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William Greiner's Fallen Paradise and Warrington Colescott's Sweet Suite Louisiana


It's been said "the ordinary becomes extraordinary" in the color photographs of William Greiner, and that is both true and not. Although the places he photographs are fundamentally ordinary, his ironic vision reveals there is more to it than that. Sport Palace is a nocturnal view of a vaguely Deco Jefferson Highway tavern, but the crimson reflections of its neon sign in a puddle in the parking lot seem as eerie as a scene from a Raymond Chandler or Barry Gifford novel. Even so, most of these places simply are what they are — or maybe more so. For instance, Malts is a jazzy, colorful composition featuring the faded fossil of a fast food joint from the era of cars with big fins, and London Lodge depicts a fabulous 1950s motel rising like a mirage just past a huge sinkhole in the adjacent street like the gaping maw of an apocalyptic landscape. Here Greiner takes us down the lost highways of the American Dream to places that once embodied progress but over time became elegiac outposts and poetic reliquaries for the pop-cultural curiosities of the past.

  Although born in California and based in Wisconsin for nearly 40 years, Warrington Colescott's Creole roots are showing in this Sweet Suite Louisiana print series at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The 89-year-old artist's New Orleans lineage is apparent in these flamboyantly colorful intaglio prints depicting scenes from Louisiana history. Audubon in the Atchafalaya has the artist/naturalist spying on graceful egrets as Cajuns and raccoons scarf down crawfish along the bayous. The City Defeated, Occupied, Women Behave Badly illustrates Civil War-era damsels mooning the Union troops, while other images depict epochal events like Huey Long's assassination and Storyville's last days. Nearly as teeming with characters and subplots as HBO's Treme series, they illustrate the bravura technique of a master printer who has a lot to say and doesn't let his age get in his way. — D. Eric Bookhardt

Fallen Paradise: Photographs by William Greiner

Sweet Suite Louisiana: Intaglio Prints by Warrington Colescott

Through July 11

New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, 658-4100;

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