Professors share artwork, lecture in the community

Michael Ossorguine, Staff Reporter

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The goings-on of teachers outside of class have long been the stuff of rumors. After they leave the classroom, do they live a glamorous double life? Or do they simply sit at home pouring over textbooks?

Professors within the Newcomb Art Department keep busy outside the classroom as active members of the greater New Orleans art scene. Glass art professor Gene Koss and Senior Professor of Practice Adam Mysock took time over winter break to put together presentations of their own art.

Koss creates a variety of glass and iron sculptures to emulate the distinctive landmarks of New Orleans. In his signature sculpture “From a Distance,” he portrays a precarious structure of browned glass suspended over a flat surface, evoking the tide of the Mississippi River. The sculpture boasts an impressive length of 19 feet and weight of several tons.

Within the Woldenberg Art Center’s industrial-sized glass studio, Koss has been working for years researching and crafting this project while teaching at Tulane and running his studio on Belle Chasse St.

“I came here at 27, and I built a small studio out back, and this is the third phase of the studio. It’s a huge operation now, with of course other teachers that teach with me,” Koss said. “I fell in love with this city. I’m from the Midwest, but New Orleans is a great city no matter if it’s architecture, or visual arts, or music or whatever. It is a very inspiring place to work.”

The exhibit opened Jan. 9, and is on display until Feb. 27 in the Arthur Rogers Gallery in the thriving art district of New Orleans. With this exhibit, Koss stays true to Tulane’s mission as a culturally enriching participant in the city’s community, bringing the imagery of New Orleans culture together with the abstract forms of modern art.

Meanwhile, Mysock has recently had several original paintings featured in exhibitions not only at the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, but also at venues in New York City and Miami. His recent work on behalf of the Jonathan Ferrara Art Gallery in New Orleans included firearm-related portraits and paintings depicting child victims of gun violence.

Mysock delved deeper into the personal aspects of his recent paintings this December at the New Orleans Museum of Art, when he gave a lecture pertaining to the narrative imagery entitled “On Seeing and Being: Appropriation and Identity Narratives.” He brought up personal themes with his audience, discussing how our emotional responses to artistic images can reveal more about our personal, cultural and even national identity.

“I spoke about five pieces in the ‘Visions of US’ show, specifically about how they, and images in general, were and are some of the main ingredients whenever we attempt to create a national identity,” Mysock said.

As Koss and Mysock demonstrate, Tulane art professors are hard at work outside of the classroom to apply their knowledge and bring more artistic creativity to New Orleans. More news of their undertakings can be found on the Newcomb Art Department’s website.