by Robert C. Tannen
Robert C. Tannen created NOMAN RIVER, an edition of 100 digital prints. The prints combine a NASA image of the Mississippi/Missouri watershed with text drawing from Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics for the song “Old Man River.” Together they form a narrative of the historical abuses within the Mississippi River Valley, which continue today, albeit with very different consequences. A magnifying glass allows for closer inspection, in line with Tannen’s call for greater recognition of the environmental crises now afflicting the region.
Robert C. Tannen has lived in New Orleans since the 1960s, making him among the first conceptual artists in the city. Tannen’s work encompasses a range of media from the monumental to the mundane. Nick Stillman best characterized Tannen's wildly diverse practice in familiar terms on Pelican Bomb, “To summarize Tannen’s art to the uninitiated: Rauschenberg’s sense of the poetry of objects sandwiched between Buckminster Fuller’s refusal of impossibility and Robert Smithson’s ambition to organize that which defies systemic thinking.”
Medium: Archival C-print, magnifying glass