Gallery hopping in Louisiana – fine art in every corner
Treasures ranging from paintings by Old Masters to the latest works by rising contemporary artists fill galleries around the state.
Art in all of its splendid variety is on display in museums throughout Louisiana, many of which spice up their collections with artists’ talks and programs for children.
Art-lovers visiting New Orleans have a number of venues from which to choose. The New Orleans Museum of Art, nestled in beautiful City Park, has a collection of more than 40,000 objects spanning 4,000 years. Highlights include a rich collection of Mayan and American arts and examples of the Newcomb College School of Pottery as well as works by Warhol, Renoir, Monet and Gaugain. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, in the city’s trendy Arts District downtown, concentrates on Southern art from the late 18th century to the 21st century.
Nearby is the unique Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, which features frequently exchanging exhibits as well as plays, films and concerts. In the French Quarter, the Louisiana State Museum’s painting, photographs and decorative arts treasures fill several buildings and include a collection of Carnival artistry.
In northern Louisiana, Shreveport is home to the Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College and the R.W. Norton Art Gallery. The Meadows features hundreds of paintings and watercolors by Jean Despujols depicting the minority peoples of Cambodia and Laos. The Norton is noted for its collection of works by Western artist Frederic Remington, as well as rare and antique books, including Audubon folios.
The Masur Museum of Art in Monroe is the largest visual art museum in northeast Louisiana, with a collection that includes works by New Orleans artists Ida Kohlmeyer and George Rodrigue. The museum mounts six exhibits a year, each featuring a different media and time period.
The Alexandria Museum of Art is housed in an 1898 bank building, with a contrasting modern wing added 100 years later. Although the museum boasts the state’s largest collection of north Louisiana folk art, it is making a move toward exhibiting more contemporary works. The 2011-2012 season will feature an exhibit of works by Gulf Coast artist Walter Anderson.
The stunning Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge, which offers panoramic views of the Mississippi River, contains the Louisiana State University Museum of Art. Here you find portraits by such greats as Gainsborough, Hogarth and Peale, as well as 20th century works by Diego Rivera and Clementine Hunter.
The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, a division of the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, mounts exciting exhibitions of works generally not seen in the area, such as Cuban art, Japanese prints and turned-wood art. In 2012 the focus will be on Louisiana artists.