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The Ogden Museum of Southern Art Opens Arthur Q. Davis: Legacy of a Modern Architect
Davis residence, Bamboo Rd. Guest House. Courtesy of Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections. Division, Tulane University Libraries, Curtis & Davis Office Records

NEW ORLEANS, LA.- In 1947, a time in which few New Orleans-based architects were advancing modern architecture, Arthur Q. Davis and his partner, Nathanial C. Curtis, established their practice in the city. The Curtis and Davis firm was best known for designing the Louisiana Superdome and modernist landmarks in New Orleans, including the New Orleans Rivergate Exhibition Center; the New Orleans Public Library; Royal Orleans Hotel; St. Francis Cabrini Church; the Caribe Building; the Automotive Life Building; private residences (including Davis’ own); Thomy Lafon Elementary School; and the George Washington Carver Elementary, Junior and Senior High schools. In later decades, under his Arthur Q. Davis, FAIA, and Partners firm, he designed the New Orleans Arena, a new town project in Indonesia and numerous other projects.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art opened the exhibition “Arthur Q. Davis: Legacy of a Modern Architect,” an overview of Davis’ long and illustrious career. The exhibition showcases images, drawings and related archival materials to create a cohesive look at Davis’ life and work. The exhibition will be on view until July 19, 2009.

“This exhibition and the related publication seek to increase the public’s awareness of his legacy, and that of his architectural partners, while also focusing attention on the significance of many of these now endangered modernist landmarks,” says Ogden Museum of Southern Art Director J. Richard Gruber.

Arthur Q. Davis at Exhibition Opening and Booksigning on Thurs. April 23
Davis will be at the Ogden on Thursday, April 23, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (during Ogden After Hours) to open the exhibition and sign copies of his recently released book “It Happened by Design: The Life and Work of Arthur Q. Davis” (University Press of Mississippi/Ogden Museum of Southern Art). Davis’ co-author, Ogden director J. Richard Gruber, will also be at the event. (Ogden After Hours is the Ponderosa Stomp Preview featuring Bobby Rush.)

Arthur Q. Davis was born in 1920 in New Orleans. After graduating from Isidore Newman School, he entered Tulane University’s School of Architecture at age 17. Davis met his wife, Mary Henriette Wineman Davis, while he attended Tulane and she—a native of Detroit, Michigan—attended Newcomb College. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, then advanced his architectural studies at Harvard University under noted masters Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer before working with Eero Saarinen. As a partner in the firms including Curtis and Davis, and more recently Arthur Q. Davis, FAIA, and Partners, Davis worked on a number of notable projects in United States and abroad, including Vietnam, Aruba, Scotland, Indonesia, and Berlin, Germany. Today, at age 89, Davis is still active in the community.

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