NOMA Arts Quarterly Winter 2017

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Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art

Winter 2017


Susan M. Taylor

Cover Pietro Longhi, The Seller of Essences, (detail), c. 1750 – 1752, Oil on canvas, Venice, Ca’ Rezzonico Left Regina Scully, Cosmographia (detail), 2015, Acrylic on canvas, Gift of Tim L. Fields, Esq., 2016.62, © Regina Scully

The New Orleans Museum of Art concluded a year of growth with a remarkable 2016 fall season. Autumn brought a host of celebrations, including the 50th anniversary of the muchbeloved Odyssey gala, an extraordinary event that raises critical funds for the museum. We also celebrated the career and legacy of George Dunbar, arguably New Orleans’ most distinguished artist, with a retrospective that drew over 400 of George’s friends, colleagues, and collectors to the opening. In addition, we paid tribute to collector Paul Allen for generously sharing his exhibition, Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection, with the city of New Orleans. As of this writing, over 20,000 people have enjoyed Allen’s exhibition, helping NOMA cap a record year with a nine percent increase in attendance. Our 2017 calendar is similarly ambitious. In February, we will unveil a NOMA-originated presentation, A Life of Seduction: Venice in the 1700s, which draws on the resources of the fabled Venetian civic museums and the insights of Italian scholars. This summer, we will present Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans, an exhibition that celebrates a remarkable donation by New Orleans art collector and gallerist Arthur Roger. For her 90th birthday celebration, Leah Chase’s friends and family established a NOMA fund in her honor to acquire works by African American artists. A civil rights activist, chef, and NOMA Honorary Life Trustee, Mrs. Chase has long championed the work of living artists. The fund has helped us purchase works by McArthur Binion, LaToya Ruby Frazier and Leonardo Drew, bringing emerging and underrepresented voices in contemporary art into dialogue with the art and culture of New Orleans. Binion is interviewed in this issue. All of these artists will be showcased in a new acquisitions exhibition in March. Also in March, The National Gallery, Washington, will open a major photography exhibition co-organized with NOMA: East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography. (The exhibition comes here in October 2017.) Closer to home, 28 photographs from our collection are currently on view in a Clarence John Laughlin exhibition at The Historic New Orleans Collection – a loan that underscores our long-standing, close relationship with the French Quarter institution. The New Year also will bring major changes to NOMA’s permanent collection galleries. Our holdings have been enriched with many new acquisitions — from signature, late 20th century chairs by Alessandro Mendini and Ron Arad to a suite of large-format color photographs by Edward Burtynsky. Many of our galleries will be re-installed to reflect fresh scholarship and contemporary ideas about display. In particular, our holdings in Indian art now have an expansive, dedicated gallery. Some of the most dramatic alterations will take place in our decorative arts galleries. A changing exhibition space will debut in March with an installation that focuses on a newly restored, 18th century Automaton Musical Clock. An ArtTab digital tablet, developed by NOMA, will display the clock’s movements and music as it strikes the hours. As the year unfolds, expect to see the return of old favorites, such as NOMA’s comprehensive glass holdings, which center on the foundational Melvin P. Billups glass collection. And look for new gifts in the renovated wing as well, including The E. John Bullard Collection of American Studio Ceramics, 1940-1970, which showcases both the keen eye and the generosity of NOMA’s beloved former director. NOMA will change behind the scenes, too, thanks to major grants of $400,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and $150,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. With Mellon support, we have begun a national search for two young scholars – curatorial fellows in the fields of photography and of modern and contemporary art, who will bring fresh perspectives to our collections and community. The IMLS grant will fund the digitization of our renowned African Art collection, allowing us to share its riches with art lovers everywhere. Visit us in 2017 and see how NOMA continues to grow in its second century. We have committed ourselves to the highest standards, embraced our New Orleans audience, and reaffirmed NOMA’s place as a Gulf South institution with a national presence.

Susan M. Taylor The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director


Winter 2017

FEATURE 10 The Entire Town is Disguised: Venice in the 1700s


4 Regina Scully EXHIBITIONS

6 McArthur Binion acquisition honors Leah Chase 8 NOMA brings dance ritual objects to Indian galleries COLLECTIONS

14 Restored Automaton Clock brings music, movement to NOMA 16 Laughlin loans highlight bonds between NOMA and Historic New Orleans Collection

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Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art

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18 The NOLA Project and NOMA engage families and children


19 NOMA awarded grants totaling $550,000 for curatorial fellowships and digitization efforts 20 NOMA Donors 22 LOVE in the Garden and 50th Odyssey Ball Celebrations

Opposite left Venetian manufacture, Child‘s Dress, 18th century, Silk, Venice, Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo Opposite right McArthur Binion, DNA: Black Painting: V (detail), 2015, Oil paint stick on canvas, The New Orleans Museum of Art: Museum Purchase, Leah Chase Fund, 2016.20, © McArthur Binion Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York Above English, for Chinese Market, Automaton Musical Clock (detail), c. 1790, Guilloché enamel, paste jewels, and metal movements; New Orleans Museum of Art: Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Hills, 2001.253.369




Curator Lisa Rotondo-McCord (left) and New Orleans artist Regina Scully examine a Japanese scroll at NOMA.

