You don’t need to be an art buff to appreciate the New Orleans Museum of Art’s most recent exhibition: “Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans.” Pride of Place celebrates art collector and gallery owner Arthur Roger’s personal collection that he gifted to the museum.
Arthur Roger likes people who live on the fringes, the areas that orbit dominant society. “It is where I’ve discovered the most, and it’s the place I’ve found most interesting,” he says. The pull of the unconventional led him to purchase an unusual home in New Orleans’s French Quarter and amass a stunning collection of provocative art. And once he’d filled the walls with remarkable pieces, he gave them all away, leaving the white walls empty. This story looks at the moment just before that happened, capturing a snapshot from a lifetime of collecting.
When Arthur Roger launched his gallery in 1978, there were only a handful of others focused on new art. The scene has expanded greatly since then, but Roger has more than kept abreast of the ever-changing art world through the years, as we see in this sprawling new exhibition of works from his personal collection, which he donated recently to the New Orleans Museum of Art.
[Arthur Roger’s] donation — paintings, sculpture and photography by local and national luminaries of modern art — comprises a new NOMA exhibit, “Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans.” The exhibit opens Friday and runs through Sept. 3. In the exhibit’s 143-page catalog, museum Director Susan M. Taylor describes the gift as “transformational.” It “significantly expands” NOMA’s contemporary art holdings and “reaffirms the museum’s commitment to the work of local New Orleans artists,” she said.
On June 1, Arthur Roger’s personal collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and mixed media pieces will be taken off his walls, packed away and carted over to the New Orleans Museum of Art. He recently donated more than 80 pieces to the museum, including works by national and regional artists such as Luis Cruz Azaceta, Willie Birch, Douglas Bourgeois, Robert Colescott, George Dureau, Robert Gordy, Deborah Kass, Catherine Opie, Robert Polidori, Holton Rower and John Waters, among others.
The Arthur Roger Gallery is very pleased to be a part of Art Miami this year. At Booth B100, we are exhibiting works by John Alexander, Luis Cruz Azaceta, David Bates, Jacqueline Bishop, Douglas Bourgeois, Robert Colescott, Stephen Paul Day, Lesley Dill, James Drake, Troy Dugas, George Dureau, Lin Emery, Vernon Fisher, Tim Hailand, Whitfield Lovell, Deborah Luster, Gordon Parks, Holton Rower, and Amy Weiskopf.
The Arthur Roger Gallery is very pleased to be a part of Art Miami this year. At Booth C36, we are exhibiting works by Richard Baker, David Bates, Willie Birch, Douglas Bourgeois, Robert Colescott, Stephen Paul Day, Dawn DeDeaux, Lesley Dill, James Drake, Lin Emery, David Leventi, Whitfield Lovell, Stephanie Patton, Erwin Redl and Holton Rower. The exhibition will be on view from December 2 – December 6, 2014 at the Miami Art Pavilion located in the Miami Midtown Arts District.
David Bates is a paradox. Based in Dallas, he appears focused on the mysteries associated with bodies of water. In an area not known for modesty, he keeps a very low profile. His paintings reflect an eclectic mingling of styles, but come off as boldly natural.
In 1982, when David Bates painted the monumental Ed Walker Cleaning Fish, he still made his living teaching art history at Southern Methodist University, where he’d gotten both his undergraduate degree and his MFA. The “little red house” in which he and his wife, the painter Jan Lee Bates, lived at the time, had walls so small he jokes that one could have made a nice easel for the 84-by-72-inch portrait. “I never really counted on making a living doing this,” Bates says, adding that it was the teaching salary that freed him up to make pictures of subjects that spoke to him. “That’s why I could paint an old black guy cleaning fish with a bucket of fish guts at his feet. Because I never thought anybody was going to buy something like that.”
No American artist captured the devastation of Hurricane Katrina more forcefully than Dallas’ own David Bates in his stunningly powerful 2008 exhibition “The Storm.”