Conversations in Clay

Newcomb Art Museum launches new discussion series


Art lovers visiting New Orleans surely have the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) on their itineraries. One hidden gem they might not visit is the Newcomb Art Museum, located in the Woldenberg Art Center on the campus of Tulane University. Featuring contemporary art and iconic pieces from their permanent collection, the Newcomb Art Museum is a quiet, but important stop for visitors who appreciate fine art.

In addition to its collection, Newcomb Art Museum is launching a conversation series called “Uncommon Exchanges” Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The series, presented in partnership with A Studio in the Woods, The ByWater Institute at Tulane University and New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, will be interdisciplinary and interactive, and features academics and experts from Tulane and the Gulf South region.

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The inaugural conversation will be moderated by Rebecca Snedeker, Clark executive director at Tulane’s New Orleans Center for the Gulf South. The exchange will be between Professor Emilia Oddo of the classics department at Tulane University and Professor Mead Allison of The Water Institute of The Gulf. They will use the museum’s current special exhibition featuring clay as the starting point for their conversation. Their discussion will last approximately 45 minutes and there will be 15 minutes reserved for Q&A with the audience to foster engagement.

The two companion exhibits, “Clay in Place” and “Clay in Transit,” can be viewed before the “Uncommon Exchange” event during regular museum hours.

“Clay in Place: Highlights from the Collection” features traditional pottery and contemporary ceramics, including pieces of the famous Newcomb Pottery (1895 – 1940) and the Newcomb Guild (1940 – 1952). Also on view are more recent works by alumni, current faculty and former faculty. More than a dozen artists are represented, including clay sculptor Peter Voulkos; jewelry designer Mignon Faget; ceramics artists Katherine Choy, Sadie Irvine, Mary Sheerer, Ellsworth Woodward and Rachael DePauw; and co-founder of Studio in the Woods, Lucianne Carmichael.

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Juxtaposed to the permanent collection is “Clay in Transit: Contemporary Mexican Ceramics.” Presented in collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans, it features seven artists from Mexico who, according to the beautifully written description, “build upon the collective histories of their chosen medium – clay as nature, clay as origin, clay as shelter, clay as dam, clay as vessel, clay as terra firma – and choose to play with those histories in their attempts to give the viewer pause while, simultaneously, addressing 21st-century aesthetics and concerns.”

The artists on view are Ana Gómez, Saúl Kaminer, Perla Krauze, María José Lavín, María José de la Macorra, Gustavo Pérez and Paloma Torres.

The Newcomb Art Museum is free and open to the public, as is the “Uncommon Exchange” event. The Museum is open Tuesday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed between exhibitions and on major holidays, so call (504) 865-5328 in advance of your visit to confirm it will be open. Directions can be found online.

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