NOMA acquired its first painting by Regina Scully in 2014 and added another this past year. Since then, the museum’s ties to this young New Orleans painter have grown even closer thanks to a collaboration initiated by Lisa RotondoMcCord, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Asian Art. Rotondo-McCord saw many stylistic parallels between the calligraphic abstractions of Scully, which hint at landforms and horizons, and the Japanese art that she has showcased at NOMA for decades. When the curator met Scully at an exhibition opening, she invited the artist for a private viewing of NOMA’s Japanese paintings. That visit proved to be the first of many monthly meetings. “Regina isn’t making Japanese art, but some of the techniques of building a composition were akin. She uses shifting perspectives to suggest space, for example, a method also employed by Japanese artists,” Rotondo-McCord said. “I thought there might be a chance for an interesting dialogue if we looked at NOMA’s collection together, with an eye to creating an exhibition.” Now slated for April 2017, the exhibition will mix contemporary works by Scully and a selection of Japanese paintings dating from the 17th century through the 19th century. It fits with 4

NOMA’s ongoing effort to connect contemporary artists with the museum’s collection and with the New Orleans community. Other projects under development include a commission from Scottish designer Geoffrey Mann, and exhibitions involving textile artist Diedrick Brackens and sculptor Leonardo Drew. Scully has created new works for the collaborative show. While none of them mimic Japanese models, she said, they do expand on her own vision. In some cases she has adapted brush strokes, washes and other effects from Japanese ink painting to her own, quintessentially Western medium: acrylic on canvas. “For me, this was an amazing opportunity,” Scully said. “Usually these Japanese paintings are behind glass in a display case. Through this process, I’ve gotten close enough to examine individual brushstrokes and think about the mechanics of making those marks. I’ve seen a lot of things that I like, which I’m adding to my visual library even if I’m not using them yet. I don’t want to copy. I want to digest this tradition and filter it through my own way of seeing — and I love to get information straight from a curator in an informal setting.” The rapport between artist and curator came through strongly this past fall, when AQ joined the pair for one of

their monthly encounters at NOMA. They met in the raw, industrial “packing room” near the museum’s art storage areas. Scully brought her sketchbook and camera; Rotondo-McCord brought her scholarly passion for the 300-some Japanese paintings in the museum’s holdings. Together, they unrolled a rich array of hanging scrolls, from a monochrome landscape by Ike Taiga that showed the influence of Chinese literati traditions, to a work (see back cover) created by two, little-known 19th century artists who mixed naturalistic Western depictions of birds and animals with traditional Japanese renderings of plants. Redolent of cross-cultural connections, both the Taiga and the bird and flower scroll offered both women an opportunity to reflect on their own crosscultural project and the slow genesis of the forthcoming NOMA exhibition. “The first time I saw work at NOMA, I dreamt about the pieces I saw,” Scully said. “They recurred in every part of my dream. Little sections of patterned brushwork appeared on a table or as part of a chair. When I woke up and went to the studio, I didn’t remember the dream, but I remembered the art in my dream. It was a sign that this exhibition would be really important for my work, that the Japanese art I was seeing had connected to my subconscious and that I needed to let it out in its own unique way. Dreams tell us stuff, and this one became a part of me. I think it will be a part of this exhibition, too.” Rotondo-McCord jumped in with her own observations: “As a curator, it helps me to see work through a different lens,” she said. “When I look at art with Regina, I can step away from the linear, art historical approach to these paintings and ignore the curatorial voice that says, ‘this work is important and thi1s work is not.’ I expect the exhibition will do the same thing for NOMA visitors. The show won’t be comparative. It’s meant to evoke conversation — and to encourage close looking.” Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art

Regina Scully, Navigation 7, (detail) 2010, Acrylic on wood panel, Museum purchase, NOMA Contemporaries Fund, 2014.3, Š Regina Scully, Image courtesy of the artist. Photo by Mike Smith.




McArthur Binion, DNA: Black Painting: V, 2015, Oil paint stick on canvas, The New Orleans Museum of Art: Museum Purchase, Leah Chase Fund, 2016.20, © McArthur Binion Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York (Detail below.)


Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art

You were born in a small town in rural Mississippi. How did you decide to move to New York and become an artist?

Born on a cotton farm in rural Mississippi in 1946, McArthur Binion is now one of the most vital and important voices in contemporary American art. To create his paintings, Binion collages highly personal markers of his identity— his birth certificate, identity cards, family photographs and address books— into seemingly impersonal grids of oil stick, ink and graphite. His paintings offer a powerful meditation on the persistence of history and memory, revealing how personal meaning can emerge out of even the starkest and most minimal forms. NOMA recently acquired a new painting by Binion, which will be unveiled to the public on Friday, March 10, alongside a group of new acquisitions by contemporary African American artists that have been chosen to honor the life and legacy of New Orleans chef and Civil Rights activist Leah Chase. Binion will present a lecture at 7 p.m. that evening. NOMA’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Katie A. Pfohl interviewed Binion in advance of his planned appearance, and Arts Quarterly offers an edited transcript of that conversation here.

My head does not come from art history—I am a true rural modernist. The first time I ever saw a painting was when I was 19 years old. I was working for a new magazine up in Harlem— basically as a sophisticated delivery guy—and the editor sent me to deliver a package to the director of the Museum of Modern Art. I was waiting by the coat check, turned around, and saw this incredible painting by Wilfredo Lam— although I did not know who that was, yet. It was really a hugely emotional experience for me. I had read about painting in literature, but I had never seen one, or realized that painting could be philosophical, that it could truly make you feel and think. After that, I decided to become a visual artist, but the whole thing was so totally foreign to me—and I was completely no good at it! So I buckled down and drew for forty hours a week for two years straight, and finally I got it. I already had my head, but I had to find my hands.

