It’s time for the annual otherworldly party, where life and art melds into a complete surreal experience.
Baton Rouge Gallery calls it the Surreal Salon Soiree. From 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, the celebration coincides with the gallery’s annual national juried pop surrealism exhibit, “Surreal Salon.”
“The setting will be the same,” Jason Andreasen says. “We encourage everyone to come in costume, and when they’re in the galleries, they’ll become part of the artwork. So, for one night, Baton Rouge Gallery becomes a single pop surrealism artwork.”
Andreasen is the gallery’s executive director, and has witnessed the soiree’s growth from a small, off-site party to a gallery celebration that has expanded to the back lawn.
“We’re so grateful to BREC for working with us on this,” Andreasen says. “We started out staging our musical entertainment on the gallery’s back terrace, but as the soiree grew, BREC has allowed us use of the back lawn. We now stage our musical entertainment back there, and this year, Elevator Projects has added a few surprises.”
Elevator Projects is a local nonprofit creative organization whose latest project is the Prospect.3+BR exhibit, “Notes Upriver,” occupying the entire fourth floor of the Chase Tower. Surreal Salon Soiree will serve a dual purpose this year, not only as a celebration of Baton Rouge Gallery’s exhibit but as the closing reception for “Notes Upriver.”
Elevator Projects is adding something extra to the party with its “Funhouse,” an outdoor installation created by a collective of local artists. The organization is billing it as “an outdoor surreal interactive experience.”
“That’s about all that can be said about it,” Andreasen says. “I can say that Elevator Projects used to create an installation in front of the gallery to greet visitors, but this year, they’ve moved to the lawn with this huge installation. And it’s going to be fun.”
Perfectly meshing with the evening’s lineup will be music headliners Quintron and Miss Pussycat.
“They performed at the soiree in 2011, and they’ve grown a lot since that time,” Andreasen says. “Their musical act includes a lot of instruments, including Quintron’s Drum Buddy, which is an instrument he created, a light-activated analog synthesizer that creates murky, lo-fi rhythmic patterns. A lot of musicians have since gravitated to the Drum Buddy.
Meanwhile, Miss Pussycat, the other half of this husband-and-wife team, will entertain through a theater of puppets pulled from her purse backed by pithy dialogue and electronically pixelated soundtracks.
“They’ve performed at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the museum has exhibited their musical instruments and puppets,” Andreasen says.
In 2014, the two were chosen to be resident artists at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
“They’re music and art, and they’re a perfect fit for this party,” Andreasen says.
Also featured will be native Baton Rouge DJ RAV3N.
“She’s recently returned to Baton Rouge after working five years in Los Angeles,” Andreasen says. “She was the resident DJ at Beso, Eva Longoria’s restaurant in Los Angeles.”
In Baton Rouge, RAV3N has done DJ work at City Bar and Spanish Moon, among other venues.
Mingling with the crowd will be “Surreal Salon 7” juror and artist Josh Agle, known in the pop surrealist art world as Shag. He will announce the exhibit’s Best-in-Show Award-winning artwork during the party. He’ll also speak at Baton Rouge Gallery’s ARTiculate program at 4 p.m. Sunday, then deliver a lecture at 3 p.m. Monday in the LSU Design Building Auditorium.
“The Best-in-Show piece will be featured in editorial of Juxtapoz Magazine’s April issue,” Andreasen says. “And that’s another way this event has grown. When we started, who would have believed that this exhibit would have attracted 500 entries, and who would have ever thought that it would get national exposure? It’s amazing.”
And everyone who walks through the door becomes a part of it.