Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost Highways

During a January trip to the studios of Jerry Uelsman and Maggie Taylor, the Ogden Museum's Cheif Preparator, Richard McCabe and Collections Manager, Bradley Sumrall, took the back roads of northern Florida to Gainesville. Once main routes to all points South, these forgotten highways are loaded with great old signs, bleached and weathered, some reclaimed by nature, some still advertising the last of the old motels. Richard McCabe shot the two above with a vintage Dianna. Bradley Sumrall captured the ones below with an Argoflex 75.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Flowing River in Dixie

As noted in an earlier entry, the Ogden Museum was recently gifted a magnificent painting, Flowing River, by Louisiana folk artist, Clementine Hunter. The 1950 painting is 93 x 28 inches, making it one of the largest known works by this highly regarded artist. In the vintage image of Francois Mignon above, one can glimpse the work above his desk in the Yucca House on Melrose Plantation. This image was found by Tom Whitehead in an October 1957 issue of Dixie Magazine, a now all but forgotten Sunday insert of the Times Picayune. Mr. Whitehead is an author, scholar, collector and friend of the late Clementine Hunter. As an undergraduate at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches from 1964 until 1967, he met Clementine, developed a friendship with her, and began collecting her work. Today his is one of the more important Hunter collections in the world, and he is widely recognized as a leading scholar on Hunter, her works, and the community of Cane River. He was instrumental in establishing the Cane River Creole National Historical Park and the Cane River National Heritage Area in the 1990s. He co-authored, with Art Shiver, Clementine Hunter: The Africa House Murals in 2005, and is currently working with Mr. Shiver on a biography of the artist.

Artist and Sense of Place: Natalie Keller Barnes

Now in its eighth year, the Ogden's educational program, Artists and Sense of Place, brings together children from New Orleans area schools with local artists. Eudora Welty is often credited for first turning the phrase "sense of place," and it is in that rich Southern context in mind that the program was titled. Under the direction of our Education Coordinator, Kate Barron, and with the help of docent Ellen Barkin, the students are paired with artists to explore, through art, the influence of situation and geography on their lives. The second artist-in-residence of the 2008 - 2009 cycle was local artist, Natalie Keller Barnes. To read more about Barnes' project with the kids from Maggiore Elementary in Kenner, please visit the February issue of New Orleans Magazine at Photo by Cheryl Gerber.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tom Young: Painter, Teacher, Fighter Pilot

On August 4, 2008 (just before his 84th birthday), the Ogden Museum opened an exhibition of the works of Tom Young. That night, Tom and his wife, Caroline, were in attendance. Tom is a great storyteller with a wealth of experience to draw from. In WWII, Tom served as a fighter pilot for the Army Air Force. After the war, he became involved in the abstract expressionist movement of 1950's New York. As founding member of the important 10th Street artist's cooperative gallery, between 1953 and 1969 Tom was closely associated with artists such as Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Paul Georges, Roy Lichtenstein, and David Amram. As artist-in-residence at the University of Mississippi in 1960 and 1961, he met a young William Eggleston, becoming a great influence on the development of Eggleston's style. Tom has been department head at Auburn University, and developed the M.F.A. program at the University of New Orleans, of which his student, Margaret Evangeline, was the first graduate. Tom and his wife, Caroline, still live in the New Orleans area. The photo at the top, taken by Bradley Sumrall, shows him in front of his large untitled abstract painting from 1970 as featured in the Ogden exhibition. Below is an image of Tom in his Metairie home taken by David Houston.