In the 1970s, New York was divided between artists like Sol LeWitt making abstract, minimalist work and artists interested in exploring identity and politics who wanted to make questions of race, gender and sexuality more fully part of the conversation. Given all that was happening politically at the time, why did you choose to create abstract paintings? First of all, it was not a conversation between these artists. It was an opposition. For me, the most challenging thing I could think to do when I arrived in New York was to work to find some

humanity within abstraction. The goal, for me, was to make abstraction personal. When I started working, it had never been done that way. I wanted to smash all those guys like Sol Lewitt. I’m always challenging different painters in my studio—I will smash Cy Twombly one day, just crack him in half, and then I’ll take Jasper Johns and smash him too. With those guys, it was always something heady, and for me smart is absolutely boring. I want to swing with my emotional content, that’s what I am after. For me, the most genuine experience is to look at a painting and have no expression—no language for it—but to cry. In your DNA: Black Painting series, one of which NOMA just acquired, you underscore your Southern roots by collaging your birth certificate— which reads Macon, Mississippi— into your paintings. Do you consider yourself a Southern artist? It was very scary for me to start using my birth certificate in my paintings. Have you seen the picture of my birth house in Mississippi? You see that house, you see my whole story. Do you know that I am one of eleven children, nine of which were born in that two-room house? The South is where all the original black outsiders came from, and I was born in the real South. My brain just has that imprint, and it is still a part of me. One day I was painting, and I just kept coming back to that birth certificate, how under race it said colored, but because my birth certificate was a copy, colored was written in white on black. My next series of paintings, half are going to have my birth certificate, and half are going to have a photograph of a lynched man, but you are going to have to look really hard to see it under the paint. This is not about race, this is about history and images, about how to say more with a lot less.






Since the 14th century, worshippers in southwestern India have created altars and staged ritual dances as part of a religious practice known as a bhuta cult. At all-night ceremonies, a medium invites these supernatural bhutas into himself, speaking in the voice of these ancestor spirits as the dancers circle before elaborate, flower-decked altars that bear decorated images of the bhutas.

Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art

India, Karnataka, Breastplate, 18th – 19th century, Bronze, New Orleans Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Siddharth K. Bhansali, 98.30

India, Karnataka, Panjurli (Boar's Head) Bhuta Mask, 18th century, Bronze, New Orleans Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Siddharth K. Bhansali, 97.853

Viewing a work of art in a museum is a fundamentally different experience from seeing that same object in its original context. In a quiet gallery objects are presented in orderly fashion, appreciated for their aesthetic qualities and historical significance. It is important to remember, however, that some works were created as objects of devotion and the focus of rituals. A particularly striking illustration of this variance can be seen in the Mask and Breastplate currently on view in the new gallery for the arts of India, on NOMA’s 3rd floor. These metal sculptures were created in south-western India, in the Kanara

region of Karnataka where an ages-old religious practice, known as a bhuta cult, thrives. Bhutas are supernatural beings or divinized ancestor spirits that have been worshipped in parts of southwestern India since at least the 14th century. They take many forms, including boars, buffalo and ferocious manifestations of the god Shiva. Anthropologists have documented the ways in which masks and breastplates functioned in bhuta rituals. At all-night ceremonies, dancers wear masks and breastplates as part of extraordinarily elaborate costumes (see photos, opposite page). The mask is surrounded by an aureole of flowers,

and the breastplate is complemented by additional jewelry and brightly painted costume elements, including an arched backdrop and a broad skirt. The medium, through whom the bhuta communicates, accompanies the dancer and is similarly costumed. The medium invites a specific bhuta into himself, and that bhuta communicates through the medium, speaking through the mask. Bhutas dispense advice and counsel to the family sponsoring the ceremony, settle local disputes, as well as sing and tell stories. Lisa Rotondo-McCord, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Asian Art

FACING PAGE Anonymous,


“The Entire Town is Disguised” SPLENDOR AND PAGEANTRY IN VENICE IN THE 1700S Presented exclusively by the New Orleans Museum of Art, A Life of Seduction: Venice in the 1700s showcases a remarkable range of objects – costume, glass, handbags, masks, a puppet theater, and exquisite paintings by Canaletto, Guardi, Longhi and others. Renowned for its beauty and singularity, Venice played a central role in the history of Western art. In the 18th century, the city experienced a revival in the arts and was the premier destination for intellectuals and travelers. Venetians cultivated a distinctive and influential tradition of street life, festivals, and fashion. Guest-curated by the former director of the Civic Museums of Venice, Giandomenico Romanelli, the exhibition is organized around four themes: A City that Lives on Water, the Celebration of Power, Aristocratic Life in Town and Country, and the City as Theater. Venice’s relationship to water is clearly expressed in its nickname: “The Bride of the Sea.” From the early medieval period, the Venetian Republic held maritime dominance of the Mediterranean and was Europe’s earliest portal to the East. A bird’s-eye view by Joseph Heintz the Younger (1600-1678), shows the all-encompassing role of the sea for Venetians (see page 12). Following earlier traditions, Heintz presents the city with cartographic accuracy, emphasizing both its layout and architecture. The city’s canals are its most important thoroughfares, providing efficient, elegant passage, and relief from the tiny, bustling streets of its 117 islands. Opulent palaces line the city’s Grand Canal and function as the regal backdrop for the frequent, civic pageantry staged on and in view of water. In the 18th century, the canals of Venice become an artistic subject in their own right. Appreciation for the city’s singular beauty inspired the development of a tradition of view painting, the vedute. Travelers on the Grand Tour were eager for mementos, and many pictures of all types were created for export to satisfy the demand. The gondola is the signature conveyance of Venice. Its unique, eminently stylish shape is designed for elegance and speed. The exhibition features two gondola models exquisitely crafted in miniature. An elaborate gondola ornament, also included in the exhibition, replicates the motifs of Egyptian Islamic metalwork, demonstrating the distinctly Venetian integration of western and eastern motifs so notable in the city’s architecture and decorative arts. Venice was led by a tightknit group of patrician families, who each year elected a Doge as their leader. The second section of the exhibition explores the ceremony which developed around the Doge’s election process and the office itself. A painting by a follower of Joseph Heintz the Younger, Fantastic Vision of the Triumph of Venice (left), envisions a fanciful celebration of the Doge. Adapted from the traditional subject of the “triumphal entry,” the Doge is dressed in armor, riding an impossibly huge, unwieldy chariot. Flag-waving attendants celebrate him and angels sound trumpets of fame overhead. Two elephants haul the entourage, symbolizing Venice’s contacts with the exotic East. FACING PAGE Follower of Joseph Heintz the Younger, Fantastic Vision of the Triumph of Venice (detail), 18th-century, Oil on canvas, Rovigo: Palazzo Roncale, Fondazione Cariparo


Follower of Joseph Heintz, the Younger, Bird’s Eye View of Venice, First half of 18th century, Oil on canvas, Venice, Museo Correr

Renowned for its beauty and singularity, Venice played a central role in the history of Western art. In the 18th century, the city experienced a revival in the arts and was the premier destination for intellectuals and travelers.


