SHREVEPORT: NICK CAVE’S HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST

Editor’s Note: Whenever possible, 20×49.com likes to feature the unique perspective of locals. We invited local art lover Molly McCombs, who has previously blogged for 20×49.com about the fabulousness of local estate sales, to share her take on celebrated visual artist Nick Cave’s residency in Shreveport. In this first post in the series, McCombs outlines a few local places that she’d recommend that Cave visit. 

Out-of-town visitors give us fabulous opportunities to show off Shreveport at its best. When I met visiting artist, or as he prefers, messenger Nick Cave, I immediately went into hostess mode. I burbled off a half-assed list of Shreveport sights that he might find interesting or even inspiring. This blog post is my opportunity to present him—and perhaps you—with a more considered list.

Cave is in the midst of an eight-month residency here and his work will incorporate the experiences of our community. For example, several of our local artists are liaising with nonprofits and the public at large while creating beaded blankets that will become a part of his live performance in March.

As the youngest of seven children raised by a single mother, Cave became all too familiar with hand-me-downs and cast-offs. His incorporation of such objects into his art is a wonderful acknowledgment (instead of a reaction) to his background. Here is my 20×49.com post on Shreveport’s wondrous estate sales.

A photo of a bar
The exterior of Lucky Liquor, a juke joint in Shreveport’s Ledbetter Heights neighborhood. Photo by Amy Lynn Treme for the Shreveport Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.

Should the estate sales prove too daunting—they take vetting and planning—a dear friend has a highly recommended circuit that includes a pilgrimage to Leadbelly’s Grave and browsing the Greenwood Flea Market. He likes to end the day at Lucky Liquor in the historic Ledbetter Heights neighborhood, near the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium where Cave will perform.

Cave probably already knows about Shreveport Municipal Auditorium’s storied history. He may not know that the auditorium’s architect, Samuel Wiener, turned from the Art Deco to the International Style after a visit to the Bauhaus; Mr. Cave received his M.F.A. from “America’s Bauhaus,” the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Wiener inspired a host of architects to try their hand at modernism in Shreveport.

A photo of a mural
A mural by Conrad Albrizio adorns the entrance to the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum. Photo by Jim Noetzel for the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.

With its circular form, outdoor mural by Conrad Albrizio and vintage dioramas depicting Louisiana life circa 1939, the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum is a must. This New Deal Public Works project is Shreveport’s cultural crown jewel.

There’s so much more I would like to share with Cave, but know his work will take up most of his time here. His Soundsuits and assemblages of found objects are fabulous eye candy, sugar coated pills that end up making us reflect on race, gender and class. Perhaps some of these sights will return the favor.

If you find Nick Cave as inspiring as I do, please share the sights you believe he might enjoy in the comments section.

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