Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art – Extended!

There’s no doubt that if George Rodrigue were here today, he would have painted for his current exhibition at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art.  We talked about it some fifteen years ago as we watched the museum under construction, and again as we attended its opening exhibitions.  He dreamed of showing his work in this contemporary jewel-box space, while at the same time, in typical George-fashion, forbade me from submitting a request.  (“Asking a museum for a show is the kiss of death,” he often said.)

-click photos throughout to enlarge-
Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, OOMA’s reflective metal pods sprout between massive ancient oaks in an unlikely place- overlooking the beautiful white-sand beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  The museum is a tribute to George Ohr (1857-1918), the self-proclaimed ‘Mad Potter of Biloxi,’ and a forerunner of contemporary art through his distinctive art pottery, on view within the permanent collection.


Two years ago, as George predicted, the museum proposed a Rodrigue exhibition.  However, without him here to create and design, the challenge was immense. How do we best present Rodrigue within this ultra-contemporary, high-ceilinged, single room space?  How do we surprise an audience just ninety miles from New Orleans that thinks they’ve seen it all?
In the past, most Rodrigue museum exhibitions have been retrospectives, from Cajuns to Blue Dogs, spanning forty-five years of paintings and sculpture.  It was clear from the beginning that this type of exhibition was incongruous with not only this atypical Gehry space, but also with George Rodrigue’s lifelong artistic rebellion.

As has happened repeatedly since losing George in 2013, we found the solution within his art.  Rodrigue’s Blue Dog:  Discovering Late Works on Canvas and Metal features twenty-five original artworks, many from the last year of George’s life and never before on public view.  Enjoy a glimpse of the exhibition in this short video for WLOX-TV Gulf Coast Weekend-
Also, a new interview, recorded live from the museum, with NPR for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, beginning at 18:19, linked here-
http://www.mpbonline.org/blogs/mississippiedition/mississippi-edition-monday-july-30th/


With more than twice the museum’s previous attendance, the Rodrigue exhibition is a showstopper!  Originally set to close August 15th, I’m thrilled to announce its extension, due to popular demand, through October 6, 2018.  
In addition, please join me at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art for a special encore Gallery Talk on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 3:30 p.m.  Surrounded by these extraordinary late Rodrigue paintings, I'll share personal stories and insights from my wondrous journey with George.  A book signing follows, featuring The Other Side of the Painting (UL Press).

I also look forward to visiting Biloxi for education outreach in partnership with the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art and the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, September 11-13.  For information, please contact OOMA’s Education Director, Pamela Cevallos, at 228-374-5547, ext. 108 or education@georgeohr.org
Finally, none of this would have happened without the dedicated, enthusiastic OOMA staff, lead by Director Kevin O'Brien, nor without the passion and hard work of everyone associated with Rodrigue Studios, especially our Curator of Exhibitions, Dana Holland-Beickert of Memphis, Tennessee.  With tremendous thanks to all of you, on behalf of myself, everyone who experiences this exceptional and unprecedented installation, and above all, the brave, creative genius, George Rodrigue.
"If you try to paint to please a public or a critic, you'll never create anything lasting, anything new, or anything purely your own." -G.R.
Wendy
-pictured above:  George Rodrigue with The Last Puzzle Piece; Carmel, California, 2013-
-learn more and purchase the OOMA exhibition poster ($50) at the ALL-NEW George Rodrigue website!  Linked here-
-for a related post, see "Remembering Old Biloxi," linked here-
-please join me in September for these events:
9/8, 3;30 p.m.  Gallery Talk and Book Signing, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, 386 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, MS, Tel 228.374.5547  FREE  Learn more here-
9/10, 5:30 p.m.  George Rodrigue Life & Legacy Presentation with Book Signing, Neal Auction Company, 4038 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA, FREE.  Seating is limited. RSVP fineart@nealauction.com  Learn more here-
-plus, Louisiana Children's Museum date, time, and details coming soon.
-OOMA video by Corey Hudson; most photographs by Douglas Magnus-


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4 comments:

  1. Hi Wendy, the exhibition: Rodrigue’s Blue Dog: Discovering Late Works on Canvas and Metal at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art is absolutely stunning and breath-taking! I was in Biloxi on June 23 from Baton Rouge and took the entire family to see it. I didn't want to leave. I loved all of the works and the beautiful colors came alive on the walls. I will see you soon.

    Renee' Bourgeois
    LSU Museum of Art

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    1. Well thank you, Reneé! This makes me truly happy that you and your family enjoyed this extremely special exhibition of George's late works. We both often fondly recalled the 2011 Rodrigue exhibition at the LSU Museum of Art, and I'm delighted with Courtney Taylor's plans to highlight George's early landscapes this fall at your beautiful facility. I look forward to spending lots of time in Baton Rouge in the coming months. And it will be so nice to see you again! Wendy

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  2. I represent the Sand Springs Small Business Coalition and my name is Joni Sporleder. We in Sand Springs are truly excited about "Blue Dog" coming to our hometown during the Holiday season this year! We have been fundraising, sling tickets for a chance to win a print of Blue Dog, hosting Art in the Park for the children of Sand Springs among other things to to raise the money that it will take to bring your wonderful exsibex to our local historical museum. Wendy our towns one and only art teacher has such a passion for your beloved George's work. She truly has taken on making sure Blue Dog makes his very timely appearances for the children to experience the magic of the holidays in a very unique and special way. This will be the very first time Oklahoma has hosted any of the Rodrigues Blue Dog art work. Sand Springs is very honored to be selected out of the many other places it could have been shown.
    Thank you for allowing us to become one of the select few cities to host Blue Dog, our cities children are teaching us so much about their love of Blue Dog and the history of how he was brought to life and living in the paintings George was so passionate about.

    We are all on pins and needles waiting for the exibiex to open.

    Joanna Sporleder
    Founding member, Sand Springs Small Business Coalition


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    1. What a lovely introduction, Joanna, and your timing could not be more perfect! Just yesterday I was organizing my schedule to attend the opening events for George Rodrigue's "Shiny Happy Blue Dog" at the Sand Springs Cultural Historical Museum, including a Gallery Talk and several days of education outreach ---with Life & Legacy school visits (with original Rodrigue work) in your community! I'm looking forward to this unique Oklahoma experience and to meeting everyone involved ---especially your impassioned Art Teacher, Jennifer Fox Barretto! Thank you for writing in and for helping to spread the word about Rodrigue's first Oklahoma exhibition! Wendy

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