NEW ORLEANS, LA.-
Six months ago, New Orleans Museum of Art
curators William Fagaly and Miranda Lash set out on a journey to discover little-known works by notable contemporary Louisiana artists in the Museum's collection. The result is 27 rarely seen treasures in an exhibition called Swamp Tours, on view at NOMA from June 2 to August 29, 2010. The exhibition will open on June 2 with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. featuring the band Jean-Eric.
Lash, NOMA's curator of Contemporary Art, invited Fagaly, the Museum's curator of African art and a Louisiana art specialist with a 40 year history at NOMA, to assist in choosing works for the exhibition. The two followed a simple guideline in selecting works for Swamp Tours: the exhibition was to highlight contemporary Louisiana artworks that were already represented in the Museum's collection but had not been displayed for some time.
"We wanted an exhibition that was Louisiana-centric and lighthearted," Lash said. "Some of the work is swamp themed, but the title is not to be taken literally - it's a metaphor for a tour of our Louisiana artists in NOMA's contemporary collection."
The curators also note that the "tour" is not meant to be a definitive history of contemporary Louisiana art, but rather highlights unknown pieces from well-known artists.
"Even with well-known figures like Ida Kohlmeyer, Robert Gordy, Lynda Benglis and Clementine Hunter, we tried to find unexpected works," Lash said.
"We deliberately shied away from familiar or signature styles," added Fagaly. "This exhibition offers an expanded understanding of these artists, there's a feeling of exploration, a fresh look. For instance, there is an abstract Clementine Hunter quilt in the show like no other."
Artists in Swamp Tours include:
Ron Bechet, Lynda Benglis, Charles Blank, Fritz Bultman, David Butler, Jeffrey Cook, George Dureau, George Febres, Michael Frolich, Robert Gordy, Clementine Hunter, Ida Kohlmeyer, Sister Gertrude Morgan, James "J.P." Scott, Keith Sonnier, Jim Richard, Noel Rockmore, Kendall Shaw, Robert Tannen, Robert Warrens and Edward Whiteman.