First in a series of artist profiles
George Dureau was born and raised in New Orleans. He kept a home and studio in the French Quarter. This bon vivant was a fixture in the Quarter and was frequently seen riding his bike around the quarter with his raven hair flowing behind him saying hello to his friends. Dureau passed away in 2014 leaving the legacy of a remarkable 40-year career. Touches of his creativity are written in the streets of New Orleans. His creativity can be seen gracing the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Gates at North Court, The Parade Paused a Mardi Gras-themed mural in Gallier Hall, the pediment sculptures at Harrah’s Casino, and a seductive portrait of Professor Longhair for the 1999 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival poster.
Dureau was a fixture in the New Orleans art scene and is recognized nationally for his contributions to photography, sculpture, drawing, and painting. Today he is best known for his photography, frequently featuring male nudes. Dureau’s models are often exquisitely proportioned, muscular men (and occasionally women), who exemplify our ideals of beauty and grace, but just as often his subjects are male nude, the working class, little people, and disabled people. All of his photos are arresting and possess a sense of serene calm that comes from complete trust between model and artist.
Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi, Co-Artistic Directors of Prospect.5 have decided to feature a collection of George Dureau’s photographs in the upcoming triennial. Prospect.5 will feature not only Drueau’s more recognizable photographs of male nudes but also lesser-known photographs taken along the banks of Lake Pontchartrain, as well as street and landscape photographs. This is not the first time that the international triennial has featured George Dureau. George was also included in Prospect.1 in 2008/2009.
Robert Mapplethorpe is one of many who point to George as a source of inspiration, a mentor, and a friend. In October 2011, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans presented Dureau its highest honor, the Opus Award, in recognition of his contributions to the art and culture of New Orleans and the larger South. His art is included in numerous museum collections, including Le Musée de la Photographie in Paris, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia. Dureau’s work has been exhibited at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles (2017); the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2017); the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans (2011 and 2006); and the New Orleans Museum of Art (2009). He has two monographs, New Orleans: 50 Photographs, published in 1985 and George Dureau: The Photographs, published in 2016.