John T. Scott: His Legacy

Exhibition Dates: August 5 – September 23, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 5 from 6–9 pm, in conjunction with White Linen Night
Gallery Location: 432 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am–5 pm
Contact Info: 504.522.1999;

The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present John T. Scott: His Legacy, an exhibition of works by the late John T. Scott. The exhibition will be on view at Arthur Roger Gallery, located at 432 Julia Street, from August 5 – September 23, 2017. The gallery will host an opening on Saturday, August 5 from 6-9pm, in conjunction with White Linen Night.

Foodstore, 2003 | Woodcut print, Edition of 10 + AP | 60 x 40 inches

John T. Scott’s artistic training began early in life, with embroidery skills from his mother and carpentry skills from his father. He was one of the first African American artists to exhibit in commercial galleries in New Orleans, gaining national recognition in the 1980s. This exhibition features work spanning his career, with many from his most prolific period between 1992 and 2004.

One of the earlier works in the exhibition, Third World Banquet Table (1980), features a rosewood dining table with patinated bronze place settings covered in thorns. The work was inspired by the artist’s father who worked to prepare thousands of banquets in his lifetime, but was never invited to the table. Scott explained that there was an adage when he was young “that if you were really hungry, it was like having a stomach full of thorns and no roses.” The Blues Poems for the Urban Landscape series (2003) features large-scale woodblock images that were carved using a chainsaw, and their corresponding prints. Images of mangled buildings and cars eerily foretold the impending destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. Glass blocks from the I Remember Birmingham series (1997) commemorate the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four African American girls. Also included are small bronze sculptures from the Reliquaries series (2000), medium-scale aluminum sculptures from the Black Butterfly series (1990s), colorful, kinetic steel sculptures (2000) and mixed media collage works, including a pair honoring cornetist Buddy Bolden. Improvisation, movement and politics all play important roles in Scott’s work. This is the artist’s seventh solo exhibition with the gallery and it coincides with his inclusion in Prospect.4, the fourth iteration of a citywide exhibition that opens November 16-19, 2017.

John T. Scott was born in New Orleans in 1940. He received a B.A. from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1962 and an M.F.A. from Michigan State University in 1965. It was at Michigan State that he gained two important assistantships with his major professors, sculptor Robert Weil and painter/printmaker Charles Pollock. He received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Michigan State University in 1995 and a Doctor of Humanities from Tulane University in 1997. He was Professor of Fine Arts at Xavier University for more than forty years. In 1983, he received a grant to study under internationally renowned sculptor George Rickey. In 1992, he was awarded a “Genius Grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions at galleries and institutions, including the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, LA; the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO; the SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY; the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA; and the Tubman Museum in Macon, GA. His many public art commissions can be viewed throughout the city of New Orleans, including Spiritgates, which adorn a courtyard entrance at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Spirit House at DeSaix Circle, a collaboration with Martin Payton commemorating the history of African Americans in the city; and Ocean Song in Woldenberg Park, with elements that produce visual patterns reminiscent of jazz. In 2005, the New Orleans Museum of Art hosted a career retrospective Circle Dance: A John T. Scott Retrospective. Scott evacuated to Houston, TX following Hurricane Katrina. He died there in 2007.