Venice was a center for luxury goods, including glass, furniture and textiles, all of which are featured in the exhibition’s sumptuous display of private life. A commanding, fanciful rococo desk lent by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, with its curving lines, gilt wood and delicate painted motifs is a true highlight (see page 13). The exhibition gives special attention to fine apparel. Public and civic dress were highly regulated in the city, where strict sumptuary laws fixed appearance according to social class and gender. Black was the norm for public appearance in Venice, but in private both men and women dressed in sumptuous silks, examples of which are on display. The city boasted 17 theaters featuring opera and commedia dell’arte plays. Antonio Vivaldi worked and composed music in the city for forty years. Carlo Goldoni, at his Goldoni Theater, introduced audiences to innovative, witty productions of sophisticated complexity. His plays remain beloved by Italians. Theaters in Venice were open to all classes and the expansion of theatergoing in this period represents an important turning point in public entertainment. By the 13th century, the wearing of masks was unique to the culture of Venice, which came to be called the “city of masks.” Masks were worn during Carnival, but Venetians often wore masks when appearing in public at other times. Seemingly a way to preserve modesty, the mask was in fact liberating. It allowed a certain anonymity and facilitated open

Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art


Concorso d’Eleganza The Ferrari clubs of New Orleans and Houston will display historic and beautiful cars in front of NOMA.

MARCH 17 | 6:30 PM

LECTURE: Shakespeare and Mardi Gras P H OTO G R A P H Y BY M IN N E A P O LIS IN ST IT U T E O F A R T

Jennifer C. Vaught, University of Louisiana, Lafayette

MARCH 24 | 6 PM

LECTURE: Masks and Identity in Casanova’s Venice James H. Johnston from Boston University will provide a spirited analysis of masking both during and outside of Carnival.

MARCH 31 | 6:30 PM Unknown artist, Italy, Venice, 18th century, Writing desk, c. 1760, Wood, paint, gilt, gilt bronze, 53 9⁄16 x 60 5⁄8 x 28 3⁄8 in., Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund 76.74, Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art

contact and mixing between social classes and genders. The mask served to subvert a rigid social hierarchy. In 1709 city magistrates held a meeting devoted to concerns about the practice, reflecting the impact ‘masking’ had on Venetian culture. Little changed, however. As one 18th-century French tourist said, “The entire town is disguised.” The staging of elaborate ceremonial festivities marking liturgical and political events became increasingly popular in the course of the 18th century. For example, regattas on the Grand Canal were staged to honor visiting rulers and diplomats, and great emphasis was placed on merrymaking of all sorts. Gabriel Bella’s painting, Giovedì Grasso, depicts the celebration of the last Thursday before Lent. It remains a major festival in Venice, and was initiated as early as 1162. The festival centerpiece is a large, wooden tower, placed in front of the Doges’ Palace, from which fireworks were launched. The painting also includes acrobats balancing on poles and off of each other, as part of the “feats of strength” competition. A wide array of other competitions were staged in squares across the city; many of them are represented in uproarious detail in paintings in the exhibition. Life of Seduction: Venice in the 1700s will be on view in the Ella West Freeman Galleries from February 16 – May 21, 2017. Vanessa Schmid, Senior Research Curator for European Art

LECTURE: Canals, Cellos, and Costumes: Eighteenth-Century Venice from Vivaldi to Guardi Peter Björn Kerber, assistant Curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum, specializes in European, and particularly Italian, painting between 1600 and 1800.

APRIL 21 | 6 PM

ARTIST PERSPECTIVE: Mitchell Gaudet New Orleans glass artist Mitchell Gaudet from Studio Inferno

APRIL 28 | 6 PM

LECTURE: Hidden Musicians of Venice: The Fascinating Story of Vivaldi’s All-Female Orchestra Kim Teter, author of Isabella’s Libretto

MAY 12 | 5 PM

Masquerade at NOMA Part of Friday Nights at NOMA, open until midnight with exclusive programming at 5 p.m. Pull out those favorite costumes and wigs.

Visit to find out about our NOONTIME TALKS with Curator Vanessa Schmid and the VENICE FILM SERIES moderated by Laszlo Fulop of UNO.



RESTORED AUTOMATON CLOCK BRINGS MUSIC, MOVEMENT TO NOMA NOMA’s Automaton Musical Clock would have been viewed as a mechanical wonder when it was made in London around 1800, and its whimsical movement and luscious materials still charm today. In spring 2017 it will go on view in the new Elise M. Besthoff Charitable Foundation Gallery on NOMA’s second floor. Our clock is a Katrina survivor. NOMA acquired it in 2001 as a bequest from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Hills. When Hurricane Katrina struck, it was undergoing restoration in a New Orleans repair shop. The disassembled clock was submerged in floodwater. In 2015 the piece travelled to London for a meticulous, year-long conservation project supported by the Besthoff Foundation. Specialists stabilized the ormolu (gilt bronze) and enamel panels and, most critically, dismantled and repaired clockworks that had been corroded by dirty floodwaters. The restored clock can now keep perfect time, play a series of chime tunes, and spin its jeweled ornaments. As part of the new installation, an ArtTab digital tablet developed by NOMA will show the clock’s movements and melodies as it strikes the hours. The ArtTab explores the specialized crafts of the clock’s body and inner workings, its recent restoration, and how such clocks were used as part of 18th century British-Chinese diplomacy. Videos on the tablet will show musical automata from other museum collections, charting the increased sophistication of these spring-driven timepieces.

