Several museums throughout the state have offered excellent exhibits during the summer months. I suppose top billing would have to go to NOMA and the exhibit, Portrait of Faith: John Paul II in Life and Art, which closed in July. A day trip to New Orleans is doable and most enjoyable. Most that I know would use any excuse to visit the Big Easy! I am proposing to you that you make this a frequent event. New Orleans has so much to offer in the way of museums, galleries, and exhibits. NOMA has a full schedule of exhibits, lectures, concerts and films throughout the year.
One of my favorite New Orleans galleries is the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery on Julia Street. The 17th Annual NO DEAD Artists exhibit will run from September 4th through 28th. This national juried exhibit sets out to disprove the theory that an artist is not recognized until after death and this year features 24 artists. Ferrara Gallery favorite Dan Tague will return in October with another series of 15 prints based on his continuing study of American paper currency and hidden messages. Entitled The Almighty Dollar, the prints show the bills folded into various shapes to spell out messages. It is fascinating stuff.
If you are not of Italian heritage, you may not be aware that New Orleans has a fine American Italian Museum. Located in the Cultural Center, the museum traces the history of Italians in the Southeast, especially in and around New Orleans. A section of the museum, the American Italian Research Library is located in the East Bank Library of Metairie. There are hundreds of audio histories of early Italian immigrants as well as the naturalization records of all Italians who entered New Orleans from 1800 to 1860.
The Louisiana State Museum has two on-going shows at the Presbytere. They Call Me Baby Doll features photographs, costumes, and artifacts of African American women who masked as baby dolls during Mardi Gras. Katrina and Beyond presents a graphic portrayal of the devastating effects of the hurricane on New Orleans. The Associated Press has labeled Katrina and Beyond “a stunning exhibit”.
I love to visit the city of Gueydan in South Louisiana. Although known for their unique flavor of rice, Gueydan boasts an art museum! During the month of September the Gueydan Museum will present Three Artists, Three Ways. Three local artists—Theresa de Perrodil Trahan, Shirley Gauthier, and Ann Ella Joubert—will exhibit paintings of the same subjects done in their particular styles of painting: impressionist, realist and colorist. Featured in the same show will be the painted porcelain of Sarah Picard.
LSU – Baton Rouge presents art exhibits throughout the academic year. The galleries of LSU are located in the Shaw Center on campus. The Glassell and Foster Galleries often feature LSU art faculty. Running through October in the LSU Museum of Art, located in the Student Union, Walter Inglis Anderson’s retrospective, Everything I See Is New and Strange. This exhibit is being co-sponsored by LSU and the Anderson family.
Should you be adventurous enough to travel a further distance, nothing can be more enjoyable than a trip to the Meadows Museum on the campus of S.M.U. in Dallas. The Stewart Album will run through November. Works in this exhibit come from a recent acquisition of art and letters belonging to the American patron while living in Paris. Sorolla in America will run from this December through April of 2014. Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923) was the best-known Spanish artist prior to the success of Picasso. Paintings in this exhibit will portray his relation with the U.S. in the early 20th century. Of course, one cannot visit The Meadows without seeing that exquisite permanent collection of Spanish art. Collected by Algur H. Meadows during his travels to Spain, the collection features Spanish art from the 1550’s (known as “The Golden Age”) through the 18th century.
While it may be necessary to travel a bit to enjoy this wonderful art, day trips are easy to schedule; especially in the cooler fall season of Louisiana. Don’t let your “weekend drive” be all about food! Take in some “food for the soul” as well!