Ogden contemporary exhibit shows Louisiana talent

Meredith Abdelnour, Arcade Editor

photo of work of mans face with vial in front of it in ogden exhibit
“Tears” by Keith Perelli was featured in the Odgen “Louisiana Contemporary” exhibit. (Josh Jessiman)

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s “Louisiana Contemporary” exhibit highlights the talented work and creativity of Louisiana artists and sparks conversations about many important social issues today. The exhibit, which features 55 works by 56 different artists, began on Sept. 5 and will be up until Feb. 7, 2021. The exhibit is presented by The Helis Foundation, a private Louisiana foundation that dedicates itself to sharing access to the arts and funding projects in the Greater New Orleans area. 

Artist and 2020 Tulane graduate Isabella Scott’s piece “Utopia 1” was featured in the exhibit. “I specifically like to explore themes of utopia and created worlds and imagined worlds,” Scott said about the inspiration behind the work. “That work is really about kind of like an attempt to create utopia and the difficulties and [how] that’s an impossible dream.”

The influence of Louisiana is evident in the works, making the exhibit feel unique and vibrant. Many of the featured artists were from New Orleans, but there was also representation from many other Louisiana cities, such as Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Shreveport. The juror’s statement spoke of the common misconceptions about Louisiana and New Orleans, and how southern states are “all too often reduced in the popular imagination to swamps and alligators, sunshine and violence.” The art in this exhibit showcases the often overlooked depths and complexities of these places.

Many of the pieces in the exhibit tackled important topics in today’s world, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of the U.S. Mike Hartnett’s photograph “Born Sacred” shows “BLM” written on a pregnant stomach. Brendon Palmer-Angell memorializes people lost to COVID-19 in “Irreplaceable: Taken by the Pandemic” and “determination or distrust” by Ann Perich depicts a man in a mask. 

The exhibit featured many works composed of mixed media, such as a DVD player emitting ominous sounds, a looping animation with a voiceover and a vial full of blood and mucus. Jodan Hess’s “Souvenirs,” a wall of keychains created with materials found on the banks of the Mississippi river, included shells, lighters, an inhaler and a Juicy Drop Pop.

The museum is currently open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with tickets available for purchase online or in person. Admission is free for Louisiana residents on Thursdays, and student tickets are available for $11. If you cannot make it to the exhibit in person, there are virtual ways to explore the content.