REDART is the most recent permutation of work by artist and planner Robert C.Tannen

whose lifelong focus on environmental issues began as a teenager making sculptures from

debris on the beaches of Coney Island where he was raised. Consumer objects doused in red

warn of consumerism's contribution to climate change, and underscore the dominance of

Chinese manufacturing.


   He first showed environmentally themed work at artists' collectives on East 10th St.,

including the Tanager Gallery in 1956, and the March and Brata Galleries in 1957. At 18 and 19

at the time, he was the youngest of the artists showing at the collectives that initiated the

movement of American abstract expressionist art. He also exhibited wrapped objects there

before Christo. His exhibitions of animals in formaldehyde were exhibited in the 1960s, before

Damien Hirst, and monumental concrete block constructions before Sol LeWitt.


   Since residing in New Orleans beginning in 1971, he has shown work revealing the

significance of the city's diverse architecture, infrastructure and neighborhoods and their

response to the challenges of the environmental threats here, even as he worked as project

director for the planning and siting of the second bridge over the Mississippi in New Orleans; the

identification and protection of the historic neighborhoods of New Orleans; planning for

Riverwalk, a festival marketplace development at the river adjacent to a suburban style

shopping mall, New Orleans Center, in the heart of downtown New Orleans, adjacent to the

Superdome; sited the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition and planned for the residual uses of its

riverfront site after the fair; siting of the Arena adjacent to the Superdome and a million square

foot regional distribution center in the Almonaster-Michoud Industrial District.


   His large ubiquitous sheet metal shotgun houses have been shown at galleries and

museums since 1974. His large fiberglass fishes resting on their bills have influenced other

artists including Frank Gehry. In a response to the House Floats that replaced Mardi Gras

parades during the Covid pandemic last year, he hung a casting of a 1,018 lb Blue Marlin,

largest ever caught by a woman in the Gulf, Linda Koerner, "afloat" from the balcony of 2326

Esplanade, Tannen's home and studio, and his wife Jeanne Nathan's headquarters for the

Creative Alliance of New Orleans, (CANO), an arts and economic development advocacy

non-profit aimed at increasing support for the creative industries sector of the city's economy.

The Marlin's placement, as well as the red soaked buoy on the sidewalk in front of the house

warn of the not so long term possibility that Esplanade, despite sitting atop a prehistoric river

ridge, may be well underwater.


   Tannen has placed reddened refrigerators, washing machines, generators and more

throughout the garden/jungle surrounding the 19th century house. Ironically, the garden's

canopy consists of beautiful but invasive Chinese Fan Palms that started with one small plant,

now innumerable.


   Also in the garden is a work by landscape architect and artist Robin Tanner, no relation to

Tannen, except for receiving each other's mail. His Liberaguity, is a reimagining of the material,

color and configuration of the American Flag. Tanner, best known for his landscape design

including the beautiful Enrique Alferez Garden and the Japanese garden in City Park where

Esplanade Avenue gives way to what once was a plantation, has also recently placed a

labyrinthian work in the Crevasse 22 | River House sculpture garden in Poydras, Louisiana

adjacent to the Mississippi River. Crevasse 22 began life as a pop-up sculpture garden for

Prospect 3.




   Back in the spring CANO offered art to promote donations during the citywide givenoladay

fund drive. Art was also offered to people who took time to fill in a survey to help CANO collect

information about the state of the creative industries in New Orleans, informing a strategic plan

for the city's creative industries sector. The plan will include recommendations for better support

and investment in this sector, and make it possible for creatives to build sustainable careers in

New Orleans.


   The Covid Delta variant surge delayed plans to invite people to come by 2326 Esplanade to

pick up their art. With the opening of the REDART show, it seemed perfect timing to invite them

to come by for their art and enjoy the exhibition, as well as some libations and treats. With most

of the exhibit outdoors in an expansive garden that extends from Esplanade to Barracks street,

there is plenty of room for a safe visit.


   With a special viewing of Tannen's prints and drawings in flat files in the foyer of the house,

those with proof of vaccination may enter the museum-like-home filled with not only works by

Tannen, but many other regional and international artists.

"There is almost nothing in this house other than art that is new. From Asian antiquities, art

deco designs, mid century furnishings to the multitude of artworks, vaccinated visitors are

invited to enjoy an eclectic mix of genres and eras of art and design," says Nathan.


   Paper and selected works are available for purchase. The neighborhood is part of a cultural

district, so all sales are tax free. For those who did not either contribute or take the survey, the

gift art is also for sale, and is tax deductible.



CANO program, will offer opportunities for visitors to see the cultural richness of America's first

black neighborhood, Treme and Esplanade Ridge, including homes, museums, park sites, and

especially the New Orleans African American Museum which is opening its facilities at 1418

Governor NIcholls Street as part of the Prospect 5 official program, from 1- 4 pm, just 8 blocks

away from the REDART exhibition at 2326 Esplanade. It is also headquarters for this year's

Prospect New Orleans in its 5th iteration. Neighborhood tour directions will be available at 2326



   CANO will also be presenting its Art Home New Orleans tours of artists' studios and private

art collections throughout the city during Prospect 5. Prospect brings artists from around the

world, but also visitors who get to see work by the growing cultural community in New Orleans.

New Orleans has a uniquely indigenous art scene, with culture bearers keeping three centuries

of cultural roots alive on every block. Native American culture is also alive in that legacy. But

with creatives streaming into New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, initially to help, but then

getting a taste of the Mississippi River as we say in New Orleans, many have stayed, and mixed

new cultural themes into the already richly diverse cultural life of the city. Prospect is the perfect

opportunity to see the curated work of the citywide fair, as well as dig deeper into the city's

unique culture.


   Need any more reasons to visit? Esplanade Avenue is one of the most beautiful

Esplanades/Boulevards in America, maybe the world.



CANO: The Creative Alliance of New Orleans has the mission to provide training, education, and information for creative artists, cultural producers and the community, to protect our cultural legacy and to promote the revitalization of the city as a cultural and economic center.


Prospect 5: Every three years, we invite artists from all over the world to create projects in a wide variety of venues spread throughout New Orleans. We bring new art to an old city, both inviting artists from around the

globe to engage with New Orleans and raising the voices of artists who represent the Global South. Many Prospect projects are rooted in social justice issues and the city of New Orleans itself. Each iteration of Prospect is organized by a leading voice in the curatorial field. For residents and visitors alike, Prospect is an invitation to experience the city through the eyes of artists. NOAAM: The mission of the New Orleans African American Museum is to preserve the history and elevate the art, culture, and contributions of African Americans in New Orleans and the African Diaspora.

Copyright 2019 Robert C. Tannen. Website by Matthew Foreman