Celebrating the New Orleans Tricentennial, EMPIRE is an art installation by Los Angeles-based artists Fallen Fruit, David Allen Burns and Austin Young, commissioned and presented by Newcomb Art Museum, A Studio in the Woods and Pelican Bomb. Through this assemblage of over 300 objects, the artists will transform the entire museum into one immersive artwork.
The project uses objects culled from the diverse archives and collections across campus, including art, sound, documents of record, material culture, and artifacts. It activates objects held by the Newcomb Art Museum, Middle American Research Institute, Newcomb College Institute, Latin American Library, Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection / Tulane University Biodiversity Research Institute, the Hogan Jazz Archive, the Amistad Research Center, and the Louisiana Research Collection, among other campus collections, shifting the lexicon of historical meanings into one work of art.
EMPIRE critically examines the principles of archives and anthropology to interrogate the ways histories are told, remembered, and revised. The immersive artwork considers the historical and contemporary effects that colonialism, slavery, trade, and tourism have had on the movement of culture across and beyond borders to better understand the geographic and cultural position of New Orleans in relationship to Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. EMPIRE invites viewers to creatively interpret the displayed objects, their connections, and their juxtapositions to generate new meanings.
Fallen Fruit’s EMPIRE at Newcomb Art Museum is made possible in part through the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Jennifer Wooster (NC’91), Lora and Don Peters (A&S’81), the Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University, and the Newcomb Art Museum advisory board. Newcomb Art Museum and Fallen Fruit want to thank the Joan Mitchell Center, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and Tulane’s New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, Amistad Research Center, Middle America Research Center, Louisiana Research Collection, and the Latin American Library for making this exhibition possible. EMPIRE at Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University is part of “Fallen Fruit of New Orleans” a suite of site-specific projects taking place throughout New Orleans from June 2017 through June 2018, commissioned and presented by Newcomb Art Museum, A Studio in the Woods, and Pelican Bomb. “Fallen Fruit of New Orleans” was initiated by Pelican Bomb in 2015.
Fallen Fruit is an art collaboration originally conceived in 2004 by David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. Since 2013, David and Austin have continued the collaborative work.