Barbecue, Bourbon Street and the Blues—we’ve covered Louisiana, right? Wade a little deeper into the Bayou, though, and you just might wander into something very Southern and very surreal, as in, the Surreal Salon, which just exulted its seventh salute of all permutations pop and lowbrow. What started out as one night featuring local artists has grown into a festival offering the region’s hospitality to art lovers of every age and background. This year, interactive was more than an adjective, as attendees played in the funhouse installation by artist collective Elevator Projects.
Surreal features a juried contest, because why not add even more excitement? This year Shag (Josh Agle) did the honors and, “was really impressed with the quality of work… I’m sure some of the artists will become household names in the lowbrow or pop surrealism movement. The masquerade ball celebrating the exhibition was a feast of ingenious costumes and was an edgy and avant garde take on the Mardi Gras tradition. Plus, I had some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had while I was at the party.”
Best in Show was America the Beautiful (seen above) which winner Andrew Soria describes as an exploration of the economic culture of our society. “I’ve noticed the red, white and blue colors are chosen by small rundown businesses to communicate a sense of pride and power. I found it ironic that these colors were used to influence their brands.” The Miami, Florida-based Soria developed his first cityscape in 2009, not actually having an idea of what he was creating at the time. “Currently, I’m developing an art project to travel to different cities, creating new views, as well as a short documentary for each place I visit!”
The Baton Rouge Gallery presents the show, aptly described by Executive Director Jason Andreasen as the annual punctuation mark that is Surreal Salon.
All photography by Julia Rose Photography.