Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought and Ogden Museum of Southern Art announce Tina Girouard: SIGN-IN On view at the Museum March 16 through July 7, 2024

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – Organized by Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought (Rivers) and presented in partnership with Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Tina Girouard: SIGN-IN is the first comprehensive, posthumous retrospective for the Louisiana-born artist, Tina Girouard (b. 1946 – d. 2020), and showcases over forty years of the artist’s practice. Known as a collaborator in artist communities in New York, New York, Lafayette, Louisiana and Port-au- Prince, Haiti, Girouard’s work tells an expansive story of American art. A vanguard artist in the fields of performance, film, textile, printmaking and community-based practices, Girouard’s animated work explores the different places she called home.

Born in DeQuincy, Louisiana in 1946, Girouard received a B.F.A. in Fine Art from the University of Southwest Louisiana in 1968 and moved to New York City in 1969 with the Louisiana-born saxophonist, composer and collaborator Richard “Dickie” Landry. Upon moving to New York, Girouard and Landry lived in an apartment at 10 Chatham Square in Chinatown with the painter Mary Heilmann. The trio’s home soon became a center of avant-garde art, music and performance in New York as well as a meeting ground for other Louisiana-born artists working in the post-minimalist scene, such as Lynda Benglis and Keith Sonnier.

While living in New York, Girouard shaped many significant postwar avant-garde groups and art movements including: the An architecture group; the interdisciplinary experiments in the lofts at 112 Greene Street; the artist-run restaurant FOOD in SoHo; and the Pattern & Decoration movement. After a devastating studio fire in 1978, Girouard and Landry moved back to Louisiana and created a studio near Lafayette. From this new home, Girouard began collaborating with local artists in the region as a way of supporting Louisiana francophone culture. This eventually led to the founding of the Artists’ Alliance in Lafayette in 1986 and the establishment of the Festival International de Louisiane–an international festival that brought together music, dance, theater, visual and culinary arts from francophone Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean. It was during these projects that Girouard became interested in Haitian art.

In 1990, Girouard moved to Port-au-Prince, Haiti and established a studio there, which she kept until 1995. During that time, Girouard studied alongside Haitian artists and learned to make traditional vodou flags, collaborating extensively with Antoine Oleyant and Georges Valris.

Tina Girouard: SIGN-IN has been shaped through a close partnership with the Estate of Tina Girouard, which provided access to Girouard’s archival papers. Additional insight was provided through conversations and interviews with many of Girouard’s most trusted collaborators and peers, including Barbara Dilley, Deborah Hay, David Bradshaw, LeGrace Benson, Annette Carlozzi and Bob Tannen.

Major works featured in this exhibition include: a re-creation of the participatory installation Moving In-Moving Out-Sign-In from the inaugural 1976 exhibition Rooms at MoMA P.S. 1, which recorded all of the artists, musicians and collaborators tied to the experiments at work in Girouard’s apartment at 10 Chatham Square in New York; recreation of the textile and architectural elements of Girouard’s first solo exhibition at 112 Greene Street Four Stages (1972), composed of fabric bolts known as Solomon’s Lot and found wood from empty warehouses in 1970s SoHo; major works from her Wallpaper and Test Pattern textile series, which foregrounds Girouard’s investments in domestic labor and materials associated with women’s lives; the screening of the film Pinwheel (1977), originally commissioned for the New Orleans Museum of Art’s exhibition Five From Louisiana that featured work by Girouard, Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Sonnier, Lynda Benglis, and Richard Landry; and the presentation of selections from Girouard’s Maintenance films (1970s), which presents the artist’s early and innovative experimentations with video art, the democratization of new filmic technologies, and her engagement with gender politics. An expansive assembly of Girouard’s Glyph and Pictionary drawings on paper will be gathered together for the first time in a public presentation, while major examples of Girouard’s beaded vodou flags, including Legba and Under a Spell (1990s) which stand as important examples of the artist’s collaboration with Haitian beadwork artists in the atelier in Port-au-Prince, will be featured.

In addition, Girouard’s significant contribution to histories of performance and film will be amplified through public programming, including the screening of films from across Girouard’s career. Other public programs will include deep discovery on the relationships between the Francophone cultures of Southeastern Louisiana and Haiti, the exchanges between Louisiana avant-garde artists living and working in New York in the 1970s, film and performance innovations in American art during the tumultuous decade of the 1970s, and the development of alternative artist-run art spaces in Louisiana in the 1980s and 1990s.

Tina Girouard: SIGN-IN is curated by Andrea Andersson (Founding Director and Chief Curator, Rivers) and Jordan Amirkhani (Curator, Rivers) with Jade Flint (Assistant Curator, Rivers). The exhibition will be on view at Ogden Museum of Southern Art March 16 through July 7, 2024. After being on view at Ogden Museum, the exhibition will travel to the Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA) in New York in Fall 2024.

The presenting sponsor for Tina Girouard: SIGN-IN is The Helis Foundation. For additional information on Tina Girouard: SIGN-IN, please contact Jordan Amirkhani (Curator, Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought) at jamirkhani@riversinstitute.org.

About Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, New Orleans, LA

Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought (Rivers) is a non-profit institute, supporting artists of the global diaspora. Founded in New Orleans in 2019, Rivers recognizes art as forms of diaspora, shaped by geographic, social, political, environmental, and economic histories. From a cultural landscape predicated upon and consigned to a future of migration, we work to connect the depth of knowledge found in New Orleans with artists and scholars working across the globe. We support long-form artist research, study, and project development and have built a network of multi-year and multi-project partnerships locally and globally to support the complex circulation of artists’ work. Rivers commits to the non-public forms of an artist’s practice and to the translation and dissemination of their work as public knowledge in the shapes of publications, exhibitions, commissions, and time-based programming. Through this work, we see our cultural histories and futures made visible.

About Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
Located in the vibrant Warehouse Arts District of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana since 1999 and open to the public since 2003, Ogden Museum of Southern Art invites visitors to experience and learn about the artists and culture of the American South. Ogden Museum is home to a collection of more than 4,500 works, making it the largest and most comprehensive repository dedicated to Southern art in the nation, with particular strength in the genres of Self- Taught art, Regionalism, photography and contemporary art. The Museum is further recognized for its original exhibitions, public events and educational programs, which examine the development of visual art alongside Southern traditions of music, literature and local craft.

Ogden Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Museum is located at 925 Camp Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. For more information visit ogdenmuseum.org or call 504.539.9650.