Art Capsules

Ghosts of a bygone era rise from the Big Easy in the haunting works of iconoclastic photographer Clarence John Laughlin, who is often recognized as the first American surrealist. "Clarence John Laughlin: Poet Photographer" marks the first major exhibit of the American master's work in more than 15 years and includes more than 60 of the artist's seminal images spanning the major themes of his career. Laughlin (1905-1985) was perhaps best known for his documentation of Louisiana plantations and for the astounding 17,000 negatives he produced. Some of the images that perhaps best embody his artistic vision can be found in Poems of the Interior World, a series comprising 284 images taken over a decade's time. Not surprisingly, many of the searing images still pack a potent relevance. This thought-provoking show does more than offer an engaging look at the works, words, and life of an artist rarely on view. The ghosts Laughlin still conjures might well transport viewers to a unique, entirely otherworldly realm.

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