NEW ORLEANS – On Saturday, June 8, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art will host the sixth annual Magnolia Ball, celebrating the Museum’s current exhibition, Piercing the Inner Wall, showcasing the art of Dusti Bongé, the first Mississippi artist to work consistently in a Modernist style (on view through September 8). The Ball will bring to life Bongé’s Surrealist “Circus Series” with a festively engaging evening. This year’s Magnolia Ball chairmen are Ariel and L. Kasimu Harris, Jessie Schott Haynes, Stuart Hurt, Sarah Martzolf and Cameron Elizabeth McHarg.
Magnolia Ball has become one of the most anticipated social events of the summer. The Ball includes music from the city’s top musicians, complimentary dishes and desserts, full open bars, a dance party and a silent auction featuring contemporary Southern artists. In addition, the Museum’s galleries will be open to the 600+ guests in attendance, giving them the opportunity to experience the breadth of the largest and most comprehensive collection of American Southern art in the world.
Entertainment for the evening includes Alexis and the Samurai, DJ Ann Glaviano, DJ Nesby Phips, DJ Otto, DJ Slumflower, Sporty’s Brass Band, Trixie Minx Productions and a special appearance by Krewe des Fleurs.
Included in the silent auction: 1 of 1 Blazers, Ace Hotel New Orleans, Butch Anthony, David Armentor, Audubon Nature Institute, Chambers Austelle, Barre3, Muffin Bernstein, Jessica Bizer, Natalie Blanton, Body B Fit, Brennan’s, Rosie Brock, City Putt, City Surf, Cocktail & Sons, Anita Cooke, Dancing Grounds, Karen deClouet, Lee Deigaard, Rachel Jones Derris, Dirty Coast, Earth & Fire, El Guapo Bitters, AnnieLaurie Erickson, Tess Erlenborn, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Ida Floreak, French Truck Coffee, Friend, Sean Friloux, Susan Gisleson, Page Goss, Gray Line Tours, William Guion, Ana Hernandez, Peter Hoffman, Home Malone, Kappa and Horn’s Eatery, Sarah House, Sue Ireland, Rush Jagoe, Kendra Scott, Le Petit Theatre, Loft 18, Emily Lovejoy, Luca Falcone Custom Clothiers, Jeremy Mangerchine, Richard McCabe, David McCarty, Juliet Meeks, Mignon Faget, Mimosa Handcrafted, Cristina Molina and Jonathan Traviesa, Kelly Mueller, Samantha Jane Mullen, The Myrtles Plantation, Ashlee Nell, Sarah Nelson, New Orleans Boulder Lounge, New Orleans Steamboat Company, NOCHI, NOLA Couture, NOLA Yoga Loft, Crystal Obeidzinski, Nonney Oddlokken, Old New Orleans Rum, Angel Oloshove, Christa Ougel, Oxalis Apothecary, Paint’d, Marcy Palmer, Jacqueline Dee Parker, Chris Pavlik, Pilot and Powell, Pistil and Stamen, Pontchartrain Hotel, Sean Randall, Reyn Studios, Frances Rodriguez, Romney Studios, Rubensteins, Laura Scariano, Seven Three Distillery, Jennifer Shaw, Aimée Farnet Siegel, Joey Slaughter, Patch Somerville, Maddie Stratton, Swan, Tchoup Industries, The Red M Studio, Ashley Thomas, Vineyard Vines, Alexis Walter, Jamie Winn, Natalie Woodlock and Katie Dumestre Yaquinto.
Magnolia Ball is sponsored by The Franklin, Hancock Whitney, The Helis Foundation, The Martzolf Group, Neal Auction Company, The New Orleans Advocate, New Orleans Magazine and St. Charles Avenue.
“This is a great celebration of the Museum’s mission, of New Orleans as an art city and of our audience and the artists they support,” says William Pittman Andrews, Ogden Museum Executive Director, who insists the patrons at this event are as artistic as the exhibitions on view. “Since the first year, the evening has always been known as an opportunity for guests to show off a unique variety of sartorial style and summer chic.”
