This past week, the New Orleans Jazz Museum announced that it would be extending its popular James Michalopoulos exhibit, "From the Fat Man to Mahalia," through to Labor Day. On display are over fifty of the artist's latest works as well as rarely-seen pieces borrowed from private collections across the country—one of which is the original Louis Armstrong Jazz Fest artwork, displayed to the public for the first time in over 20 years. There will also be a book signing and Artist Talk panel taking place Monday, May 2 from 6-8 pm.
Since graduating from the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts, Michalopoulos has spent decades living in the city and perfecting his craft as a professional artist. His oil paintings and sculptures draw deeply from the cityscape and evoke a feeling that is unique to life in the Big Easy. As Jazz Museum director Greg Lambousy tells it, "James is the region's most recognized living artist, and we want to ensure that his audience has the opportunity to visit this important show that celebrates the music and culture of the city." Fittingly so, this extended runtime for the exhibit now runs parallel to this year's Jazz Fest, allowing viewers to experience the artwork and the music that inspired it in tandem.
For those unfamiliar with the form of James Michalopoulos' work, take the word of the artist himself:
"My work tends towards the expressionistic. It is gestural, energetic, and colorful. I think there is a quality of movement in most of it. This is due to my ability to sense the pulse of people and objects. I love the lyric that life can be: off-kilter, chaotic, and colorful, a kaleidoscopic unfolding. I try not to interpret too much because I believe it stifles the work. The picture is a boogie and I'm the boogie man. I am a medium for an inspirational circumstance. I'm on the lookout for the enlivening."
The New Orleans Jazz Museum is located at 400 Esplanade Ave, where its curators and staff work tirelessly to enhance the city's ongoing cultural renaissance. By offering a wide array of resources for musicians and music lovers alike, the museum is able to fully explore America's quintessential musical art form in the city of its birth. Doors are open Tuesday-Sunday from 9 am-4 pm. Additional information can be found here.