Past Exhibitions

Atomic Number Thirteen: Aluminum in 20th-Century Design

ended on April 17th, 2022

When chemists first successfully extracted aluminum from the earth in the mid-19th century, the raw element was as precious as gold. Today we take this ubiquitous material for granted, though aluminum allows for nearly every facet of modern life through its use in architecture, industry, and flight. This exhibition, drawn from NOMA’s permanent collection, explores the changing role of aluminum in twentieth-century design. Read More

Ishimoto Yasuhiro: Centennial Selections

ended on March 20th, 2022

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ishimoto Yasuhiro (Japanese, born United States, 1921–2012), NOMA presents a selection of works from its collection that reveals the artist’s capacity for capturing humanity with both empathy and detachment, as well as his playful sense of humor and skill as a picture-maker. Read More

An aerial photograph shows New Orleans and the Northshore following the opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway. Land is represented in red and water is represented in blue.

A Brief History of Photography and Transmission

ended on March 20th, 2022

While it may seem that the story of photography traces an inevitable arc from a unique material experience toward an infinitely reproducible phenomenon, it could be argued that one of the most important “histories” of photography is the history of deliberate efforts to improve how a photograph gets from “here” to “there.” While the stresses and realities of the present moment make the topic more relevant than ever, the portability of a photographic object or the transmission of its image has occupied the thoughts of photographic inventors, artists, and publishers throughout the past two hundred years. Read More

Dawn DeDeaux: The Space Between Worlds

ended on January 23rd, 2022

Dawn DeDeaux: The Space Between Worlds is the first comprehensive museum exhibition for the pioneering multimedia artist Dawn DeDeaux. Since the 1970s, DeDeaux’s practice has spanned video, performance, photography, and installation to create art that exists at the edge of the Anthropocene. Anticipating a future imperiled by the runaway population growth, breakneck industrial development, and the looming threat of climate change, DeDeaux has long worked between worlds of the present and the future. Read More

Orientalism: Taking and Making

ended on January 2nd, 2022

Drawn from NOMA’s permanent collection, this installation addresses shades of oppression, racism, and superficial cultural understanding layered in 19th-century Orientalist paintings, photographs, and decorative arts. Read More

Rural Occupations: Images of Work in Edo-Period Art

ended on November 28th, 2021

Lively and engaging images of urban and rural workers populate the works of art created during the Edo and Meiji periods on view in this exhibition. In idealized scenes created to confirm governmental authority and societal stability, as well as in closely observed records of individuals undertaking specific tasks, the lives and labors of workers in pre-modern Japan are the focus of the artists’ attention. Read More

A person stands in the museum Great Hall listening to an audio installation

Marta Rodriguez Maleck: Morir es Vivir

ended on October 3rd, 2021

Morir es Vivir (To Die is to Live) is a sound and light installation that weaves together voices from across the New Orleans community. The audio collage, presented in NOMA’s Great Hall, is the result of a series of conversations in which New Orleans-based artist Marta Rodriguez Maleck held space for people who wanted to express their grief and loss, contemplate mortality and rebirth, and explore the potential for healing and hope. Read More

New Photography: Create, Collect, Compile

ended on June 6th, 2021

Over the past two decades, the ways in which we create, collect, and compile photographs have shifted dramatically. In broad strokes, we might define this shift as away from photographs as singular, iconic, and private objects to a ubiquitous, public, and collective phenomenon that is now often immaterial. This exhibition presents the work of four photographers, all of whom work with, and critique, these new practices in photography. Unified by their understanding of the photograph as an ambiguous messenger, each of these artists creates, collects, or compiles photographs to trace narratives about identity, community, and power. Read More

Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon: Masterworks from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection at Asia Society

ended on May 31st, 2021

Nearly seventy of the finest examples of Asian art in the United States, collected by John D. Rockeller 3rd and his wife Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller between the 1940s and ’70s, will be showcased in an exhibition on loan from the Asia Society Museum. The extraordinary range of bronzes, ceramics, and metalwork reveals great achievements in Asian art spanning more than two millennia. Read More

Roberto Lugo: “Stunting” Garniture Set

ended on April 11th, 2021

In 2019, the New Orleans Museum of Art commissioned Philadelphia-based artist Roberto Lugo to create “Stunting,” a set of three ceramic pots inspired by NOMA’s traditional collection. Best known for cultural mash-ups that blend contemporary social issues with traditional porcelain pottery, Lugo’s powerful commentary on poverty, inequality, and racial injustice has made him a defining artist for our moment. Read More

