece."
Hercules the Archer
"Created in 1909, the sculpture depicts Hercules' Sixth Labor. Hercules was required to destroy a huge flock of man-eating birds at a lake near the town of Stymphalos. After Hercules was aided by Athena who gave him a pair of clappers to scare the birds from their hiding place, he was able to pick them off with his bow and poison-tipped arrows.
We wondered if the bird sitting on top of the bow knew the story.