SHAKING UP PROHIBITION IN NOLA
May 5-August 30, 2015
At the height of Prohibition in New Orleans, artists Olive Leonhardt and Hilda Phelps Hammond published a tongue-in-cheek Prohibition-era cocktail guide presented in the form of a classic A to Z alphabet book. This exhibition features all 26 of Olive Leonhardt’s original pen-and-ink drawings for the book alongside the cocktail recipes they inspired.
In the 1920s, Prohibition was the law, but ignoring it was the norm, especially in New Orleans. Bringing to life a time of flappers with tastes beyond bathtub gin, this exhibition captures the essence of New Orleans in the Jazz Age. Leonhardt was at the center of New Orleans’ lively social scene in the 1920s, and well-known for her sardonic wit and satirical drawings and book illustrations. In the 1920s, she designed covers for The Double Dealer, the literary magazine that first published the work of William Faulkner, and in 1938 published a book of her drawings called New Orleans: Drawn and Quartered.
The 26 illustrations that Leonhardt created for this cocktail book offer a glimpse into the art and culture of 1920s New Orleans, as well as Leonhardt’s signature graphic style. In her drawings, drunken revelers and urban sophisticates carouse amidst dynamic art deco designs and stylized letters that pop off the page.
The exhibition at the LSU Museum of Art will be accompanied by a lively summer cocktail series in which the museum will invite local bartenders to remake some of the book’s original recipes. Bartenders will be invited to reimagine some of the original recipes from the book, all of which have inventive titles like “Lackadaisy,” “Slow Motion,” and “Ulla Lullah” perfect for a hot summer night.
Presented in partnership with the LSU Press, this exhibition coincides with the 2015 republication of Leonhardt and Hammond’s original cocktail recipe book, which features a new essay about Leonhardt’s life and work by her granddaughter Gay, who will come and speak at the museum about Leonhardt’s life and times.
Shaking up Prohibition in New Orleans: The Cocktail Drawings of Olive Leonhardt is organized by the LSU Museum of Art and curated by Dr. Katie A. Pfohl.