The New Orleans Museum of Art Appoints Orlando Hernández Ying as Lapis Curator of the Arts of the Americas

The New Orleans Museum of Art Appoints Orlando Hernández Ying as Lapis Curator of the Arts of the Americas

This new position is NOMA’s first curatorial role dedicated to the study and presentation of North, Central, and South American art.

Hernández Ying’s research focuses on the art of the Ancient Americas and the Spanish colonial era, as well as modern and contemporary work.

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) has announced the appointment of Orlando Hernández Ying as the museum’s Lapis Curator of the Arts of the Americas. This is the first permanent curatorial role at the museum dedicated to an expanded look at the arts of North, Central, and South America. Hernández Ying began the position in February 2024, and in the coming years, he will have a major role in the full reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection of American art spanning from prehistory to present day.

“With this post, the museum inaugurates a new curatorial role dedicated to the research, care, and presentation of Latin American art across time within the broader banner of the arts of the Americas,” said Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. “Hernández Ying has distinguished himself as an expansive thinker and rigorous curator within the field, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to New Orleans as NOMA’s first Lapis Curator of the Arts of the Americas.”

Hérnandez Ying comes to NOMA from the Hispanic Society Museum and Library, New York, where he was a Curatorial Associate (2022–24), National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and Rockefeller Curatorial Fellow (2021–22), and Curatorial Intern (2006–10). A native of Panama, Hernández Ying was the head curator of the Museo Antropológico Reina Torres de Araúz (MARTA) and held the position of National Coordinator of Museums in Panama, where he coordinated a country-wide master plan of 18 museums. 

Hernández Ying has worked on projects with the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Dallas Art Museum; the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; and the Historic New Orleans Collection, where he was a guest curator in 2010–11 and organized the exhibition The Golden Legend in the New World: Colonial Art of the Spanish American Viceroyalties, which drew in part from NOMA’s Spanish viceregal collection.

Hernández Ying has taught at New York University, City University of New York, Tulane University, and the National University of Panama. He holds a PhD in Art History & Criticism from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and an MA in Museum Studies from New York University.

“I am glad to be back in this historically rich city and state. I look forward to digging deeper into its interconnected multi-cultural artistic roots: Native American, Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, French, Asian, and many others,” said Hernández Ying. “I am very grateful for the trust that has been given to me in this curatorial role and to New Orleans for receiving me with open arms once again. Coming back via NOMA reminds me of a quote by St. Teresa of Avila: ‘Trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.’”

Hernández Ying’s areas of research include the dissemination of metallurgy throughout the Americas before the conquest; art in the Spanish American viceroyalties, when artists blended Indigenous and European styles to create their own visual languages; and modern and contemporary Latin American art within and beyond US borders.

The first major project during Hernández Ying’s time at NOMA will be the permanent installation of the museum’s Art of the Americas collection, taking an expansive look at how museums define “American art” across time and culture. The new galleries will open over the course of several years—beginning in 2025—and present Mesoamerican and Indigenous art alongside painting and sculpture from the colonial era through the 21st century. This project is supported by a grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

“This new curatorial role provides a unique opportunity to think beyond traditional museum categories and consider the arts of North, Central, and South America as a dynamic collection of interrelated histories,” said Lisa Rotondo-McCord, Deputy Director at NOMA. “Hernández Ying’s appointment offers an important opportunity to present and re-interpret these important areas of NOMA’s permanent collection to tell a more inclusive story that considers Precolumbian and Indigenous art as integral parts of American visual culture.”


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New Orleans Museum of Art

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New Orleans Museum of Art


About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and its Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden are home to innovative exhibitions, installations, educational programs, and research. Exploring human creativity across time, cultures, and disciplines, the global scope of the museum’s initiatives open a vibrant dialogue with the history and culture of New Orleans. The museum stewards a collection of nearly 50,000 works, with exceptional holdings in African art, photography, decorative arts, and Japanese art, as well as strengths in American and French art, and an expanding collection highlighting contemporary artists. The museum’s exhibitions and dynamic learning and engagement offerings serve as a forum for visitors to engage with diverse perspectives, share cultural experiences, and foster a life of learning at all ages. Recent exhibitions include Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club, Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers, The Orléans Collection (an exhibition of forty European masterpieces from the collection of the city’s namesake, Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans), East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth Century America Landscape Photography, and Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories (seven contemporary art projects focusing on reimagining stories from the city’s past).

NOMA’s 12-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden expands visitors’ experiences of the museum with one of the most notable sculpture gardens in the country. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden, free and open to the public seven days a week, has nearly 100 sculptures and outdoor works of art situated in a unique landscape featuring Spanish moss-laden live oaks and a sinuous lagoon surrounded by an expansive ecosystem of native plants. The works in the garden range from the 19th to the 21st centuries, with pieces by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Louise Bourgeois, Ida Kohlmeyer, Claes Oldenburg, Sean Scully, Maya Lin, Do Ho Suh, Ugo Rondinone, Wangechi Mutu, Hank Willis Thomas, and many others. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden features contemporary design elements—including a sculpture pavilion, an amphitheater, and an architecturally significant canal link bridge connecting the garden’s original 2003 footprint with a 2019 expansion. Its water management practices support the health and resiliency of New Orleans City Park and the surrounding environment. Throughout the year, NOMA hosts outdoor programs in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden including festivals, performances, wellness classes, tours, and more.