Ogden Museum of Southern Art Selects Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, as the 2022 Juror of Louisiana Contemporary Louisiana Contemporary, presented by The Helis Foundation, is Ogden Museum’s Annual Juried Exhibition Featuring Selected Works by Louisiana Artists

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Ogden Museum of Southern Art announced today their selection of Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, as juror of their annual exhibition, Louisiana Contemporary, presented by The Helis Foundation. Oliver will curate a selection of works submitted by Louisiana artists, and then choose four award winners to receive further recognition. Oliver’s selections will be on view at Ogden Museum August 6, 2022 through January 8, 2023.

“Louisiana Contemporary provides space for individual artists to respond to the world we live in,” states William Andrews, Executive Director, Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “Simultaneously, they are collectively representing important work being done in proximity to one of the most creatively abundant places in the world. This 11th edition comes at a time when artists and museums are anticipated to vigorously participate in major conversations, locally and globally, about nearly every concern the world faces. Yet, there are always new discoveries. We are grateful to have Valerie Cassel Oliver join the long list of distinguished jurors who consider this work in the context of where it is made and present it to the world. Her experience in creating dialog and exchange is essential.”

“Managing the Louisiana Contemporary call for entries and exhibition is my favorite project of the year,” explains Amy Newell, Exhibition Specialist, Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “Having the opportunity to meet and interact with the many talented artists that participate in this exhibition each year is such a unique and valuable experience. We all know that New Orleans is full of artistic people, but getting to see contemporary work from every corner of the state represented on the walls of Ogden Museum is truly a highlight of the program. Each year the application pool expands and the job of the juror becomes a little more difficult, but I am proud to see the call for entries grow and to know that the opportunity to apply to Louisiana Contemporary is reaching more and more Lousiananas each year.” 

Artist entries will be accepted April 13 through May 27 on the Museum’s website, ogdenmuseum.org, where specific guidelines will be available. Selected artists will be announced by July 1. 

Awards will be given by Oliver at a private reception for Louisiana Contemporary artists on August 5, and will be publicly announced on August 6. Included in these awards is The Helis Foundation Art Prize, an unrestricted grant of $5,000 to the selected winning artist.

The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, August 6 during Hancock Whitney White Linen Night, a community celebration of art and culture.

Ogden Museum first launched Louisiana Contemporary in 2012 to establish a vehicle that would bring the work of artists living in Louisiana to the fore and highlight the dynamism of art practice throughout the state. To provide opportunity for participation by the widest array of artists, and to ensure a robust curatorial program, Ogden Museum developed a two-part selection process, which includes an open call for applications and a jurying process that is led by a different invited juror each year. Since the inaugural exhibition over ten years ago, Ogden Museum has shown works by 489 artists, making Louisiana Contemporary an important moment in the national arts calendar to recognize and experience the spectrum and vitality of artistic voices emanating from New Orleans and in art communities across Louisiana.

Prior jurors of Louisiana Contemporary include Hallie Ringle, Hugh Kaul Curator of Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, René Morales, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Chief Curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami; David Breslin, Director of Curatorial Initiatives at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Courtney J. Martin, Director of the Yale Center for British Art and former Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Dia Art Foundation; Shantrelle P. Lewis, an independent curator, author, and documentarian; and Bill Arning, former Director of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Louisiana Contemporary is made possible by presenting sponsor, The Helis Foundation. 

About Valerie Cassel Oliver

Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Prior to her position at the VMFA, she was Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2000 – 2017). She has served as director of the Visiting Artist Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1995-2000) and a program specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts (1988-1995). In 2000, she served as one of six curators selected to organize the Biennial for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

During her tenure at the CAMH, Cassel Oliver organized numerous exhibitions including the acclaimed Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970 (2005); Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970 with Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (2009); and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art (2012). She has also mounted significant survey exhibitions for Benjamin Patterson, Donald Moffett, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Jennie C. Jones, Angel Otero and Annabeth Rosen. 

Her 2018 debut exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was the five-decade survey of work by Howardena Pindell entitled, Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen. The exhibition, co-organized with Naomi Beckwith, was mounted for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and named one of the most influential of the decade. At the VMFA, Cassel Oliver organized the exhibition, Cosmologies from the Tree of Life that featured over thirty newly acquired works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Most recently, she opened the exhibition, The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture and the Sonic Impulse, to critical acclaim. The exhibition opened in Richmond May, 2021 and is currently touring through January, 2023.

Cassel Oliver is the recipient of a Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship (2007); a fellowship from the Center of Curatorial Leadership (2009); the High Museum of Art’s David C. Driskell Award (2011); the Arthur and Carol Kaufman Goldberg Foundation-to-Life Fellowship at Hunter College (2016) and the James A. Porter Book Award from Howard University (2018). From 2016-17, she was a Senior Fellow in Curatorial Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and, in Spring 2020, she served with Hamza Walker as a Fellow for Viewpoints at the University of Texas at Austin.

Most recently, Cassel Oliver was named the recipient of the 2022 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence from The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and the awardee of the College Arts Association’s 2022 Excellence in Diversity Award. In March, 2022, she accepted the Alain Locke International Art Award from the Detroit Institute for the Arts.

Cassel Oliver holds an Executive MBA from Columbia University, New York; an M.A. in art history from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a B.S. in communications from the University of Texas at Austin.

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.