Just after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans in 2005, photographer Richard Misrach used a 4-megapixel pocket camera to capture messages left behind by evacuees. Some are warnings; some are cries for help or encouragement; some are tallies of loss. Exhibition open through Sunday, October 31, 2010.
Misrach composed a visual narrative that reveals the wrenching anguish of dealing with the aftermath of this horrific storm. Commemorating the hurricane´s fifth anniversary, the exhibition Richard Misrach: After Katrina presents 69 photographs that Misrach has generously given to the MFAH.
“These photographs were given not just to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, but also to the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the New Orleans Museum of Art,” said Yasufumi Nakamori, MFAH assistant curator of photography. “Their display around the nation allows us to collectively reflect on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, remember its impact on New Orleans and its citizens and rejoice in human resiliency.”
Misrach (born 1949) is best known for his Desert Cantos series, initiated in 1979 and still ongoing. Each canto within the series investigates specific aspects of the American West, from issues of water, to tourism, to the presence of the U.S. military. While developing the Cantos, Misrach has also produced series on the Golden Gate Bridge and Hawaiian beaches. The MFAH collects Misrach´s work in depth and in 1996 organized the artist´s midcareer retrospective, Crimes and Splendors: The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach.
Image: Richard Misrach, American, born 1949. Untitled (New Orleans and the Gulf Coast), 2005. Inkjet print, ed. #3/5, printed 2010. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of the artist. © Richard Misrach.