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New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys

New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys

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New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys examines the relationship and work of father and daughter artists. With this profusely illustrated book, Emilie Rhys provides a visual record of the exhibition of the same name, curated by David Kunian, on display at the New Orleans Jazz Museum until late 2021. Through exclusive new material, the book also offers a dynamic examination of how Rhys, Rockmore, and their subjects view both the art and artistic process.

All the art, instruments, and artifacts in the exhibition are here, as is a glimpse at the museum’s rooms themselves. New Orleans Music Observed expands on these with the debut of a biographical story by author/journalist John Ed Bradley, “Picture in a Picture: Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys in New Orleans,” which reveals the riveting intertwined narrative of father and daughter, seen through the lens of their lives in art. Exclusive interviews with 14 New Orleans musicians by journalist and NPR host Gwen Thompkins explore the creative process and issues that arise when visual and musical arts intersect. Collector Myles Robichaux’s original essay speaks to the profound impact of discovering Rockmore’s art in 2002 and meeting Rhys in 2011. Adding to Kunian’s curation, in the catalog chapter Rhys herself contributes much of the information accompanying the art and artifacts. Later in the book she offers a thorough analysis of two of her father’s paintings – Bourbon Street Parade and Homage to the French Quarter – along with the development of her own portrait of musician Charlie Gabriel.

Throughout, the reader is treated to intimate views of both artists through the evocative text, the rich context of the biography, family and professional photos, and original musician voices. New Orleans Music Observed tells the story of these two artists’ intense relationship with one another, with the music and musicians they depict, and with the city itself, conveying a sense of belonging unique to New Orleans and New Orleanians.
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