Mending the Sky at New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), October 9, 2020 – January 31, 2021

“The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) presents Mending the Sky, the museum’s first major exhibition following New Orleans’ months-long shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibition brings together eleven artists’ projects that respond to a world turned upside down. Working across the fields of art, animation, and performance, the artists work to shift conversations, challenge entrenched views, and subvert the established order.

Inspired by one of the works in the exhibition, Mending the Sky takes its title from a Chinese fable in which a rip in the sky causes the earth to split open, bringing floods, fires, famine, and disease—until a goddess comes to take on the arduous task of mending the broken sky. Each of the artworks in the exhibition help give shape to the aftermath of calamity, building towards a more equitable future by helping to envision the new world that might rise in the wake of crisis. Premiering several major new acquisitions by both locally based and internationally recognized artists, Mending the Sky brings a global perspective to issues currently affecting the city of New Orleans, the United States and the world. With roots in Brazil, China, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Vietnam, India, Europe, and the American South, each of these artist projects are also acts of world-building that offer a glimpse of a future that cannot yet be seen.” — New Orleans Museum of Art

Beili Liu, After All / Mending The Sky, 2018- ongoing, Silk, cyanotype, sewing needle, thread, wire, hardware, dimensions variable, 2017 © Beili Liu Studio
Beili Liu, After All / Mending The Sky, 2018- ongoing (detail), Silk, cyanotype, sewing needle, thread, wire, hardware, dimensions variable, 2017 © Beili Liu Studio
Firelei Báez, the trace, whether we are attending to it or not (a space for each other’s breathing), 2019, Acrylic, oil and transfer on archival printed canvas, 90 x 114 3/8 inches, Museum Purchase, Carmen Donaldson Fund, 2019.34, Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York. Photo: Phoebe d’Heurle
Firelei Báez, the trace, whether we are attending to it or not (a space for each other’s breathing), 2019 (detail), Acrylic, oil and transfer on archival printed canvas, 90 x 114 3/8 inches, Museum Purchase, Carmen Donaldson Fund, 2019.34, Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York. Photo: Phoebe d’Heurle
Baseera Khan, Braidrage, 2017-ongoing, Indoor rock-climbing wall made from
99 unique poured dyed resin casts of the corners of the artist’s body,
embedded with wearable Cuban chains, hair, and hypothermia blankets,
Dimensions variable, Collection of the Artist, Installation view at the
University of Albany, Photo by Ariana Sarwari © Baseera Khan
Lorna Williams, Lore, 2017, Plaster teeth, vines, plumbing hardware, light
fixture, 64 x 32 x 72 inches, New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum Purchase
© Lorna Williams
Lorna Williams, Lore, 2017, Plaster teeth, vines, plumbing hardware, light
fixture, 64 x 32 x 72 inches, New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum Purchase
© Lorna Williams
Jamilah Sabur, Un chemin escarpé / A steep path, 2018, Five-channel video, Installation from the Hammer Museum, Color, sound, 10:27 min (Edition 1/2), Museum Purchase, Carmen Donaldson Fund, 2019.35, Courtesy of the Artist and Nina Johnson, Miami. Photo: Jeff McLane © Jamilah Sabur
Jamilah Sabur, Un chemin escarpé / A steep path, 2018 (still), Five-channel video, Installation from the Hammer Museum, Color, sound, 10:27 min (Edition 1/2), Museum Purchase, Carmen Donaldson Fund, 2019.35, Courtesy of the Artist and Nina Johnson, Miami. Photo: Jeff McLane © Jamilah Sabur
Clarissa Tossin, Encontro das Águas (Meeting of Waters), 2016-18, Woven archival inkjet print on vinyl (4 1/2 x 50 feet), terra-cotta objects, fishnet, thread, kraft paper and woven baskets and backpack made out amazon.com boxes, Installation View: Blanton Museum of Art, UT Austin (January 13 – July 1, 2018), Collection of the Artist © Clarissa Tossin
Clarissa Tossin, Encontro das Águas (Meeting of Waters), 2016-18 (detail),
Woven archival inkjet print on vinyl, 4 1/2 x 50 feet, Installation View: Blanton
Museum of Art, UT Austin (January 13 – July 1, 2018),
Collection of the Artist © Clarissa Tossin
Diedrick Brackens, If you feed a river, 2019, New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum
Purchase, Carmen Donaldson Fund, 2019.61 © Diedrick Brackens
Ana Hernandez, A Sense of Memory, 2015, Cast metal, found glass, found wood, found
metal, found nails, steel wire, steel wool, oil pastel, wood stain on found wood panel in
artist’s frame, 60 x 41 x 14 inches, New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum Purchase
© Ana Hernandez
Heidi Hahn, Burn Out in Shredded Heaven, 2018-2019, Oil on canvas, 80 x 74 in,
Museum purchase with funds provided by Kevie Yang, 2019.60 © Heidi Hahn
Thao Nguyen Phan, Mute Grain, 2019 (still), Three channel video installation, 15:45 mins, loop, black and white, Collection of the Artist, Image courtesy of the artist and the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai © Thao Nguyen Phan
Thao Nguyen Phan, Mute Grain, 2019 (still), Three channel video installation, 15:45 mins, loop, black and white, Collection of the Artist, Image courtesy of the artist and The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City © Thao Nguyen Phan
Helen Gillet, Photo by Jason Kruppa © Helen Gillet

Mending the Sky touches on the many complex ideas that we, as a community, have been challenged to address in the times of COVID-19,” says Susan Taylor, Montine McDaniel Freeman Director at NOMA. “This is an exhibition about loss and uncertainty, but also creates space for recovery, healing, and hope.”

Mending the Sky focuses on artists who consider the crucial actions of care, healing and coming together,” says exhibition curator Katie A. Pfohl. “Each of them recognizes the hard work of recovery: that we must remedy the challenges of the past and address present issues to forge a new path forward.”

Images courtesy New Orleans Museum of Art.