English, for Chinese Market, Automaton Musical Clock, c. 1790, In the manner of James Cox, Ormolu (gilt bronze), Guilloché enamel, paste jewels, and metal movements; 28 1⁄2 in. high, New Orleans Museum of Art: Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Hills, 2001.253.369


Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art

LEARN MORE ABOUT NOMA’S AUTOMATON MUSICAL CLOCK The first clocks in Medieval Europe were powered by hanging weights and mostly found in public clock towers and cathedrals. Smaller clocks, powered by a coiled spring, first appeared in the 1400s. In addition to timekeeping, their spring-driven mechanics could power “automata” like dancing animals and other enchanting curiosities. Such clocks also represented a dramatic technological leap, one that led to the mechanical calculators of the Victorian era, and eventually to modern computing. ▲

The reception of the (Macartney) Diplomatique and his suite at the Court of Pekin. James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey. Hand-colored etching, published London, September 14, 1792. (NPG D12463 © National Portrait Gallery, London.)

Inventor, jeweler, and toymaker James Cox opened a London museum in 1772 dedicated to his mechanical marvels, or “toys” as automata were called in Georgian England. Ticketholders could tour a showroom full of movement, sound, gold and jewels. Though it is not known whether NOMA’s Automaton Clock came from Cox’s workshop, it is designated “in the manner of James Cox.” ▲

▲ Automaton clocks were made in Europe, but often intended for Asian markets. The cartoon, pictured here, pokes fun at the 1793 meeting of the Chinese Qianlong Emperor and Lord Macartney’s Embassy, which was Britain’s first diplomatic effort with China. Macartney’s mission aimed to facilitate trade through de-regulation and the establishment of an English embassy in Canton (Guangzhou). This caricature shows gifts offered to the Emperor, including a clock next to a miniature painting of Britain’s King George III. Despite the gift,

Mel Buchanan, RosaMary Curator of Decorative Arts and Design

the Chinese denied all requests and ejected Macartney from the court two days later.




Michael P. Smith, Clarence John Laughlin, Gelatin silver print, The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of Mrs. Clarence John Laughlin, 2006.0019.1.50, © THNOC

Putting our noted photography collection on view is a priority for NOMA, not only in our own galleries, but also through loans to regional, national and international exhibitions. The Historic New Orleans Collection has been a particularly significant partner in this endeavor. The Collection borrowed 28 works from NOMA’s holdings for its current exhibition, Clarence John Laughlin and His Contemporaries: A Picture and a Thousand Words (on view through March 25, 2017). The loan includes images by renowned photographers who traded work with Laughlin, among them such titans as Imogen Cunningham, Wynn Bullock, Berenice Abbott and Edward Weston. The exhibition details the creative life of Laughlin, a French Quarter denizen who achieved international eminence for his visionary photographs of Louisiana subjects.


Clarence John Laughlin, The Unending Stream, 1941, Gelatin silver print, The Clarence John Laughlin Archive at The Historic New Orleans Collection, 1981.247.1.266, © THNOC

The Laughlin show exemplifies the collegial bonds that have long defined relations between the two institutions, said John Lawrence, Director of Museum Programs for THNOC. Lawrence has a memory for such things. In a recent interview, he ticked off the names of every NOMA photo curator going back through his own four-decade tenure at the Collection, and mentioned a host of past loans and collaborations. The two institutions don’t just collaborate on photography exhibitions. Visitors to another current show at the Collection, Goods of Every Description: Shopping in New Orleans, 1825–1925, will find ceramics loaned by NOMA and a curtain from the museum’s ButlerGreenwood Plantation parlor. When that antebellum parlor was exhibited at NOMA in 2015, the Collection loaned portraits of the plantation’s original owners.

“After Katrina, NOMA and the Collection embarked on a multi-year series of exchanges and exhibitions to showcase where our holdings reinforced each other,” Lawrence said. “It’s been a comfortable fit for both institutions because we’re quite different – a history museum and a fine art museum — and because it just makes sense for institutions in the same town to find common ground, to seek projects that better both partners.” Making the Laughlin loans was an easy decision for Russell Lord, the Freeman Family Curator of Photographs, Prints and Drawings at NOMA. “The exhibition reunites works from NOMA and the Collection that were all part of Laughlin’s personal collection during his lifetime — so it makes sense to display them together,” Lord said. “We’re thrilled that so many French Quarter visitors will see our photographs in a fresh context — and we hope that some of them will be spurred to visit NOMA,” he said.

Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art


Ruth Bernhard, Palmetto Shadow on Wood Siding, c. 1950, Gelatin silver print, Gift of Clarence John Laughlin, 82.281.88. Reproduced with permission of the Ruth Bernhard Archive, Princeton University Art Museum. Š Trustees of Princeton University.

Imogen Cunningham, Rubber Plant, 1929, Gelatin silver print, Gift of Clarence John Laughlin, 82.281.86, Š 2016 Imogen Cunningham Trust




The NOLA project presentations of Robin Hood and The Winter’s Tale

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley staged the world premiere, right, of Oskar and the Countless Costume Changes, a play for children by Prince Gomovilas and Matt Ackels. The NOLA Project will give the play a fresh staging at NOMA in March 2017.

