Contemporary experiences of place and identity in the American South are myriad, situational and decidedly in flux. This selection of works from Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s permanent collection considers the many ways artists throughout the region explore concepts of place and identity through diverse media and practices. Situated on the fifth floor, this collection contains works of art from the late-20th century until now that contribute to the complex dialogue in which contemporary Southern artists are engaged with their region and with the rest of the world.
With a strong representation of Black, Asian American, Latin American, women and LGBTQ+ artists, Knowing Who We Are: The Contemporary Dialogue brings together works from a broad range of makers to create a portrait of the South that is inclusive and representative of its people. Addressing concerns relevant to the culture and the region – identity, family, spirituality, the immigrant experience, the environment and social justice – these works illustrate a region and a collection in transition, reconciling the past while embracing the future.
Fully integrating photography, painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and new media – this exhibition illustrates the complex dialogues, proximate traditions and exciting innovations that exist in contemporary art in the American South. The fragile barriers between Vernacular and Academic art are disregarded on the walls of this exhibition, allowing works to stand equally and challenge the traditional hierarchies of the art world.
The Contemporary Dialogue features major works by Katrina Andry, Dawn DeDeaux, Sheldon Scott, Lonnie Holley, RaMell Ross, Christian Dinh, Ruth Owens, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Willie Birch, Frank Relle, Pat Phillips, Michael Meads, Benny Andrews, Lin Emery, George Dureau, Luis Jiménez, Jade Thiraswas and many others.
Major funding for this exhibition has been provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art through “Re-envisioning Permanent Collections: A Special Initiative for US Museums.” William Pittman Andrews, Executive Director of Ogden Museum, says, “We are profoundly grateful for the support of the Terra Foundation…especially for their belief that the story of American art can be enriched through their vision to illuminate diverse histories, inspire present connections, and create equitable futures.”
Bradley Sumrall, exhibition curator and Curator of the Collection, states, “This exhibition reveres the true diversity of the South, offering a view of Southern identity that is inclusive and representative of its people, and highlights the critical role art plays in talking about the past, embracing the future, and being a bridge for the reconciliation of both.”
Ogden Museum of Southern Art opened to the public in the newly completed Goldring Hall in 2003. With a founding donation of over six hundred works by Roger Houston Ogden, the Museum has continued to collect – expanding to over four thousand works of art that empower the Museum to tell the story of the South. After 20 years, Ogden Museum has had ample opportunity to expand this narrative while celebrating the diversity, complexity and vibrancy of the region – both physical and cultural.
The Contemporary Dialogue is the first part of a three-part opening of Ogden Museum’s larger anniversary exhibition, Knowing Who We Are: A 20th Anniversary Exhibition. Each exhibition will be opened separately by floor and will be divided into three distinct movements in Southern art. These include The Contemporary Dialogue (opening on Floor 5 on January 28, 2023), The Rise of Abstraction, Vernacular Art and Photography (opening on Floor 4 on April 1, 2023) and From 19th Century Academic Painting through Southern Regionalism (opening on Floor 3 on April 1, 2023).
A complete list of exhibitions can be found by visiting www.ogdenmuseum.org.
About Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Located in the vibrant Warehouse Arts District of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana since 1999 and open to the public since 2003, Ogden Museum of Southern Art invites visitors to experience and learn about the artists and culture of the American South. Ogden Museum is home to a collection of more than four thousand works, making it the largest and most comprehensive repository dedicated to Southern art in the nation, with particular strength in the genres of Self-Taught art, Regionalism, photography, and contemporary art. The Museum is further recognized for its original exhibitions, public events and educational programs, which examine the development of visual art alongside Southern traditions of music, literature and local craft.
Ogden Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission is free to Museum Members and admission for Non-Members is $13.50 for adults, $11 for seniors 65 and older, $6.75 for children ages 5-17 and free for children under 5.
The Museum is located at 925 Camp Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. For more information visit ogdenmuseum.org or call 504.539.9650.
About The Terra Foundation for American Art
The Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. Recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art, the foundation provides opportunities for interaction and study, beginning with the presentation and growth of its own art collection in Chicago. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research, and educational programs. Implicit in such activities is the belief that art has the potential both to distinguish cultures and to unite them.