Modern Art That Won’t Freak You Out

Brad Goins Thursday, June 6, 2019 Comments Off on Modern Art That Won’t Freak You Out
Modern Art That Won’t Freak You Out

Much of the general public is hesitant to go to installations of contemporary art. They may be afraid they’ll see what looks to them like a massive collection of junk and random materials. Or they may be afraid the content of the installation will be provocative or unsettling. Or they may just be intimidated by the word “installation.” What is an installation, anyway?

If you want to see an installation of contemporary art that’s very accessible and easy and enjoyable to look at, try the installation by Baton Rouge sculptor Martin Payton that will be on display at the Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center at 1001 Ryan St. through July 13 in the exhibit called Broken Time.

The installation will be accompanied by 20 of the metal sculptures Payton created. These are usually simple and symmetrical. Because there are lots of curves, the shapes often look organic. A couple seem to be very imaginative variations on the human body. Sometimes parts of the works resemble backbones or leaves of plants. His work reminds me of the simpler work of the modernist painter Juan Miro.

Payton, who was born in New Orleans, is very big on jazz and says his works are improvisations. He’ll have a Spotify playlist of music that those going throughout the exhibit can listen to if they like. 

The museum is open Monday through Friday 10 am through 5 pm and Saturday 10 am to 2 pm.

Robotics And Singing French

The Summer Fun Guide in this issue of Lagniappe has specifics about loads of summer camps and classes being held in Lake Charles or the other cities a short distance from it. 

Two camps at the Teche Center for the Arts in Breaux Bridge (just to the west of Lafayette) offer material that’s a bit out of the ordinary and may be of interest to parents here.

The first camp — Oui Sing and Play: French Lessons and Fun — will be of interest primary because of the large number of parents in SWLA who want to increase their children’s immersion in the French language. It may also be appealing because children will learn French while singing or playing.

Classes will be led by Kirby Jambon, who’s been teaching children French for more than 30 years. He’s a French immersion teacher at Lafayette’s Prairie Elementary School. He’s the author of two books, L’Ecole Gombo, awarded the 2006 Prix Mondes Francophones, and Petites Communions: Poèmes, chansons, et jonglements, awarded the 2014 Prix Henri de Régnier from the Académie Française. Classes will take place June 24 through 28 from 9 am to noon. Children 5 through 10 are welcome. The $75 fee includes daily snacks.

The second camp — Robotics Design and Innovation — is of special interest because it concerns what will certainly be a major career path for young graduates in coming years.

Activities will involve Mindstorms robotic code and building, research projects, coding with and Sphero design. Family and friends are invited to attend the finale presentation, where students will showcase whatever they’ve made during the course.

Classes will be led by Kimberly Sullivan, who will be using curriculum by Douglas Williams, the director of the Center for Innovation, Learning, and Assessment Technologies at UL-Lafayette. 

The classes, which are for youths aged 9 through 14, will take place July 22 through 26 from 9 am to 4 pm. There will be a 30-minute sack lunch break at noon. The $180 fee will cover supplies, snacks and the lunch provided on the final day of the camp. For information on both camps, call 337-366-0629 or visit

Gulf Coast Roller Girls

The Gulf Coast Roller Girls are still slammin’ and jammin’. They’ll be holding practice and recruiting sessions every Tuesday through June 25 at 3737 Highway South in Sulphur. Sessions last from 7 to 9 pm.

To those who are interested in joining the team or playing roller derby, the Roller Girls send out the message “We want you!” Both females and males are welcome. If you don’t know how to skate, they’ll teach you. If you don’t have skates, they have loaners. 

If you don’t want to play roller derby but you do want to be close to the sport, the Roller Girls “always need officials, referees and non-skating volunteers to help out with games.” 

They advise those who just want to watch them when they play to Like their Facebook page in order to get updates and info about upcoming games. Need to know more? Call 965-0313.   

‘These Bands Were Not Spoken For’

Anyone who lived in major cities or on college campuses in the 1980s or 1990s remembers seeing posters for punk bands on telephone poles and bulletin boards. Just as punk created a DIY approach to making music, it also spawned a DIY form of promotion. Punk posters looked different. They were rarely made by professional artists. They usually covered a single 8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper. They were black and white. They weren’t printed; they were photocopied.

Their raw look reflected the rawness of the music they promoted. Their simple, amateurish style was a match for bands that were just barely on the public radar.

Lafayette once attracted such premier punk acts as Fear and Fugazi, as well as supporting its own local punk rockers, such as Frigg A Go Go.

A young Chrysi Forton was riding the rails here and there, when she arrived at Lafayette at the beginning of the millennium and decided she’d found her home. She spent many hours bent over the copy machines at Kinko’s, creating and reproducing posters for bands with names like Stinking Lizaveta. 

Today, Forton’s working hard in Lafayette to preserve the art of DIY punk posters before it’s dead or lost. To do that, she’s joined forces with folklorist John Sharp at the Center for Louisiana Studies at UL-Lafayette. They’re trying to collect evidence of a community that’s often overlooked by both cultural historians and the local press. Sharp says, “it’s a documentation of folk music.” Sharp moved into the area about the same time Forton did, having first scouted out Lafayette with his own garage band The Quadrajets.

Larry Trombatore, who once booked such seminal punk bands as Black Flag into Lafayette, is working with Sharp and Forton.

Their project, which is called “Up Against the Wall,” is still in its early stages. Forton amassed her personal collection of posters from a decade of house shows she attended and promoted. She also once ran an anonymous Facebook page titled Lafayette Show Flyers. 

Sharp and Forton are calling on the public to contribute flyers and other ephemera of the punk scene. Sharp is especially interested in finding a poster for a Black Flag performance at The Triangle Club in Scott in the 1980s. 

At present, the group has accumulated more than 300 posters. Forton made dozens of them herself.

The group isn’t yet sure how to describe their project. Calling it “alternative” or “outsider” or “underground” might make it sound too exclusive and might not reflect the democratic, DIY nature of punk music and punk communities. 

Forton dreams of one day having a flyer gallery show. That dream’s gotten more imperative since last year, when her house caught on fire and she nearly lost the material she could display.

However it turns out, Forton wants to be sure the posters don’t disappear and that people get to see them now and then. “These bands were not spoken for,” she says.

To learn more, go to the and click on the story “How the punks are saving a folk art” by Christiaan Mader.

A Vegetable Is Not A Meat

In April, the Louisiana Senate unanimously approved a bill stating that in Louisiana, veggie meat can no longer be called “meat” and cauliflower rice can no longer be called “rice” and almond milk can no longer be called “milk.”

I admit I thought this bill would never pass. I thought it was too silly. I realize now I was being illogical. It passed because it was silly.

I think in the not too distant future, you’ll see all the targeted items disappear from Louisiana grocery shelves. I don’t think the companies that make these products will create new lines of packaging just to sell in Louisiana. But of course, I don’t really know.

Bryn Stole, a political correspondent for the Advocate, put the whole thing in perspective when he Tweeted that the new bill was “Saving Louisianans from hopeless confusion about whether Tofurky is, in fact, turkey or almond milk came from a cow.”

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