NOMA and The NOLA Project will team up to bring The Oskar Plays to New Orleans in March 2017. This nationally acclaimed series of live shows for young audiences explores relevant and challenging subject matter, such as bullying, resilience and grit, diversity, and gender stereotypes. Developed by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, the plays have toured to hundreds of elementary schools over the past ten years, reaching thousands of children across the country. A new Oskar play, Oskar and the Countless Costume Changes, will open the conversation about gender roles and identity for young New Orleans audiences. The play uses many storytelling approaches —humor, fun costume changes, and audience interaction—to provide important lessons on empathy and the complexities


of gender expression. Writers Prince Gomovilas and Matt Ackels hope the play will help prepare kids to think about the world in an open and empathetic way. Since 2006, NOMA has collaborated with The NOLA Project to present plays in the museum and sculpture garden. With The Oskar Plays, the two institutions open a fresh chapter. “NOMA is delighted to expand its existing partnership with The NOLA Project to include performances specifically designed for younger audiences. As the museum looks for creative ways to engage families and children, this addition to the programming lineup is an ideal fit,” said Allison Reid, Deputy Director for Interpretation and Audience Engagement. Alex Ates of The NOLA Project also hailed the expanded collaboration.

“I am over the moon about our education department partnering with NOMA to help enhance artistic opportunities for young audiences in New Orleans,” he said. “This project will offer multigenerational audiences a significant experience in the theater that is not only fun but meaningful and relevant.” The play is intended for audiences ages 5 and up. Admission: $10 | Adults $5 | Children Advance admission can be purchased at or at the door. Play begins at 1 pm in NOMA’s Stern Auditorium. Doors open at 12:30 pm. Saturday, March 4 Saturday, March 11 Saturday, March 18 Saturday, March 25

Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art


NOMA AWAR DED GR ANTS TOTALING $550,000 FOR CUR ATORIAL FELLOWSHIPS AND DIGITIZATION EFFORTS NOMA received major grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services in October 2016. Totaling $550,000, the grants are expected to change the museum’s public face by supporting curatorial and digitization efforts. NOMA has worked to build relationships and to find complimentary funders. In 2016, for example, the museum also received support from the Walton Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. Curatorial grant will reinforce NOMA’s commitment to community The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded NOMA a $400,000 grant to support two curatorial fellowships in the fields of photography and modern and contemporary art. NOMA’s permanent collection of over 12,000 photographs is regarded as one of the nation’s most significant. The museum’s collection of 20thcentury European and American painting and sculpture is equally comprehensive and covers virtually all the major art movements. The curatorial fellowships will help NOMA share those collections in innovative ways, said Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “As we continue to open up NOMA’s collections to all communities, these fellowships reflect new methods and means of curatorial practice— advancing art history and scholarship while re-thinking the boundaries of museums and their audience. With this generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NOMA can help support and inspire the next generation of curators whose understanding

A grant of $150,000 was received in 2016 to digitize NOMA’s African art collection.

of issues of inclusion will further underscore their contribution to their fields as well as their commitment to community. New Orleans is the ideal city to advance the goals of engagement and excellence in curatorial practice,” Taylor said. The Mellon Curatorial Fellows are expected to work with NOMA education staff to create public programs and interpretive experiences that help connect audiences to scholarly material through genuine encounters with art, artists, and ideas. Grant to digitize NOMA’s African art will open doors to online public NOMA was selected to receive a $150,000 grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The funds, from the Museums for America program, will support a two-year project to digitize the museum’s collection of African art. The collection from sub-Saharan tribal peoples is considered one of the most outstanding collections in the United States. In announcing the award, Taylor said that it would help position NOMA for the future.

“As museums across the country strive to engage next-generation audiences, this project will help NOMA remain competitive and relevant. It follows previous support from IMLS that has allowed us to engage with visitors near and far, allowing them to explore our extraordinary collection of African art. This access is crucial for all audiences — students, scholars and the general public,” Taylor said. IMLS grants are highly competitive. NOMA’s digitization project was one of 206 projects selected from a field of 548 applications. NOMA already has digitized 10,000 two-dimensional objects from the museum’s permanent collection. A majority of these works are from NOMA’s collection of photography, prints, and drawings, which can be shown only periodically due to light sensitivity. NOMA’s digitization efforts already have had a transformative effect on the way it interacts with the public, turning the museum’s galleries into interactive learning environments, allowing website access to a substantial amount of NOMA’s collection, and developing digital and physical educational tools for visitors and educators.





The New Orleans Museum of Art gratefully acknowledges our donors, who make our exhibitions, programming, and daily operations possible. We appreciate your continued support of NOMA and its mission. Thank you!



Superior Energy Services

First NBC Bank


Le Meridien New Orleans



Foundation and Government Support $500,000 and above

$20,000 - $49,999

Collins C. Diboll Private Foundation

Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation

$200,000 - $499,999

Hyatt Regency New Orleans International-Matex Tank Terminals Jones Walker

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Gulf Seafood and Tourism Promotional Fund

The Azby Fund

Louisiana Division of the Arts

The Elise M. Besthoff Charitable Foundation

The RosaMary Foundation


The Walton Family Foundation

Bellwether Technology

The Helis Foundation Louis Feil Trust

$10,000 - $19,999

$150,000 - $199,999

E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation

City of New Orleans

Evelyn L. Burkenroad Foundation

The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau

Basin St. Station Boh Bros. Construction Company, LLC Crescent Capital Consulting, LLC Dupuy Storage & Forwarding, LLC Ernst & Young

Corporate Realty | The TimesPicayune

Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company Hotel Monteleone Laitram, LLC Neal Auction Company New Orleans Auction Galleries Regions Bank

Feil Family Foundation

$100,000 - $149,999

The Garden Study Club of New Orleans

Lois and Lloyd Hawkins Jr. Foundation

The GPOA Foundation J. Edgar Monroe Foundation

ISA AC DELGADO SOCIETY Barbara and Wayne Amedee

Lee Ledbetter and Douglas Meffert

The Lupin Foundation

Larry W. Anderson

Thomas B. Lemann

Hearst Foundations

New Orleans Theater Association

Honorable Steven R. Bordner

Dr. Edward D. Levy, Jr.

