A Brief Look: Gary Simmons

Raina Benoit continues her tour of Prospect.3 sites with Gary Simmons at the Tremé Market Branch.

Installation view of Gary Simmons' Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark, 2014, at the Tremé Market Branch, New Orleans. Courtesy Scott McCrossen/ FIVE65 Design and Prospect New Orleans.

Gary Simmons
Tremé Market Branch
800 N. Claiborne Avenue
October 25, 2014–January 25, 2015

Entering the Tremé Market Branch feels as though you have been let in on a secret. Despite the red brick building taking up nearly half the block, it is easy to miss in the shadow of the overbearing interstate that hovers over Claiborne Avenue. Built in 1925, the building contains original cartouches, wrought iron work, and gargantuan steel sash windows that are amazingly intact given its years of neglect. Smooth vaulted ceilings with two substantial holes that expose the sky exemplify the building’s beauty and decay. The former bank’s ballroom-sized space is currently home to Gary Simmons’ installation Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark, an interactive stage and pyramid of sculptural speakers framed by retro chic wood. The sculpture is a nod to Dub master Lee “Scratch” Perry and his backyard recording studio in Kingston, Jamaica. Opening weekend the sculpture was inaugurated by the verbalistic rapper Beans. But even with no scheduled plans for artists to activate the stage again, Simmons' piece invites life back into this historical gem.