New Orleans exhibit stars local craftsman

48_atgThe Center for Southern Craft and Design, part of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, has announced the premiere of the Ogden Museum Furniture Collection.

For its first exhibit, the collection turned to Louisiana furniture maker Greg Arceneaux. His Louisiana Colonial-, Acadian- and Creole-inspired designs meld traditional and original styles.

"We have been working with Greg Arceneaux for the past three years to create the first Ogden Museum Furniture Collection," says Jan Katz, the center's curator. "It was important to start here, in Louisiana, with a master craftsman whose work echoed the historical beginnings of design and furniture production in the state and with a craftsman whose work also is perfect for a contemporary environment.

"The simplicity of this Acadian and Creole style collection reflects the natural beauty of the wood. The form and grace of these pieces make them singular works of art, while the simple functionality of this collection preserves its future."

49_atg_01The collection includes chairs, tables and benches.

"There is one very sweet Ursuline table that has a lot of Shaker influence," says Katz. "The Acadians and Shakers were so close to each other in the Northern [U.S.] and part of Canada. It's that melding that [Arceneaux] does so beautifully. These are his interpretations; they're really not reproductions. They are based on fabulous pieces that are either hard to come by or don't exist anymore; pieces that we only see in books now."

The pieces will be displayed at the museum through Jan. 2. A catalog of the collection is also available. Prices for the furniture range from $75 for an Ogden cutting board to $7,200 for a king-sized Rolling Pin bed.

49_atg_02Katz says that if collection is successful, others will follow. "We probably won't do another one for a year. We'll be working with studio furniture artists who are not part of the Ogden Museum permanent collection. And they'll produce collections of furniture that will only be available through the Ogden Museum."

Global Africa Project

An unprecedented exhibition exploring the broad spectrum of contemporary African art, design and craft worldwide, "The Global Africa Project," is taking place at New York's Museum of Arts and Design until May 15. Featuring the work of more than 100 artists working in Africa, Europe, Asia, the United States and the Caribbean, the exhibit surveys the rich pool of new talent emerging from the African continent and its influence on artists around the world.

Through furniture, sculpture, ceramics, basketry, textiles, jewelry and fashion, as well as selective examples of architecture, painting and photography, the exhibition actively challenges conventional notions of a singular African aesthetic or identity and reflects the integration of African art and design without making the usual distinctions between "professional" and "artisan," according to the museum.

Elsewhere

"Contemporary Maine Wood Sculpture," an exhibition at the Messler Gallery at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, runs through Feb. 4.

The exhibition, co-curated by Bruce Brown, Duane Paluska and Steve Lindsay, was recently previewed in the November issue of Maine Home and Design magazine.

Participating artists include Anne Alexander, Barbara Andrus, Ray Carbone, Tom Chapin, J.T. Gibson, Stew Henderson, Steve Hensel, Charlie Hewitt, Duncan Hewitt, Matt Hutton, Jeff Kellar, Steve Lindsay, Lin Lisberger, Cabot Lyford, Frederick Lynch, Duane Paluska, Stephen Porter and Andy Rosen.

Contacts

Messler Gallery, Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, 25 Mill St., Rockport, ME 04856. Tel: 207-594-5611. www.woodschool.org

Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019. Tel: 212-299-7777. www.madmuseum.org

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., New Orleans, LA 70130. Tel: 504-539-9650. www.ogdenmuseum.org

This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue.