With so much to do in New Orleans, don’t forget that the city’s art scene is just as vibrant as the food and music. Fall brings exciting exhibit openings at various museums. Check out the highlighted exhibits below and search our calendar to find even more art in New Orleans.
Ralph Eugene Meatyard was a visionary photographer known for his dreamlike black & white photographs of family members in masks, elegant portraits of bohemian friends and radical experiments in abstraction. Meatyard’s unique visual language was the product of a naturally curious mind stimulated by a love of literature and the spoken word. His shadowy photographs – often featuring dark dilapidated locales populated by enigmatic characters – have drawn comparisons to Southern Gothic literature. The Photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard opens at Ogden Museum of Southern Art on October 1 and will be on view through January 23, 2023.
SEEING BLACK is a multimedia, research-based project chronicling and celebrating the history, influence, performative aesthetic, and futurity of Black photography in New Orleans. From photography's pre-Civil War beginnings to its 21st-century practices, SEEING BLACK engages the intellectual inquiry, cultural histories, political positioning, and innovative versatility of historical and contemporary Black photography. First Frame, the preludial exhibition for SEEING BLACK: Black Photography in New Orleans 1840 & Beyond, is an immersive installation centering the photography of Florestine Perrault Collins, the first documented Black woman photographer in New Orleans, and work by early Black photographers documenting Black life, self-expression, political struggles, and social achievement through the camera. Catch it at the New Orleans African American Museum from October 6 to June 4, 2023.
In a stunning exhibit spanning centuries, the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Called to the Camera reframes the history of American photography by placing Black photographers and subjects at the center of that story, arguing for a reconsideration of how historians and institutions evaluate and display photography. This exhibition brings together over 250 photographs, many of them unique objects, from the nineteenth century to the present. Celebrating famous portrait photographers such as James Presley Ball, James Van Der Zee, and Addison Scurlock, it additionally brings attention to more than two dozen other photographers. This exhibit opened on September 16 and will remain on view until January 8, 2023.
A bilingual exhibition opening at The Historic New Orleans Collection on October 20, Spanish New Orleans and the Caribbean explores the city’s four decades under Spanish rule (1762–1803). Despite numerous challenges, Spanish New Orleans morphed from a poorly managed outpost on the edge of an empire to a highly urbanized colonial capital—one enriched by the racial and cultural diversity for which it is celebrated today. This exhibit will remain on view until January 22, 2023.