FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Orleans, LA – Ogden Museum of Southern Art is excited to announce the completed installation of Knowing Who We Are: A 20th Anniversary Exhibition, made possible by Terra Foundation for American Art. The Rise of Abstraction, Vernacular Art and Photography and From 19th Century Academic Painting through Southern Regionalism will be on view from April 1, 2023 to March 3, 2024. Additionally, the fifth floor features The Contemporary Dialogue, which opened on January 28, 2023. These three components of the exhibition complete Knowing Who We Are: A 20th Anniversary Exhibition, which is a museum-wide exploration of the ever-changing story of the South through the evolving permanent collection of Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
Inspired by the thought-provoking quote from Ralph Ellison, “knowing where we are has a lot to do with our knowing who we are,” this exhibition challenges conventional notions of Southern identity by providing a portrait of place. With a geographic region spanning from Baltimore to Miami to El Paso, Knowing Who We Are celebrates the diversity of the region, offering a view of Southern identity that is inclusive and representative of its people.
Knowing Who We Are exemplifies the critical role that museums must play in confronting the past, embracing the future, and serving as a bridge for the reconciliation of both. This exhibition traces how artists in the American South – with every developing art movement – responded with a characteristic blend of tradition and innovation, while vigorously and authentically questioning the complicated and often tragic history, in both perception and reality, of the region.
After 20 years, Ogden Museum has expanded the narrative of the South while celebrating the diversity, complexity and vibrancy of the region, both physical and cultural. Knowing Who We Are: A 20th Anniversary Exhibition is divided into three distinct movements in Southern art. These include The Contemporary Dialogue (on floor five), The Rise of Abstraction, Vernacular Art and Photography (on floor four) and From 19th Century Academic Painting through Southern Regionalism (on floor three).
Knowing Who We Are: The Rise of Abstraction, Vernacular Art and Photography
Located on the fourth floor of Goldring Hall, The Rise of Abstraction, Vernacular Art and Photography showcases how Southern artists incorporated Modernism and Abstract Expressionism into their practice while preserving their distinct regional identity. This exhibition traces the development of abstraction in Southern Art through examples by leading figures including Dusti Bongé, Fritz Bultman, Minnie Evans, Sam Gilliam, Dorothy Hood, Ida Kohlmeyer, Eugene Martin, Robert Reed, John T. Scott and Kendall Shaw , among others.
As photography developed in the 20th century, Southern artists were deeply involved in bringing lens-based studio practices from the realm of commercial portraiture and journalism into the contemporary art dialogue. Photographers include Kael Alford, William Christenberry, George Dureau, William Eggleston, Roland Freeman, L. Kasimu Harris, Clarence John Laughlin and Sally Mann, among others.
The art world embraced the freedom and innovation of self-taught and Visionary art in the late-20th century, and vernacular artists from the South arose as leading figures in that national dialogue. Works by George Andrews, Thornton Dial, Roy Ferdinand, Bessie Harvey, Clementine Hunter, Helen Burkhart Mayfield, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, and more are featured in this floor in conversation with abstraction and photography.
Knowing Who We Are: From 19th Century Academic Painting through Southern Regionalism
From 19th Century Academic Painting through Southern Regionalism, located on the third floor of Goldring Hall, traces the development of art in the American South beginning with academic traditions in landscape and portraiture in the 19th century. As trends in American art changed, so too did the practice of artists in the American South. Although closely aligned with the shifting dialogue in American art, art in the American South followed at its own pace – sometimes leading the charge into new territories, while at other times circling back to previous ground.
The third floor of Goldring Hall illustrates how, with each new development – from early photography, Impressionism, Tonalism, and the Arts & Crafts Movement through American Scene Painting, Social Realism and Regionalism – Southern artists responded with a characteristic blend of tradition, innovation and a steadfast awareness of the power of place. Artists include Jacques Amans, Walter Anderson, Richmond Barthé, Elizabeth Catlett, Walker Evans, Angela Gregory, Joseph Meeker, George Ohr, Julian Onderdonk, Lulu King Saxon, Bill Traylor, Benjamin Wigfall, Ellsworth Woodward, and many more.
A complete list of exhibitions can be found by visiting www.ogdenmuseum.org.
About The Terra Foundation for American Art
This exhibition was made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art thanks to “Re-envisioning Permanent Collections: A Special Initiative for US Museums.” 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.
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 $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.