The Harry T. Howard III Foundation

Ruby K. Worner Charitable Trust

E. John Bullard

John and Tania Messina

Joseph and Sue Ellen Canizaro

Anne and King Milling

Mrs. Carmel Cohen

James A. Mounger

Mrs. Isidore Cohn, Jr.

Judith Young Oudt

Prescott N. Dunbar

Mrs. Charles S. Reily, Jr.

Lin Emery

Pixie and James Reiss

$50,000 - $99,999 Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation

John Burton Harter Charitable Trust

The Selley Foundation

Corporate and Individual Support

H. Russell Albright

$500,000 and above

$20,000 - $49,999

Sydney and Walda Besthoff

Joseph and Sue Ellen Canizaro

William A. Fagaly

Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Renwick

Sandra and Russ Herman

Randy Fertel

Arthur Roger

Jeri Nims

Lyn and John Fischbach

Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin M. Rosen

Tim and Ashley Francis

Brian Sands

Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Freeman

Jolie and Robert Shelton

Sandra D. Freeman

Margaret and Bruce Soltis

Tina Freeman and Philip Woollam

Mrs. Frederick M. Stafford

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen A. Hansel

Nancy Stern

Abba J. Kastin, MD

Mrs. John N. Weinstock

$200,000 - $499,999 Paulette and Frank Stewart

$150,000 - $199,999 Estate of Daniel Henry Yeoman

Michele Reynoir and Kevin Clifford Sheila and H. Britton Sanderford Kitty and Stephen Sherrill Estate of Warren and Sylvia Stern

$100,000 and above

$10,000 - $19,999

Mrs. H. Mortimer Favrot, Jr.



First NBC Bank

Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen

Adrea D. Heebe and Dominick A. Russo, Jr.

$50,000 - $99,999

Estate of Albert and Rea Hendler Tina and Robert Hinckley

Estate of Merryl Israel Aron

Elly and Merritt Lane

Mr. E. John Bullard, III

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Lemann

The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau

Elizabeth and Willy Monaghan

Joshua Mann Pailet Whitney Bank

Mercedes Whitecloud

Jacki and Brian Schneider SKYY Vodka Liz and Poco Sloss Jane and Rodney Steiner

For information about supporting NOMA, contact the museum’s Department for Development and External Affairs, (504) 658-4127. 20

Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art



President’s Circle

Patron’s Circle

Mr. and Mrs. Tom Benson Mr. and Mrs. John D. Bertuzzi

Dr. Ronald G. Amedee and Dr. Elisabeth H. Rareshide

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph O. Brennan

Mr. and Mrs. Luis Baños

Mr. and Mrs. Sydney J. Besthoff III

Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Baumer, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. David F. Edwards

Ms. Dorothy Brennan

Mrs. Lawrence D. Garvey

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Canizaro

Ms. Adrea D. Heebe and Mr. Dominick A. Russo, Jr.

Mrs. Marjorie J. Colomb

Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Mayer

Mr. Leonard A. Davis and Ms. Sharon Jacobs

Mrs. Robert Nims

Mr. and Mrs. James J. Frischhertz

Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin M. Rosen

Mr. and Mrs. Edward N. George

Mrs. Patrick F. Taylor

Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Heebe Mr. and Mrs. Keene Kelley

Director’s Circle


Mr. and Mrs. H. Merritt Lane III Dr. Edward D. Levy, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Boh

Mr. and Mrs. J. Thomas Lewis

Mrs. Isidore Cohn, Jr.

Ms. Josie McNamara

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Coleman

Mrs. Louise H. Moffett

Dr. and Mrs. Scott S. Cowen

Dr. Howard and Dr. Joy D. Osofsky

Mr. Jerry Heymann

Mr. and Mrs. James C. Roddy

Mr. Robert Hinckley

Mr. David P. Schulingkamp

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Lemann

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Shearer

Mr. and Mrs. William Monaghan

Mrs. Frederick M. Stafford

Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Patrick

Mr. Stephen F. Stumpf, Jr.

Dr. and Mrs. James F. Pierce

Mr. and Mrs. James L. Taylor

Mrs. Charles S. Reily, Jr.

Ms. Catherine Burns Tremaine

Jolie and Robert Shelton

Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Brent Wood


Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Sherrill

One of the most anticipated springtime events in New Orleans, Art in Bloom showcases spectacular floral designs created by over 100 exhibitors that remain on display at NOMA for five days, from March 15 – 19. This year’s theme, RHYTHM & BLOOMS, will bring together exhibitors from New Orleans and beyond to celebrate music and its role in New Orleans’ vibrant culture. Proceeds from Art in Bloom benefit education projects and exhibitions at NOMA and community projects of The Garden Study Club of New Orleans.


Ms. Debra B. Shriver Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Siegel

MARCH 15 | Patron and Preview Party

Mr. and Mrs. Lynes R. Sloss

Patron Party | 6 – 10 p.m.

Mr. and Mrs. Bruce L. Soltis

Preview Party | 7 – 10 p.m.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Steeg

MARCH 16 | Lectures and Luncheon

Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Taylor Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Thomas

9:30 a.m. | JAMES FARMER | NOMA James Farmer is a lifestyle expert, garden, floral and interior designer, and author of A Time to Plant, Sip & Savor, Porch Living, Wreaths For All Seasons, A Time To Cook, Dinner on the Grounds and A Time To Celebrate.


10:30 am | LAURA DOWLING | NOMA Laura Dowling is a floral designer, former White House Chief Florist, and author of Floral Diplomacy.

NOMA Egg Hunt 4 and Family Festival

12:30 p.m. | LUNCHEON | Pavilion of the Two Sisters MARCH 16 – 19 | Displays on view to the public

APRIL 1 | 10 AM –1 PM

CO-CHAIRS Quincy Crawford, Sarah Feirn

Please visit for more information.

