Prospect New Orleans Honors Colleagues, Innovators, and Artists at the Swamp Galaxy Gala November 17 .

barkley L. Hendricks; Photo: Duke University Photography

barkley L. Hendricks; Photo: Duke University Photography

Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, will open to the public on Saturday, November 18, 2017 and run through February 25, 2018 aligning with the City of New Orleans’s Tricentennial celebration. Prospect.4 will host Preview Days of the city-wide triennial beginning Thursday, November 16 and running through Sunday, November 19, with the Swamp Galaxy Gala scheduled for Friday evening, November 17th..   .   

This year’s Swamp Galaxy Gala will honor native Louisiana artist Lynda Benglis, Bronx Museum executive director Holly Block, Prospect New Orleans founding board member and noted Africanist William Fagaly, and director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem Thelma Golden. Additionally, a posthumous award will be presented to artist Barkley L. Hendricks, whose work is featured in Prospect.4. The gala will take place on Friday, November 17 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Sugar Mill and feature dinner, dancing, and a New Orleans-style celebration. Individual tickets start at $500 and include VIP access to P.4 Preview Days. Tickets are currently available at

“Our Contemporary art world would not be nearly as powerful or exciting without the visionary leadership of this year’s honorees,” said Ylva Rouse, Interim Director of Prospect New Orleans. “These luminaries have each in their own way created a better and more diverse world for us to experience, as reflected in Prospect.4.”

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Lynda Benglis, 2017 Clementine Hunter Award

A native of Louisiana, Lynda Benglis was first recognized in the late sixties with her poured latex and foam works. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants, among other commendations. Benglis’s work is in extensive public collections including: Guggenheim Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Benglis was the subject of an international retrospective which traveled to The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, The Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Le Consortium, Dijon, The Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Photo: Sebastian Kim. Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

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Holly Block, 2017 Inspirational Award

In 2006, Holly Block was appointed as the executive director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts where she previously served as a curator from 1985 to 1988. During her tenure at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Block has spearheaded a free admission policy since 2012, increasing attendance from a modest 20,000 annual visitors to more than 100,000 today.  In 2013, Ms. Block was appointed by the Department of State, as Co-commissioner of the United States Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale and presented the work of artist Sarah Sze. More recently, she launched the most significant museum collaboration between the U.S. and Cuba in the last 50 years with El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana.


William Fagaly, 2017 Leadership Award

William Fagaly joined the New Orleans Museum of Art in 1966 as Registrar and Curator of African Art. In 1997 he was named the Françoise Billion Richardson Curator of African Art. In 2001 Fagaly retired from his positions at the Museum while retaining his title as African art curator in a part-time position until 2016, marking his 50 year anniversary of service. Duringhis50yeartenurewithNOMA,  Fagalyhasorganized over90artexhibitions. In 2005 Fagaly co-curated an exhibition of African art, Resonance from the Past: African Sculpture from the New Orleans Museum of Art, at the Museum for African Art in New York. ThisexhibitiontraveledtoeightAmericanartmuseums,  includingtheNationalMuseumof African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Fagaly has sat on the board of Prospect New Orleans since its inception in 2008. 

Photo: Roman Alokhin

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Thelma Golden, 2017 Groundbreaker Award

Thelma Golden is Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, the world’s leading institution devoted to visual art by artists of African descent. Golden began her career as a Studio Museum intern in 1987. In 1988, she joined the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she launched her influential curatorial practice. Under her leadership, the Studio Museum has gained increased renown as a global leader in the exhibition of contemporary art, a center for innovative education, and a cultural anchor in the Harlem community. Golden’s curatorial vision has cemented the Museum as “one of New York City’s most consistently stimulating and innovative art institutions,”according to Holland Cotter of the New York Times.

Photo: Julie Skaratt


Barkley L. Hendricks, 2017 Artistic Director’s Award

Barkley L. Hendricks was a painter and photographer best known for his realist and post-modern portraits of people of color living in urban areas beginning in the 1960s and 70s and continuing to the present. Trevor Schoonmaker, the organizing curator for Hendricks’ traveling exhibition Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool said, “His bold portrayal of his subject’s attitude and style elevates the common person to celebrity status. Cool, empowering, and sometimes confrontational, Hendricks’ artistic privileging of a culturally complex black body has paved the way for today’s younger generation of artists.” Hendricks was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and lived and worked in New London, Connecticut until his passing in April of 2017. He earned both his BFA and MFA from Yale University.

Photo: Duke University Photography