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And Many More
NOMA Celebrates 100th Birthday By Showing Off Dozens of New Finds
What do you get for the art museum that has everything? How about a human bone dagger from Papua New Guinea? Or perhaps a Native American Octopus Bag? Both of these gifts, along with plenty of other treasures, were recently donated in celebration of the New Orleans Museum of Art’s 100th birthday.
NOMA opened its doors to the New Orleans as the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art public on December 16, 1911. To commemorate the museum’s centennial, Director Emeritus John Bullard and NOMA trustee Anne Milling set out on a five-year project to accrue new acquisitions for the museum's permanent collection. The current exhibition, NOMA 100: Gifts for the Second Century, provides a look at 110 of the newly acquired pieces. NOMA 100 is an exhibition intended to reaffirm the museum’s commitment to collecting and to highlight the of the museum’s benefactors.
The City Park stalwart's reputation has long been built on its collection of European art, and the recent acquisitions bolster that aspect of the museum’s holdings. NOMA 100 includes pieces from a collection of 100 soft-paste porcelain from France’s Sèvres factory, drawings by Degas, and an engraving by Albrecht Dürer. Other acquisitions come from all corners of the globe, including Pre-Columbian and Native American art, along with African and Oceanic art. Three new sculptures represent some of the museum’s first holdings of art from ancient Egypt.
In addition to these global treasures, NOMA also keeps it local, displaying gifts like an architectural photograph from WPA-era artist Walker Evans and a 1912 photograph from Ernest J. Bellocq, an artist famous for his depictions of Storyville prostitutes. Other photography acquisitions in NOMA 100 include 18 photographs from Robert Polidori’s After the Flood series, a series of post-flood images of New Orleans originally shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York shortly after the storm.
The gifts that contribute most to an expansion of the scope of NOMA’s collection are gifts of contemporary art, an area that the museum has been focusing on in recent years. The exhibition includes works by Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, and Richard Serra. A new oversized Warhol is on display, along with NOMA’s first painting by Frank Stella.
Five new additions are outside of the museum’s walls in NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden, including Auguste Rodin’s Monumental Head of Jean d’Aire. Also in the sculpture garden is an untitled work from Anish Kapoor, perhaps best known for the shiny bean-shaped sculpture Giant Cloud in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
As an exhibition, the collection can seem a little disparate, but the wall text throughout the galleries is helpful in explaining specific genres and pieces as viewers stroll through hundreds of years of art history. In all, NOMA 100 represents a collection that promises to keep the museum vital to the city for at least another century.
For NOMA, the centennial celebration isn't only about showing off their new stuff. On Dec. 16 and 17, the museum will host a free, 31-hour party to celebrate their birthday. The marathon party will include music by the likes of Irvin Mayfield, Amanda Shaw, Quintron (DJ set), Roots of Music and others. Plenty of art Museum tours, art-making activities and comedy by the New Movement is also lined up for the bash. The shindig starts at the normal Where Y'art time of 5 p.m., and just keeps going.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Michael Weber, B.A.
Assistant Managing Editor
B. E. Mintz
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