- Helen Armitage
New Orleans, despite the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has a thriving, close-knit arts community intent on putting the city on the map as a world-class arts destination. From local artworks in boutique galleries in the French Quarter to exhibitions in artist-run spaces in the St Claude Arts District, the Big Easy and its rich cultural life have something for every contemporary art lover. These are some of the most interesting contemporary art galleries in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Arthur Roger Gallery
Arthur Roger first set up his gallery in 1978 and quickly became a staple on New Orleans’ flourishing contemporary arts scene. In 1988, Arthur Roger Gallery relocated to its current space designed by celebrated architect and urban designer Wellington Reiter and, during the 1990s, hosted solo exhibitions by renowned contemporary artists including painter, sculptor and printmaker Charles Arnoldi and photographer Herb Ritts. Arthur Roger curated the award-winning Katrina: Catastrophe and Catharsis touring exhibition in 2006, which featured local and national artists’ responses to the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Among the artists currently represented by the gallery are glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, stylised photography duo Anderson & Low and the internationally acclaimed kinetic sculptural artist Lin Emery.
Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 522 1999
Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans
The Contemporary Arts Center, one of the leading arts organisations in the USA, was established in 1976 with the aim of revitalising New Orleans’ almost non-existent arts district. Featuring 10,000 square feet of gallery space spread over two floors, the Contemporary Arts Center showcases multi-disciplinary exhibitions and performances from local, national and international artists encouraging creative collaborations between artists, institutions and communities. In 2013, the centre held the world premiere of acclaimed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s Water, an exhibition of 60 large-scale images examining mankind’s relationship with water, and, in the same year, hosted an innovative artwork project, ANTHROPOMORPHIZER!!, in which locally based puppeteer artist Miss Pussycat created 100 puppets in three months in the centre’s Corner Gallery. The centre also hosts contemporary dance performances such as Pavement, a choreographed piece from award-talent Kyle Abraham based in the 1991 film Boyz N The Hood.
Founded in 2011, Gallery Orange is a contemporary boutique art gallery located in the heart of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter selling original and exclusive art by local and national artists. The British-Dutch owned gallery exhibits and sells paintings, drawings and sculptures from a wide range of disciplines including abstract, folk and pop art and embrace the Dutch principles of fairly valued art and original, unconventional and captivating designs. Among the New Orleans-based artists currently represented by Gallery Orange are sought-after, emerging painter Sarah Ashley Longshore, whose Andy Warhol-inspired unique pop expressionist pieces have attracted an international clientele including actors Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, and Aaron Reichert, who creates monochromatic portraits using layered acrylic paints.
Gallery Orange, 819 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 875 4006
Sibley Gallery, located on Magazine Street in New Orleans’ beautiful Garden District, is a contemporary and fine art space owned and run by local artist Amanda Sibley. The gallery sources, exhibits and sells the most innovative artworks from locally, regionally and nationally based artists and with 12 exhibitions a year, visitors are guaranteed fresh and creative content. The gallery currently represents German-born and Florida-based mixed media and sculpture artist Stefan Daiberl who incorporates unorthodox materials such as live ammunition, nails and razor blades into his range of artworks, and Louisiana jazz musician and photographer Roland Guerin who captures portraits and landscapes in colour and black and white. Sibley Gallery started 2014 with an exhibition of works by Argentinean artist Juan Francisco Adaro, who lives in Florida and creates street and mural-inspired paintings using recycled materials.
Sibley Gallery, 3427 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 899 8182
Guthrie Contemporary, which was founded in 2004, showcases paintings, photography and sculptures by established American and international artists. Focusing on original and creative contemporary art, artists represented by Guthrie Contemporary include Birmingham, Alabama-based sculptor Deedee Morrison, who produces sustainable and solar-powered sculptures using industrial metals and laser jet cutting, and Seattle-based painter Susan Dory, who creates op art influenced, graffiti-like abstract canvasses. The gallery is also a regular participant in PhotoNOLA, an annual photography festival organised by the New Orleans Photo Alliance that takes place over the first two weekends of December. Guthrie Contemporary’s 2013 contribution was 5 Rooms, 5 Photographers which featured an all-female quintet of photographers including New York-based Ayumi Tanaka, who creates haunting photo collages from her own and appropriated images, and magazine writer turned photographer Heidi Lender.
