One afternoon, Av took me to visit the Ogden Museum of Southern Art – we’ve been there before, but this time we were really interested in seeing the “Alabama Iron Sculptors” exhibit, which ends June 19th.
I remember the first time we went to the museum, I really-really wanted to be in love with it, but there is something about it that is just so odd…there is a sizable amount of folk/outsider art, but the museum building – the architecture, etc – is such that the museum feels like it could be located anywhere: Kansas City, Philadelphia, etc.
There’s just nothing about the interior space that reflects “you are in New Orleans, here is Southern art, and we’re doing it in a reflective aesthetic which is why you’re walking on reclaimed river-bottom wood flooring, the spaces are appropriately distressed (or in some spaces, appropriately grand), etc.”. There’s just nothing about that building that really wraps around you and conveys an authenticity of surroundings.
Or maybe the designers planned it that way, saying that all Southern art is on the same plane as art in every other city and that’s why it should be displayed in such a manner that you could really feel as if you’re anywhere else.
Which…I feel that way, but…oh, maybe it’s me and I just don’t “get” that building.
Now, the Alabama Iron Sculptor exhibit was in the Patrick F. Taylor Library (which is a part of the Ogden) and is in an old building that was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, a New Orleans native who lived from 1838-1886 (pictures of some of his other buildings can be seen here).
*That* is a beautiful building. The space didn’t at all detract from what was on display. There were pieces/assemblages by Charlie Lucas, Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Joe Minter (who I really like (see this post for pics from visiting him)), and Ronald Lockett – a relative of Thornton Dial. We’re familiar with all the artists in the show although we’ve never met Thornton or Ronald in person.
The museum doesn’t allow pictures to be taken, but here are a few I’ve taken in the past of the artists’ work:
at Joe Minter’s (I’ve got a set of 118 pics from Joe’s here):
There are some pics of Thornton Dial works on Flickr here, too.