At the Williams Research Center, part of The Historic New Orleans Collection, Alternative Imprints: Jon Webb, Gypsy Lou, and the Hand-Sewn World of the Loujon Press examines the work of 1960s counterculture artists Jon and Louise "Gypsy Lou" Webb. The exhibition centers on items from the collection of Edwin J. Blair, who befriended the Webbs as a young man in the 1960s and donated his trove of Loujon Press memorabilia to THNOC in 2012. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jon and Gypsy Lou settled in the French Quarter, which at the time was inhabited by many artists and free spirits who were often considered social misfits. Gypsy Lou sold her original works of art along the streets, while Jon worked as a freelance writer and editor. They founded the Loujon Press after Jon developed an idea for a literary magazine that would feature other "Bohemian fugitives." They dubbed the magazine, appropriately enough, The Outsider, and each copy was produced with a hand-operated printing press. Although there were only four issues from 1961 to 1968, the publication garnered significant critical attention and featured written works by Gregory Corso and William Burroughs.
Jon and Gypsy Lou's subsequent venture into book publishing was fueled in part by Blair, who provided some of the capital. As with The Outsider, the Loujon books were beautiful labors of love; each one typeset by Gypsy Lou, printed by Jon, and assembled by them both at home.
The exhibition explores the lives and work of Gyspy Lou and Jon Webb through objects from Blairâs collection as well as paintings by Noel Rockmore and photographs by Johnny Donnels. The display also includes copies of each title in Loujon's small but celebrated catalogue, while illuminating the Webbs' relationships with other self-proclaimed outsiders—the people, the places and the environment that inspired the creation of Loujon Press.
9:30 am until 4:30 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. 410 Chartres Street. Free. hnoc.org.