Guthrie Contemporary, 3815 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 897 2688
Jonathan Ferrara Gallery
Established in 1998 by local artist and activist Jonathan Ferrara, the gallery focuses on showcasing avant-garde painting, sculpture, installation and mixed media-based artworks from local and international artists. In its 16 years of existence, the gallery has gained a reputation for exhibiting exciting and provocative works and its shows have caught the attention of publications such as Art in America and Time magazine. The gallery represents talented artists including Los Angeles-based David Buckingham, who uses recycled scrap metal to create his pop culture inspired sculptures and reliefs, and local artist Krista Jurisich who works with photo collage. Jonathan Ferrara Gallery also hosts the annual No Dead Artists International Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Art, which was conceived in 1995 by Jonathan and fellow local artist Alex Beard and sees emerging artists in need of exposure from across the USA submit artworks to be selected for exhibition at the gallery.
Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400a Julia Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 522 5471
Cole Pratt Gallery
Cole Pratt Gallery, a contemporary fine arts space that showcases artworks by artists from Southern USA, was founded in 1993 by the late Cole Pratt, a respected and treasured champion of New Orleans’ arts community. The gallery is now overseen by owner and director Erika Olinger who coordinates the space’s exhibition programme with a new featured artist each month, alongside regular exhibitions of represented artists, which currently includes New Orleans-based photographer Wallace Merritt and Texan artist Diana Synatzske, who creates retro sculptures from high-fired ceramics. In the coming months, Cole Pratt Gallery will exhibit new works by Louisiana native and photorealist watercolour painter Stephan Hoffpauir and James Beaman, an abstract painter based in Baton Rouge.
Cole Pratt Gallery, 3800 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 891 6789
Located in the French Quarter, Graphite Galleries opened in 2009 to represent exciting, cutting-edge artists, whether up-and-coming or well-known, from across the globe. The gallery has a number of talented local artists on its roster such as local Matthew Foreman, an artist and graphic designer who creates large-scale pop art-influenced murals and portraits and has had his works hung beside the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and Joey Slaughter, based in upstate Ruston, whose work mixes painting, sculpture and digital media to explore the role of digital information in human lives. Graphite Galleries has recently acquired new artworks by a further two of its artists – Joshua Chambers, a painter who works with prints, ink and acrylic, who has recently produced 12 new works, and Californian artist Lidia Altagracia.
Graphite Gallery, 936 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 565 3739
Søren Christensen Gallery
Situated in a stylish and sizeable restored warehouse space, the Søren Christensen Gallery promotes paintings, photography and sculpture by national and global contemporary artists. The gallery has shown a keen eye for sourcing creative and innovative sculpture-based artworks – in 2012, it exhibited artist Bradley Sabin’s surreal installationInterface, a piece made from ceramics that depicts a human figure whose head appears to burst into a trail of flowers, and in 2013 the gallery showed Nature/Nurture: Fluidity of Perspective by Dana Chapman, which comprised of several carefully crafted ceramic representations of fruit and flora. The Søren Christensen Gallery also gave the talented emerging photographer Brooke Shaden, whose captivating imagery blends traditional photographic practices with fantastical, ethereal elements, her debut exhibition in association with the 2013 PhotoNOLA festival.
Søren Christensen Gallery, 400 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 569 9501
Good Children Gallery
The Good Children Gallery is located in the city’s relatively new St Claude Arts District which was formed following the establishment of a number of cooperative art galleries and helped revitalise the post-Katrina arts scene in New Orleans. The gallery, which is one of the district’s more prominent spaces, opened in 2008 and is an artist-run operation that gives exposure to emerging artists with the aim of boosting New Orleans’ profile as an arts and cultural hotspot. Good Children Gallery’s inaugural exhibition featured works by Brooklyn-based Filipino artist Ernest Concepcion, whose paintings and drawings explore ideas of war and conflict, and New Orleans photographer Jonathan Traviesa. The gallery is currently run by artists including installation and performance artist Nina Schwanse and Croatian sculptor Srdjan Loncar.
Good Children Gallery, 4037 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 975 1557