On Saturday, June 8, the Patron Party will start at the Ogden Museum at 8 p.m., and the Magnolia Ball is from 9 p.m. until midnight. Tickets are available at ogdenmuseum.org/magnoliaball.
About Piercing the Inner Wall: The Art of Dusti Bongé
Widely considered to be the first Mississippi artist to work consistently in a Modernist style, Dusti Bongé created a body of work that moved from figurative and Cubist depictions of her Mississippi home in the 1930s, through a period of Surrealism and into an Abstract Expressionist style that defined her mature work. Through paintings, drawings and sculptures, Piercing the Inner Wall traces Bongé’s growth, both artistically and spiritually, and reveals a sphere of influence and inspiration from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the New Orleans scene and the New York School. This exhibition brings together works from throughout her career – from both private and public collections – to tell the story of one woman’s fierce dedication to a creative life, culminating in a body of work that stands testament to her strong contribution to American Art after World War II.
Born in 1903 in Biloxi, Mississippi, Dusti Bongé (nee Eunice Lyle Swetman) graduated from Blue Mountain College in Mississippi and studied acting in Chicago. In the 1920s, she worked as an actress in Chicago and New York, landing roles on both stage and screen. In 1928, she married a talented young painter, Archie Bongé, and the couple had a son, Lyle, in 1929. Archie saw a natural talent for painting in Dusti, and encouraged the endeavor. Realizing that they did not want to raise their child in the city, the family moved to Biloxi in 1934. The artist Walter Inglis Anderson of Ocean Springs had been friends with Archie at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and had served as best man at the couple’s wedding. In Biloxi, Archie and Walter became close again, and Archie began to paint the flora, fauna and built environment of his new home, as well as portraits of his young family. Tragically, within two years, Archie died of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), leaving behind his wife, son and studio. Finding solace among Archie’s paints and brushes in the small studio he had built in their backyard, Dusti Bongé began painting in earnest during this time.
In an unexpected but welcome turn of events, her work was exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Gallery in New York City in 1939. Her art career took a sensational turn in the mid-1940s, when she joined the roster of the famed Betty Parsons Gallery, champion of the New York School. In 1956, she received her first solo exhibition at Betty Parsons, placing her within an elite group of artists including Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still and Robert Rauschenberg. She continued to show at Betty Parsons until 1976. In an age of rampant gender-inequality and in an art market firmly centered in New York City, for over three decades, Bongé maintained the dual identity as a single mother in the Gulf South and as a strong voice in the New York art scene. She created her last work of art in 1991. In a life that spanned the 20th century, Bongé actively created work that engaged the dialogue of American art for over five decades.
This timely exhibition follows the publication “Dusti Bongé, Art and Life: Biloxi, New Orleans & New York,” the first major book devoted to the art and life of the artist. With this publication, J. Richard Gruber, Ph.D., Director Emeritus of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, examines Bongé’s art and career from a regional and national perspective, situating her in the larger context of 20th century American Art.
Piercing the Innner Wall: The Art of Dusti Bongé is curated by Bradley Sumrall, Curator of the Collection, and organized by Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
About the Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Located in the vibrant Warehouse Arts District of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art and is recognized for its original exhibitions, public events and educational programs which examine the development of visual art alongside Southern traditions of music, literature and culinary heritage to provide a comprehensive story of the South. Established in 1999 and in Stephen Goldring Hall since 2003, the Museum welcomes almost 85,000 visitors annually, and attracts diverse audiences through its broad range of programming including exhibitions, lectures, film screenings and concerts which are all part of its mission to broaden the knowledge, understanding, interpretation and appreciation of the visual arts and culture of the American South.
The Ogden Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays from 6 – 8 p.m. for Ogden After Hours. Admission is free to Museum Members and $13.50 for adults, $11 for seniors 65 and older, $6.75 for children ages 5-17 and free for children under 5.
The Ogden Museum is free to Louisiana Residents on Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. courtesy of The Helis Foundation. The Helis Foundation is a Louisiana private foundation, established by the William Helis Family. The Art Funds of the Helis Foundation advance access to the arts for the community through contributions that sustain operations for, provide free admission to, acquire works of art and underwrite major exhibitions and projects of institutions within the Greater New Orleans area.
The Museum is closed Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.