Please visit for sponsorship and ticket information.





3 5



The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden provided a magical setting for an evening of dining and dancing at the 2016 LOVE in the Garden presented by Whitney Bank. It was the 13th year for this festive, casual party, which raises money for NOMA. Love co-chairs Penny Baumer, Jennifer Heebe and Shelby Sanderford led the merriment on September 23. They mingled under the stars with 1,400 guests, including LOVE artist honorees Skylar Fein, Josephine Sacabo, Elenora Rukiya Brown, Gene Koss, Ashley Longshore, Alexa Pulitzer. The musical backdrop was provided by Storyville Stompers Brass Band, MoJEAUX, and DJ Nikki Pennie. Guests sipped libations prepared by 10 of New Orleans’ top bartenders for the third-annual LOVE Cocktail Challenge presented by SKYY Vodka.



LOVE Artist honorees: Skylar Fein, Josephine Sacabo, Elenora Rukiya Brown, Gene Koss, Ashley Longshore, Alexa Pulitzer


Sydney Besthoff, Valerie Besthoff, Sydney Steiner, Walda Besthoff, Rodney Steiner, Jane Steiner, Rachel Steiner


Susan Taylor, Julie George, Suzanne Thomas


Clifton and Elizabeth LeBlanc, Sheila and Britton Sanderford


LOVE co-chairs: Jennifer Heebe, Shelby Sanderford, Penny Baumer

Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art








The 50th Odyssey presented by IBERIABANK took over the New Orleans Museum of Art on November 12. For a half century, this signature event has raised funds for NOMA to present world-class exhibitions and arts education. The 2016 co-chairs, Susu and Andrew Stall, marked the occasion with an elegant crowd that included 28 past Odyssey chairs. The setting was dramatic. NOMA’s Great Hall was transformed by beautiful lighting and



balloon décor created by Susan Zackin of Z Event Company – giving the effect of champagne bubbles. Patrons enjoyed delicious cuisine by 1718 Catering and Events, Hyatt Regency New Orleans; craft cocktails by The Grand Bevy, Los Angeles and champagne tastings. Guests danced to the sounds of DJ/violinst Timothee Lovelock, Gio, and Karma; The silent auction featured one-of-a-kind artwork, antiques, trips and more in celebration of this momentous occasion.


Past Odyssey Chairs


Timothee Lovelock and Susan Zackin


Carmen and Kelly Duncan, 2017 Odyssey co-chairs; Susu and Andrew Stall, 2016 Odyssey chairs


Daryl Byrd and Kara French Byrd, Kathy and Glen Wilson.

10 Donna Baus, Neel Fallis, Dot Weisler, Bently Graham, Deborah Fallis, Jack Sullivan 11

Dana Hansel, Karl Hoefer


Rupa and Tarun Jolly




Mike Siegel, President

Michael Smith

Sydney J. Besthoff III, Vice-President

Susu Stall

Stephanie Feoli, Vice-President

Frank Stewart

Suzanne Thomas, Vice-President

Melanee Gaudin Usdin

Elizabeth Monaghan, Secretary

Brent Wood

Janice Parmelee, Treasurer

The Honorable Mayor Mitch J. Landrieu

Rob Steeg, At-Large Lynes R. (Poco) Sloss, At-Large

Susan G. Guidry, New Orleans City Council Member

Julie Livaudais George, Immediate Past President

Lynda Warshauer, NVC Chairman

MEMBERS Herschel L. Abbott, Jr. Justin T. Augustine III Gayle M. Benson Eric Blue Elizabeth Boone Daryl Byrd Caroline Calhoun Scott Cowen Margo DuBos Penny Francis Adrea D. Heebe Juli Miller Hart Russ Herman Marshall Hevron Robert Hinckley David Kelso Dennis Lauscha Kenya LeNoir Messer Louis J. Lupin Cammie Mayer Brenda Moffitt Howard Osofsky J. Stephen Perry Thomas F. Reese James J. Reiss, Jr. Britton Sanderford Jolie Shelton Kitty Duncan Sherrill


NATIONAL TRUSTEES Joseph Baillio Mrs. Carmel (Babette) Cohen Mrs. Mason (Kim) Granger Jerry Heymann Herbert Kaufman, M.D.

The New Orleans Museum of Art is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art EDITOR

Chris Waddington ART DIRECTOR

Mary Degnan

Mrs. James (Cherye) Pierce Mrs. Billie Milam Weisman

HONOR ARY LIFE MEMBERS H. Russell Albright, MD Mrs. Edgar L. Chase Jr. Prescott N. Dunbar

Arts Quarterly (ISSN 0740-9214) is published by the New Orleans Museum of Art, 1 Collins Diboll Circle, New Orleans, LA 70124 © 2017, New Orleans Museum of Art. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or reprinted without permission of the publisher.

S. Stewart Farnet Sandra Draughn Freeman Kurt A. Gitter, MD

Facing page The 50th Odyssey Ball, November 12, 2016

Mrs. Erik Johnsen Richard W. Levy, MD Mr. J. Thomas Lewis

Back cover Bunshū, Sessai; Hōryū, Shōsensai, Birds and Flowers (detail), mid 19th century, Ink and color on silk, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Barnett, 77.85

Mrs. Paula L. Maher Mrs. J. Frederick Muller Mrs. Robert Nims Mrs. Charles S. Reily Jr. R. Randolph Richmond Jr. Mrs. Frederick M. Stafford Harry C. Stahel Mrs. Harold H. Stream Mrs. James L. Taylor Mrs. John N. Weinstock

Arts Quarterly New Orleans Museum of Art


Arts Quarterly

P.O. Box 19123 New Orleans, LA 70179-0123 Follow us!

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