#B73021_”New Orleans Music Observed”


Published July 2021 by Emilie Rhys. Softcover book, 12″ x 9.5″ x .875″; 3.95 lbs; cover has 9″ fold-over flaps; 282 pages; 368 illustrations, 302 in full color; 3 pictorial foldouts.

Rhys has signed with a local book distributor, the terms of which preclude selling the book on this website. Instead, it is available at these stores (some with online shops):

Note: The button below is a direct link to the Octavia Books website purchase page for this book.

SKU: B73021 Category:

The exhibition: On January 30, 2020, the New Orleans Jazz Museum opened the joint exhibition "New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys." Curated by the museum's own David Kunian, it examines the lives and work of father and daughter artists, and their individual relationships with New Orleans and its musical community. Noel Rockmore (1928--1995) was well-known in New Orleans for his mid-1960s oil portraits of Preservation Hall musicians, and his daughter Emilie Rhys (1956--) has earned recent public notice for her artwork of contemporary musicians all around town. These two have not previously had their work shown together in a museum. Paired with their art is a wide variety of artifacts and historic instruments, culled mostly from the Jazz Museum's incomparable archives. The exhibition closed Sunday November 7, 2021.

Book content: As the curator, head contributing writer and editor 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, close observers of New Orleans' vibrant cultural life. 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 Zoom interviews in 2020 with these musicians: Glen David Andrews, Courtney Bryan, Joy Clark, Marla Dixon, Leroy Jones & Katja Toivola, Haruka Kikuchi, Meschiya Lake, Washboard Chaz Leary, Quiana Lynell, Jason Marsalis, Don Vappie, Johnny Vidacovich, and Dr. Michael White. She discusses with them 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. Chapters 5 and 6 contain new scholarship by Emilie Rhys on two of her father's most iconic New Orleans creations: the mural Bourbon Street Parade, and the oil painting Homage to the French Quarter, and an analysis of the development of her portrait of Charlie Gabriel.

Imagery: In addition to the new photographs by Sesthasak Boonchai documenting this exhibition (most appearing in Chapter 2, Exhibition Catalog), many images appearing throughout this book have never been presented in public previously and have been selected by Rhys from her extensive personal archives containing generations of photographs and art career documentation; others have been provided to Rhys by many individuals and a few institutions. Combined, they all contribute towards telling the unique story of two lives utterly immersed in art and music in New Orleans over two generations.