Mending the Sky

ended on January 31st, 2021

Mending the Sky brings together eleven artist projects that envision our world after disaster. The exhibition takes its title from a Chinese fable in which a rip in the sky causes the earth to split open, bringing floods, fires, famine, and disease—until a goddess takes on the arduous task of mending the broken sky. Read More

Torkwase Dyson: Black Compositional Thought | 15 Paintings for the Plantationocene

ended on January 10th, 2021

Produced for the New Orleans Museum of Art, this new series of fifteen paintings by Torkwase Dyson are inspired by the design systems of architecture, water infrastructure, the oil and gas industry, and the physical impact of global warming. The exhibition also examines the legacy of plantation economies and their relationship to the environmental and infrastructural issues of our current age, which many characterize as the “plantationocene.” Read More

Alia Ali: FLUX

ended on November 15th, 2020

Yemeni-Bosnian artist Alia Ali explores cultures at geographic crossroads. Her work considers how politics, economics and histories collide in fabric patterns and techniques, showing how fabric both unites and divides us. Focusing on wax print fabric—a form with roots in Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Javanese, Dutch and African traditions—FLUX captures the way textiles move and migrate across different cultures. Read More

Tina Freeman: Lamentations

ended on October 11th, 2020

Over the past seven years, Tina Freeman has photographed the wetlands of Louisiana and the glacial landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctica. In Lamentations, Freeman pairs images from these disparate regions in a series of diptychs that function as stories about climate change, ecological balance, and the connectedness of disparate landscapes across time and space. Read More

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend

ended on March 15th, 2020

Born of resourcefulness and enlivened by improvisation, quilts made by African American women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, are recognized as masterful works of textile art. Read More

An Ideal Unity: The Bauhaus & Beyond

ended on March 15th, 2020

This selection of works from NOMA’s permanent collection will celebrate the centennial of the founding of the Bauhaus, the world-renowned school in Weimar-era Germany that endeavored to unify art, architecture, craft, and design. Including diverse media by Bauhaus teachers and students, this exhibition will show the breadth of the Bauhaus’ influence and its role as one of the most pivotal movements in modern design. Read More

Upcoming Exhibitions

Picture Man: Portraits by Polo Silk

on view starting July 16th, 2022

For more than three decades, Selwhyn Sthaddeus “Polo Silk” Terrell (American, born 1964) has been photographing Black New Orleans, creating a unique body of work that blends elements of portraiture, fashion, performance, and street photography. This exhibition explores how Polo Silk successfully blends all of those elements, while illustrating his role as an important part of photographic history. Read More

Louise Bourgeois: Paintings

on view starting September 9th, 2022

Louise Bourgeois: Paintings is the first comprehensive exhibition of paintings produced by the iconic French-American artist Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) between her arrival in New York in 1938 and her turn to sculpture in the late 1940s. Read More

Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers

on view starting September 16th, 2022

From photography’s beginnings in the United States, Black studio photographers operated on the developing edge of photographic media to produce beautiful portraits for their clients, while also making a variety of other photographic work in keeping with important movements like pictorialism, modernism, and abstraction. Called to the Camera illustrates the artistic virtuosity, social significance, and political impact of African American photographers working in commercial portrait studios during photography’s first century. Read More

Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club

on view starting February 10th, 2023

Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club explores the connection between African American artist Jacob Lawrence and his contemporaries based in the Global South through the Nigerian publication Black Orpheus. The exhibition features over 125 objects, including Lawrence’s little-known 1964–65 Nigeria series, works by the artists featured in Black Orpheus, archival images, videos, and letters. Read More


Current Exhibitions

Stela of Nakhi, “Servant in the Place of Truth”, Offering to Osiris and Anubis

Queen Nefertari’s Egypt

on view through July 17th, 2022

Queen Nefertari’s Egypt brings to life the role of Nefertari and other powerful women in ancient Egypt through 230 exceptional objects, including statues, jewelry, vases, papyrus, steles, wooden coffins, and stone sarcophagi, as well as tools and various items of daily life from the artisan village of Deir-el-Medina, home to those who created the royal tombs. Read More


Exhibition Videos

Video: Egyptian Blue

Until the development of Egyptian blue—the first known synthetic pigment—ancient artisans would have used lapis lazuli from modern-day Afghanistan to produce blue pigment. Objects Conservator Ingrid Seyb gives a quick history of Egyptian blue and looks at a piece of this historic pigment that is on view in Queen Nefertari’s Egypt. Read More