• Prospect.5: Yesterday we said tomorrow
    Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi
    Prospect New Orleans
    Oct 23, 2021 to Jan 23, 2022
    Prospect New Orleans

Nari Ward, rendering for "Battleground Beacon," 2020. Graphite on paper. Courtesy the artist

The title of the exhibition was inspired by New Orleans jazz musician Christian Scott’s socially conscious 2010 album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow. The unspoken present is centermost in this frame, the site where past and future converge, which has always contained the possibility of other courses. Prospect.5: Yesterday we said tomorrow addresses the social body and the individual, suggesting the deferral of structural and political change and is led by Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi, the Susan Brennan Artistic Directors and the first women curators of Prospect. The exhibition takes its cues from the specificity of our moment and of New Orleans itself, a city where inextricable layers of history and culture are a presence held in the land and where performance and resistance define daily life. Artists employ diverse readings, interpretative models, and various forms to create a nuanced interrogation and retelling of history that is attuned to our complex era. Resistance, liberation, and an insistence on existence have taken many forms. This exhibition brings together more than fifty artists who employ strategies that rely on the embodied, the imagined, the scholarly, the irrational, the felt, the connective, and the firsthand.

Naima J. Keith is the vice president of education and public programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Her recent exhibitions include the historical survey Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974–1989 (2014); Nicole Miller: Athens, California (2018); Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street (2016); Titus Kaphar (2014); Glenn Kaino (2014); Robert Pruitt (2013); The Shadows Took Shape (with Zoe Whitley, 2013); and Fore (with Lauren Haynes and Thomas Lax, 2012).

Diana Nawi is a Los Angeles-based independent curator who most recently organized exhibitions by Mark Bradford (Long Museum, Shanghai) and Michael Rakowitz (REDCAT, Los Angeles). Previously, she was associate curator at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) where she organized exhibitions by John Dunkley, Nari Ward, and several others.

Nick Stillman is executive director of Prospect New Orleans. Prior to joining Prospect, Stillman was president and CEO of the Arts Council New Orleans. Before the Arts Council, Stillman taught modern and contemporary art history at the University of New Orleans and was managing editor of BOMB Magazine. He has organized exhibitions of artists such as Kalup Linzy and Joe Bradley for PS1 Institute of Contemporary Art and has written for Artforum, Flash Art, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other publications.

Prospect New Orleans’s mission is to present artwork by local, national, and international artists in both traditional and highly unexpected environments with an emphasis on collaborative partnerships and site specificity. Prospect invites residents and visitors to celebrate art and artists as intrinsic to the local landscape and to experience New Orleans as they never have before. Prospect was founded in 2007 and the landmark Prospect.1 opened in 2008 as a response to post-Katrina conditions in New Orleans. Since then it has become perhaps the definitive recurring exhibition in North America and the only American biennial/triennial that is spread throughout its city with a decade-long track record. Prospect’s commitment is to elevate voices of diverse artists and to engage a diverse public as central to its identity. We consider New Orleans’ own diversity and relationships to the American South and Caribbean with our choice of artists, projects, venues, and partners.