Parallel Universe: Quintron and Miss Pussycat Live at City Park

Watch someone record their new album in a museum, meet hundreds of handmade puppets, and play with a Drum Buddy? Immerse yourself into the craft of Quintron & Ms. Pussycat. This winter, the New Orleans Museum of Art kicks off the 2010 Contemporary exhibition schedule with a celebration of New Orleans artists Quintron and Miss Pussycat. For the past fifteen years, they have inspired audiences around the world with their innovative approach to puppetry and organ based music. Widely known for their performances in music clubs and alternative art spaces, Parallel Universe: Quintron and Miss Pussycat Live at City Park, will be artists’ first museum exhibition. This multimedia presentation is designed to acquaint audiences with their work from previous years, and highlight new projects including the debut of a new video by Miss Pussycat, and an original music album by Quintron, which will be recorded entirely on-site at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Parallel Universe: Quintron and Miss Pussycat Live at City Park is organized by Miranda Lash, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. The exhibition will be on view in the second-floor Frederick R. Weisman Gallery from January 30 to May 2, 2010.

The exhibition will begin with a vibrant and comprehensive display of Miss Pussycat’s puppetry, a “parallel universe” the artist creates and channels within her set designs and performances. Hundreds of her puppets will take over the first gallery, spanning the length of Miss Pussycat’s career. Arranged in miniature landscapes, her handmade puppets fuse the surreal and fantastical with a dose of whimsy. Functional in purpose and beguiling in form, the puppets enact scenes laden with satire, humor, and wit, while appearing innocent and child-like. Describing the puppets as “portals to the spirit world,” the artist explains that the ritual of making a puppet show allows the puppets to assume a life of their own. “Once a good puppet is made, it tells me a story,” she explains. Her versatile working method as a puppeteer ranges from swiftly arranging puppet shows for rock concert stages, to painstakingly directing videos with large support crews and arranging prerecorded soundtracks. Miss Pussycat’s presentation will include the debut of a special episode of her puppet TV soap opera, Trixie and the Treetrunks, created just for the museum.

Quintron’s contribution to Parallel Universe will consist of two components: an interactive display of his patented DRUM BUDDY sound machines, and a commitment to undertake the recording of a new album in a gallery space. To accomplish this, the artist will install himself and his entire recording studio in NOMA’s contemporary galleries, surrounded by works of art culled from the museum’s collection. Offering his services as a temporary employee of NOMA, Quintron will clock in five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday during normal business hours, to work on the album. Having visited NOMA’s art storage numerous times since early 2009, the artist has carefully chosen a selection of paintings, primarily portraits from the last few centuries, to be displayed around his electric organ and recording table. Quintron will draw inspiration from these masterpieces and from the unique and unfamiliar experience of recording in front of an audience of museum visitors. Members of the public will be invited to enter the recording studio and observe the artist at work. During his final week of recording, from Wednesday, April 21 to Sunday, April 25, Quintron will not leave the confines of City Park for five consecutive days in order to concentrate fully on completing the project. Adding the final touches to his album by day, the artist will explore the “wilds” of the 1,300-acre urban park by night.

A gallery located adjacent to Quintron’s recording studio will focus on the development of Quintron’s patented instrument the DRUM BUDDY, a light-activated analog synthesizer. Based on the principal of light-sensing circuits, the DRUM BUDDY is capable of uniquely replicating kick, snare, base/organ and record-scratching sounds. On display will be early prototypes dating from the mid-1990s, specimens from each of Quintron’s production runs, as well as several new DRUM BUDDIES with added features. The public will have the opportunity to make their own music on a DRUM BUDDY that has been specially designed for museum use.

To assist Quintron in documenting his recording process, NOMA is pleased to be collaborating with the non-profit organization Open Sound New Orleans, a community media project led by Jacob Brancasi and Heather Booth. On a weekly basis Quintron will send audio updates (ambient and musical “snapshots” rather than finished recordings) to Open Sound, which can then be accessed online, through the free website: www.opensoundneworleans.com.

Public Programs:

Saturday, January 30, 2010, 5:30-9 p.m.- Opening reception

A reception will commemorate the opening of Parallel Universe, and prepare the public for Quintron’s first week of recording sessions. A cash bar will be available in the Great Hall and the Museum will be open throughout the evening for viewing of Parallel Universe and other current exhibitions.

Wednesday, March 31 6-8 p.m.

Artist Talk and Film Screening

Screening of a film by Miss Pussycat with Q & A to follow

Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 6-8 p.m. Listening Party

Celebrating the completion of Quintron’s latest album recorded on site, NOMA will host a listening party of his new tracks.

About the Artists:

Separate masters of their respective realms, yet eternally each other’s “assistant,” the artists have been touring together as Quintron and Miss Pussycat since 1995. Together they manage the nightclub, The Spellcaster Lodge, in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward.

Panacea Theriac, otherwise known as Miss Pussycat, is a New Orleans based puppeteer. Born in Antlers, Oklahoma, she began learning puppetry at the Christian Puppet Youth Ministry at the First Baptist Church of Antlers. In 1993 she moved to New Orleans and assisted in founding the influential night club “Pussycat Caverns.” For the past fifteen years she has traveled internationally conducting puppet shows in rock clubs and art galleries. She is the President of Rhinestone Records and produces vinyl LPs of her puppet band, Flossie and the Unicorns. Her three full-length puppet movies, North Pole Nutrias (2002), Electric Swamp (2005), and most recently Trixie and The Treetrunks (commissioned by Vice magazine in 2007), have featured the voices of numerous New Orleans musical, political, and literary celebrities, including Sheriff Harry Lee, seafood entrepreneur Al Scramuzza, Antoinette K-Doe, and Andrei Codrescu.

Quintron has been making genre-defying noise and “Swamp-Tech” dance music in New Orleans for over fifteen years. His ten full-length albums have the soul of New Orleans R&B filtered through a cache of self-made electronic instruments. He has also released experimental soundscapes based on inner-city field recordings of frogs and neighborhood ambiance. Quintron regards his most significant creation to be his patented instrument called the DRUM BUDDY, a light activated analog synthesizer that creates murky, low-fidelity, rhythmic patterns. Notable DRUM BUDDY clients include performers Nels Cline of Wilco, Laurie Anderson, and Mr. Dibbs.

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