- Associated Press - Monday, January 20, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - You may have heard Dickie Landry’s saxophone on stage with the Lil’ Band O’ Gold, Bas Clas or True Man Posse. For that matter, he’s played with a number of the Cajun, zydeco and other bands in the area.

You may have even known that Landry pioneered the use of a quadraphonic delay system that allows him alone to front a live quintet of music of his own making through time-delayed repeats. He has performed this around the world in major concert halls, art galleries, museums, universities and churches.

There’s also his tenure with Philip Glass. His time with Laurie Anderson and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as recordings with Robert Plant, Paul Simon and the Talking Heads (to literally name a few). Landry was a consultant on the “The Big Easy” movie.

Landry’s also known for his paintings, something he took up in 1994. But sometime between picking up the sax at age 10 and the paint brush, Landry proved handy with a camera.

So, through May 3, the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum will host “Dickie Landry’s New York, 1969-79,” an exhibit of Landry’s photography.

The show will still be open when Landry and Keith Sonnier share the University of Louisiana’s College of the Arts’ 2013 SPARK Lifetime Achievement Award during Festival of the Arts in March.

“These guys were, early on in the ‘60s, are what we’re reaping today - including the way that the art department and the faculty continue to go in the same vein that these visual artists became later,” said Steve Breaux, UL assistant professor in the visual arts department. “When you look at the history of the downtown arts scene, it’s really filled with visual arts faculty and former UL and USL visual artists.”

The black-and-white photos include Glass and Rauschenberg, Sonnier as well as Gordon Matta-Clark, Steve Reich, Richard Serra, Mary Heilmann, Robert Wilson and Lawrence Weiner - all renowned artists in their fields.

“The theme is that they were all artists: musicians, dancers, theater people,” said Landry. “It was a major period in New York City after abstract expressionism and pop. The ‘70s in New York were like the next big thing.

“The photographs are of all my friends who are now more than famous,” he said.

No doubt. As a newcomer to New York, Landry took his camera everywhere with him. He wasn’t a man on a mission; he was just trying to make ends meet, as were his friends.

“We were all brand new in New York, coming to Manhattan for work,” said Landry. “I would ask if I could take pictures. I wasn’t thinking about documenting anything - it was a way to make money. I’d work for the artists and also take pictures. So I was double-dipping.”

With Matta-Clark as an example, Landry said it went something like this:

“He’d go in an abandoned building and cut sections of floor up and exhibit that. So I’d help him cut the floor, take it out and haul it down the stairs. In the meantime, while he’s cutting, I’m taking pictures.

“People are working and I had my camera. When I’m not working, I’m taking pictures.”

Landry said he’d hone in on whichever talent - music or photography - was getting the work.

“It went up and down. It was a way of making a living in New York City,” Landry said. “Instead of just one - I didn’t have to drive a cab, or wash dishes, or cook, or anything else - I made a living by playing music and doing photography.

“Music is still my main occupation today,” said Landry. “Artists would get mad at me: ‘You’re doing too many things; you’ve got to just pick one thing.’ I’d just say, ‘I’d get bored just doing one thing.’”

Landry did try his hand at commercial photography. Once. He was hired to document an exhibition but didn’t feel the photos were good enough, although they were.

“I worried for days and days. It just drove me nuts,” he said. “So I said, ‘I’m not doing any commercial photography.’”

A confident printer, Landry was no stranger to a darkroom, but he’s a practitioner no more. He has scanned thousands of negatives into his computer for the show and then digitally printed them.

“I wouldn’t mind spending 13-14 hours in the darkroom,” he said, adding that “you can do that on a computer, too.”

This is especially true with the latest exhibit.

“Some of the negatives are 40 years old, and some needed help getting whatever off of them, or fixing them up. It’s impossible to do in the darkroom,” said Landry. “That’s why I chose digital.”

UL Press is scheduled to publish a photo book on the same subject in May.


Information from: The Advertiser, https://www.theadvertiser.com

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