NEW ORLEANS MUSIC OBSERVED:
The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys
The book is out, click HERE to order now.
This richly illustrated volume documents in detail the exhibition “New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys” at the New Orleans Jazz Museum from January 30, 2020 to September 1, 2021, curated by the museum’s own David Kunian and expanded upon in this book by Emilie Rhys (wearing several hats as contributing artist, contributing writer, co-editor, photo editor, layout designer, and publisher). Noel Rockmore, well-known in New Orleans for his mid-1960s oil portraits of Preservation Hall musicians, and his daughter Emilie Rhys, whose artwork of contemporary musicians all around town has gained her recent public notice, are brought together for their first joint exhibition in which a selection of their drawings and paintings is paired with a wide variety of artifacts and historic instruments, culled mostly from the Jazz Museum’s incomparable archives. As the curator of this profusely illustrated book, Emilie Rhys not only provides a visual record of the exhibition, she expands upon it through the presentation of significant new material by several Louisiana natives who are close observers of the vibrant cultural life that makes New Orleans a veritable global magnet.
They are novelist, journalist, and art collector John Ed Bradley; print and public radio journalist Gwen Thompkins; and scientist and art collector Myles Robichaux. For the lead chapter in this book, Bradley has written the first ever literary exploration of the intertwined lives of Rockmore and Rhys, “Picture in a Picture: Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys in New Orleans.” In Chapter 3, Robichaux’s original essay speaks to the profound impact on him of discovering Rockmore’s art in 2002 and meeting Rhys in 2011. For Chapter 4, “Depiction/Being Depicted,” Thompkins conducted interviews in 2020 with 14 musicians exploring their interest in visual art, their thoughts about the development of their own image, and how they feel about their image appearing in drawings, paintings, and photographs by visual artists. In the Catalog chapter, Rhys herself contributes much of the information accompanying the art and artifacts, and later in the book a thorough analysis of two of her father’s paintings – Bourbon Street Parade and Homage to the French Quarter – along with the development of her own portrait of musician Charlie Gabriel.
The book has 368 illustrations including 302 in full color, a large number of which have never been seen in public previously and have been selected by Rhys, many from her extensive personal archives.
CDs featuring Rhys’s art
Rhys artworks appear on the covers of nine CD recordings, from Carlos Lomas in the late 1990s to Antoine Diel and Sam Kuslan in 2016. Some of these were commissioned specifically for the recording, others utilized existing artworks. Ms. Rhys is very proud to have her work chosen for this purpose and looks forward to future collaborations. Contact us if you are interested in Rhys art appearing in your upcoming recording project. Those interested to purchase the CDs, contact the musicians/bands directly.
Books featuring Rhys’s art
Published in June 2021 by Scene By Rhys Fine Art (in coordination with the New Orleans Jazz Museum), New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys) commemorates the eponymous exhibition at the Jazz Museum (through September 1, 2021) and introduces significant new original material not part of the exhibition. It has 282 pages, and several hundred illustrations, many in full color.
In 1977 Howard Mitcham–a chef, cookbook author, raconteur and artist who died in 1996–invited Rhys (then 21 years old and named “Emily Davis”) to contribute five drawings of historic musicians to his upcoming book, Creole Gumbo and All That Jazz, published in 1978 and still in print today (with a different cover–available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.com). It has 288 pages, with many illustrations, including pen sketches by Emilie Rhys/Emily Davis of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Keppard, Joe Oliver, and Bessie Smith.