NOMA unveils new installation by artist Thomas J Price in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

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NOMA unveils new installation by artist Thomas J Price in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden
Thomas J Price, Time Unfolding, 2023. Bronze. Museum Purchase with Gifted Funds from the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation, E-2024-9.1. © Thomas J Price.

NEW YORK, NY.- The New Orleans Museum of Art has installed a new outdoor sculpture by artist Thomas J Price in the museum’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

Price’s sculpture, titled Time Unfolding, 2023, is a nine-foot-tall statue of a woman looking down at her cell phone, seemingly paused in contemplation. The work is part of a series depicting everyday fictional subjects at a monumental scale—combining traditional sculpting and digital technology to question how society projects ideas and expectations through public space.

“Through his work, Price has ignited important public conversations about space, monuments, and personhood,” said Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. “Price asks viewers to reconsider what a monument is—and what they can be—and how monuments can reimagine and reflect everyday lives.”

To create Time Unfolding and similar works, the artist combined observations from different subjects, incorporating 3D scanning imagery from an open call in Los Angeles. Since each work does not necessarily represent just one person, Price’s works push back against histories of racial profiling and the modern use of biometric tools to monitor individuals’ actions.

Price often riffs on the tradition of canonical Western sculpture—as seen in the subtle classical contrapposto pose of the figure in Time Unfolding and in the artist’s decision to never cast figures at a one-to-one scale, prompting viewers to think about who should exist in monumental form.

This installation in NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden follows highly acclaimed public presentations of Price’s works in Rotterdam Centraal Station in 2023; by the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York’s Marcus Garvey Park in 2022, alongside a special commission by Hackney Town Council, London, to commemorate the Windrush Generation, also unveiled in 2022; and as part of the Line’s public art initiative in London in 2020. A selection of sculptures by Price are currently on view at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (through May 27, 2024) in dialogue with the institution’s historic collections. The artist’s touring European solo exhibition Matter of Place is on view at Kunsthalle Krems (through September 22, 2024). Price lives and works in London.

The addition of Price’s Time Unfolding to NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which is part of the museum’s permanent collection, is supported by Walda Besthoff. The sculpture is now on view in the garden’s North Lawn near works by Ugo Rondinone, Sean Scully, Wangechi Mutu, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden is free and open to the public, seven days a week. Current spring and summer hours are 10 am–6 pm.

The new installation is the first of three additions to the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in 2024. Later this year, the museum will unveil a commission by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, which takes the form of a 18-foot-tall diving board rising from the shore of the lagoon in the garden. NOMA will also install a new work by Sarah Sze, from the artist’s Fallen Sky series. Sze’s work was the subject of a major 2023 retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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