NEW ORLEANS MUSEUM OF ART ANNOUNCES MAJOR EXHIBITIONS FOR 2024
Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined
Sand, Ash, Heat: Glass at the New Orleans Museum of Art
Show and Tell: A Brief History of Photography and Text
Rebellious Spirits: Prohibition and Resistance in the South
Photographs by Carla J. Williams
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) announces its major exhibitions for 2024, showcasing NOMA’s curatorial scholarship and highlighting the museum’s exceptional collection across genres and disciplines.
This January, NOMA will present the retrospective Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined, following its debut at the New Museum, New York. Intertwined examines the Kenyan-American artist’s multidisciplinary practice, tracing Mutu’s decades-long exploration of the legacies of colonialism, globalization, and African and Diasporic cultural traditions. Several of Mutu’s works from the exhibition will be installed in NOMA’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden and in the garden’s indoor pavilion, where they will be complemented by Mutu sculptures permanently sited there.
This summer, the museum will present Sand, Ash, Heat: Glass at the New Orleans Museum of Art, which looks at the more than 4,000-year history of glass around the world and how it intersects with scientific discoveries, foodways, and artistic innovations.
Rebellious Spirits: Prohibition and Resistance in the South examines the region’s relationship with alcohol after the passage of the 18th Amendment. Show and Tell: A Brief History of Photography and Text reveals how photographic images and written language have been interconnected from the birth of photography to the present day. Additionally, an exhibition of photographs by Carla J. Williams features a selection of her works from the 1980s and ’90s.
“The depth and breadth of this year’s program reflects NOMA’s mission to bring internationally renowned exhibitions to New Orleans and present new ideas and scholarship with exhibitions developed by our curators,” said Susan Taylor, Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art. “From ancient works to contemporary commissions, this complement of exhibitions sheds new light on human creativity, ingenuity, and artistic achievement across time periods and cultures. I want to thank our donors, partners, staff, and the greater New Orleans community, without whom this work would not be possible.”
- Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined (January 31–July 14, 2024)
The New Orleans Museum of Art presents a major solo exhibition of work by Wangechi Mutu, bringing together nearly 100 sculptures, paintings, collages, drawings, and films to present the breadth of the Kenyan-American artist’s multidisciplinary practice from the mid-1990s to today. Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined traces connections between recent developments in Mutu’s practice and her decades-long exploration of the legacies of colonialism, globalization, and African and Diasporic cultural traditions. Several pieces in the exhibition will be installed in the museum’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, giving new perspectives on these works. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden also features two large-scale bronze works by Wangechi Mutu in the museum’s collection and on permanent display. The exhibition travels to NOMA from the New Museum, New York.
- Rebellious Spirits: Prohibition and Resistance in the South (March 1, 2024–January 5, 2025)
Rebellious Spirits: Prohibition and Resistance in the South explores the methods by which the South, in particular New Orleans, dealt with the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States. With over a dozen works drawn from NOMA’s permanent collection alongside historical ephemera, documents, advertisements, and glassware on loan from local institutions, the exhibition sheds light on the traditions in design and culture that were altered during this tumultuous period of history. These objects reveal a story of resilience and invention as Americans improvised methods to continue the production, distribution, and enjoyment of illicit spirits.
- Show and Tell: A Brief History of Photography and Text (March 29–September 29, 2024)
Show and Tell illustrates the many ways in which photographic images and written language have been interconnected from the first decades of photography to the present day. Drawing from NOMA’s permanent collection, Show and Tell will illuminate the ways that photographers have used their craft to represent the written word. The exhibition will include a range of processes and formats, from an early talbotype demonstration made in 1848 to born-digital photographs manipulated into contemporary memes. Visitors are invited to consider how photographs and language can deepen our understanding of the world and, conversely, how the visual and verbal can be used to spread misinformation. As part of NOMA’s “Brief Histories of Photography” series, Show and Tell encourages visitors to think critically about the photography they encounter in their everyday lives. Artists include Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Roy DeCarava, Francis Frith, Thomas Augustine Malone, Gordon Parks, Aaron Siskind, and Hank Willis Thomas.
- Sand, Ash, Heat: Glass at the New Orleans Museum of Art (August 30, 2024–February 10, 2025)
Sand, Ash, Heat: Glass at the New Orleans Museum of Art explores how this material has inspired innovation in the arts and science from ancient civilizations to today. Featuring an expansive range of work drawn from NOMA’s exceptional glass collection, the exhibition will connect works throughout the museum and Besthoff Sculpture Garden, showcasing the many forms and artistry of glass work from Egyptian pieces to contemporary works, including a new major acquisition by Fred Wilson and commissions from Sharif Bey. The exhibition presents a variety of perspectives on how glass is connected to histories of scientific discovery, foodways, and artistic innovation, and the accompanying catalogue highlights the perspectives of a glass artist, a laboratory scientist, a member of New Orleans’ tradition of Black Masking Indians, and a sculpture conservator, alongside those of historians and curators.
- Photographs by Carla J. Williams (Fall 2024)
In the fall of 2024, the New Orleans Museum of Art will present a solo exhibition by photographer Carla J. Williams, whose volume Tender was recently awarded a 2023 PhotoBook Award by Aperture. The presentation at NOMA will include a selection of vintage photographs from that body of work, made between 1984 and 1999. Williams’ exhibition at NOMA will be the first time many of these photographs will be displayed in a museum setting and in Williams’ home city. Primarily self-portraits, these photographs demonstrate the artist’s engagement with a range of historically popular genres, including pin-up photography, as well as her unique approach to making a picture. While foregrounding Williams’ sensitive eye, the exhibition will also illustrate her lifelong exploration of both the materiality and visual impact of photography throughout its history.
The following exhibitions remain on view at NOMA into early 2024:
- Debbie Fleming Caffery: In Light of Everything (through March 3), the first career retrospective of the artist includes nearly 100 black and white photographs drawn from various series of works she has developed over the last 50 years.
- Ring Redux: The Susan Grant Lewin Collection (through February 4), an exhibition of avant-garde rings by artists who have reinvented this jewelry form with a distinctly contemporary experimental craft.
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 40 European masterpieces from the collection of the city’s namesake, Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans), East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth Century American Landscape Photography, Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories (seven contemporary art projects focusing on reimagining stories from the city’s past), and Ancestors of Congo Square: African Art in the New Orleans Museum of Art.
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.
Charlie Tatum, Director of Marketing and Communications
New Orleans Museum of Art