Dapper Bruce Lafitte: Kingpin of the Antpin
Opening Reception: Friday, October 13, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Artist Talk: 7 p.m.
On view October 12-December 17, 2017
Curated by Matt Arient
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art presents Dapper Bruce Lafitte: Kingpin of the Antpin, a solo exhibition of eight drawings by Dapper Bruce Lafitte, the artist formerly known as Bruce Davenport, Jr. Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, October 13. Lafitte will give a talk beginning at 7 p.m.
From 2006-2015, Bruce Davenport, Jr., depicted “the culture,” primarily that of New Orleans: the marching bands of public and parochial schools, Mardi Gras Indians, and street scenes. In the second decade of his career, Dapper Bruce Lafitte, as he is now known, is taking on “the history”: Civil War battle scenes, the civil rights movement and, in this body of work, Hurricane Katrina. The storm that wracked New Orleans and exposed the federal government’s callous ineptitude also inspired Dapper Bruce to become an artist, and he confronts the event in some of his most personal work to date.
In drawings titled Exodus, No Love for the Poor, My First Time Seeing a M-16 and others, Dapper Bruce presents a visceral document of his experience in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Street scenes show floods of brown water, expressively drawn with marker; the Superdome is depicted as a yellow and gray monolith surrounded by stranded civilians. The crowds for which the Dapper is known are in these works fleeing rather than celebrating, confronting armed guards, and walking along the highway away from the city. Dapper Bruce’s drawings always are laden with text: remembrances to his friends and relatives who died in the storm, shout outs to dead celebrities, commentary on his art career, and blunt political criticism.
Dapper Bruce Lafitte was born and currently resides in New Orleans. A self-trained artist, he began making and showing work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to commemorate the then-decimated street culture of parades and marching bands of the city. He has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, notably in the Prospect Biennial, New Orleans, and in solo shows at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum, Biloxi, MS; Vacant Gallery, Tokyo; Louis B. James Gallery, New York; and Atlanta Contemporary, curated by Daniel Fuller. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine and Victory Journal, among others. In 2009, he was a recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation artist award.
Press coverage of this exhibition:
Bill Walker, Dapper Bruce Lafitte, and the virtues of angry art (Chicago Reader)