George Dunbar: Elements of Chance is a limited-edition retrospective created in collaboration with George Dunbar, which contains an in-depth interview with the artist by Susan M. Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director, and an essay that contextualizes Dunbar’s work within the rich history of 20th-century American art by Katie A. Pfohl, NOMA’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.
A Louisiana native, Dunbar studied in Philadelphia and New York before returning to Louisiana in the 1950s to create paintings, sculptures, assemblages, and prints that marry the stark geometry of modern art with the lush, elemental materials that call forth the region’s distinctive local landscape. Dunbar’s richly textured works explore abstract art’s connection to landscape and place, and his unique vision for abstraction highlights Louisiana’s pivotal—if widely underestimated—role in the broader story of 20th century American art. Through his work as an artist, as well as his role as a founder of Orleans Gallery, New Orleans’ first artist-owned and operated collective art gallery, Dunbar helped create a culture and context for contemporary art in the city. He introduced the city to vanguard new ideas, embracing elements of chance in his art making in ways that were brand new for the city at the time, and continue to shape contemporary art in New Orleans today.