The Best Contemporary Art Galleries in New Orleans

2AT65J0 Decorations at LaBranche House in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras in New Orleans
2AT65J0 Decorations at LaBranche House in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras in New Orleans | © BHammond / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Helen Armitage
4 May 2021

Despite the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans, has a thriving, close-knit creative 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. Trips to Louisiana are bookable through Culture trip.

Arthur Roger Gallery

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2F0JD0M Arthur Roger, owner of the New Orleans, Louisiana, gallery that bears his name, has a showcase of works created by artists before the oil spill changed the landscape but the gallery opened quietly, without the reception that traditionally accompanies new
Arthur Roger, owner of the New Orleans, Louisiana, gallery that bears his name, has a showcase of works created by artists before the oil spill changed the landscape. | © Sipa US / Alamy Stock Photo
Arthur Roger 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 ’90s, hosted solo exhibitions by renowned contemporary artists including painter, sculptor and printmaker Charles Arnoldi and photographer Herb Ritts. Roger curated the award-winning Katrina: Catastrophe and Catharsistouring exhibition in 2006, which featured national artists’ responses to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Among the artists currently represented are glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, stylized photography duo Anderson & Low, and acclaimed kinetic sculpture Lin Emery.

Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans

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BH8GEJ Contemporary Arts Center, Warehouse District, New Orleans, Louisiana
Contemporary Arts Center, Warehouse District, New Orleans, Louisiana. | © Vespasian / Alamy Stock Photo
The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), one of the leading arts organizations in the USA, was established in 1976 to revitalize New Orleans’ arts district. Featuring 10,000 square feet of gallery space spread over two floors, the CAC showcases multi-disciplinary exhibitions and performances from global artists, encouraging creative collaborations between artists, institutions and communities. In 2013, the center 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 local artist Miss Pussycat created 100 puppets in three months in the center’s Corner Gallery. The CAC also hosts contemporary dance performances such as Pavement, a choreographed piece from award-winner Kyle Abraham based on the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood.

Gallery Orange

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Gallery Orange LLC, New Orleans
Gallery Orange LLC, New Orleans opens its doors to the community. | Photo courtesy of Gallery Orange
Founded in 2011, Gallery Orange is a contemporary boutique art gallery located in the heart of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, selling art by US 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. Among the New Orleans-based artists currently represented 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.

Guthrie Contemporary

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Guthrie Contemporary, founded in 2004, showcases paintings, photography and sculptures by established international artists. Focusing on original contemporary pieces, artists represented by Guthrie Contemporary include Alabama-based sculptor Deedee Morrison, who produces sustainable, solar-powered sculptures using industrial metals and laser-jet cutting, and Seattle-based painter Susan Dory, who creates op art-influenced, graffiti-like abstracts. The gallery is also a regular participant in PhotoNOLA, an annual photography festival organized by the New Orleans Photo Alliance that takes place over the first two weekends of December.

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

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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 international artists. In its 16 years, the gallery has featured in publications such as Art in America and Time magazine. The Jonathan Ferrara Gallery represents artists including Los Angeles-based David Buckingham, who uses recycled scrap metal to create pop culture-inspired sculptures and reliefs, and local artist Krista Jurisich, who works with photo collage. The venue also hosts the annual No Dead Artists International Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Art, conceived in 1995 by Jonathan and fellow local artist Alex Beard, which elects artworks for display from emerging US talent.

Cole Pratt Gallery

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Cole Pratt Gallery, a contemporary fine arts space that showcases works by artists from Southern USA, was founded in 1993 by the late Cole Pratt, a respected champion of New Orleans’ arts community. The gallery is now overseen by owner Erika Olinger, who coordinates the space’s exhibition program with a monthly featured artist, alongside regular exhibitions including works by 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 watercolor painter Stephan Hoffpauir and James Beaman, an abstract painter based in Baton Rouge.

Graphite Galleries

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Located in the French Quarter, Graphite Galleries opened in 2009 to represent cutting-edge global artists. Talented local artists on its roster include Matthew Foreman, a graphic designer who creates large-scale pop art and has had his works hung beside the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. While Joey Slaughter mixes painting, sculpture and digital media to explore the role of digital information in human lives. They have recently taken on paintings by Joshua Chambers, who works with prints, ink and acrylic, and pieces by Californian artist Lidia Altagracia.

Søren Christensen Gallery

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Situated in a stylish restored warehouse space, the Søren Christensen Gallery promotes paintings, photography and sculpture by global contemporary artists, with a focus on sculpture. Previous exhibitions include Bradley Sabin’s surreal installation Interface, a piece made from ceramics that depict a human figure whose head appears to burst into a trail of flowers, and Nature/Nurture: Fluidity of Perspective by Dana Chapman, which comprised ceramic representations of fruit and flora.The gallery also gave photographer Brooke Shaden her debut exhibition in association with the 2013 PhotoNOLA festival.

Good Children Gallery

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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 revitalize the post-Katrina arts scene in New Orleans. The gallery gives exposure to emerging artists to boost New Orleans’ profile as an arts and cultural hotspot. Good Children Gallery’s inaugural exhibition in 2008 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 run by the art community, including installation and performance artist Nina Schwanse and Croatian sculptor Srdjan Loncar.
These recommendations were updated on May 4, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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