So many summer activities involve the great outdoors, but with such oppressive heat in New Orleans, sometimes it’s better to explore great indoor offerings as well. Fortunately, you can experience the cultural arts New Orleans is known for while retreating into the air conditioning with visits to several of the city’s fine art galleries. For fans of classics or contemporaries, the city’s various art-filled corners offer exhibitions for your enjoyment and works for the wandering eye in search of new pieces for the home. With so many diverse options, below is our breakdown some of the basics of what you’ll find this summer in galleries across the city.
Four blocks into the French Quarter on art- and antique-friendly Royal Street sits the New Orleans location of nationally renowned Martin Lawrence Galleries (433 Royal St., 299-9055, MartinLawrence.com). Specializing in original paintings, sculpture and limited edition graphics, Martin Lawrence Galleries holds a substantial collection of artwork including the “largest collection” of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Keith Haring.
“In the last 15 years, we have lent nearly 250 different artworks by 16 different artists to 32 different museums around the world,” says Maria Saraceno Ward, Marketing Manager at Martin Lawrence Galleries. With a long-standing reputation of representing exceptional quality art – each piece of which is owned by the company – Martin Lawrence Galleries values professional, high quality service in sales as well. For those looking to add to their own collections, Martin Lawrence consultants recommend buying what you love; don’t buy for financial investment or speculation. Gain insight by visiting different galleries and seeing various styles.
A homegrown New Orleans artist, James Michalopoulos (617 Bienville St., 558-0505, Michalopoulos.com) has risen to fame through his unique representations of the spirit of New Orleans in his paintings and sculpture. Continuing to build on his legacy of conveying the spirit of his subjects, be they figures, landscapes or snapshots of New Orleans’ famous architecture, Michalopoulos is introducing new work into his gallery.
“Michalopoulos is one of New Orleans’ most loved and iconic artists, producing high profile art that resonates with visitors and locals alike,” says David Lambert, Director of the Michalopoulos Gallery. “He is a catalyst for change, progress and an ardent supporter and reflection of what makes New Orleans and its people celebrated around the world.”
New work will include small original paintings that would complement an existing collection of larger work or serve as the starting point for a new collector. Michalopoulos will also make available for the first time drawings of his work, a striking contrast and complement to his colorful paintings and sculptures.
Another New Orleans street popular for its many galleries and art events is Julia Street in the Central Business District, where Jean Bragg Gallery of Southern Art (600 Julia St., 895-7375, JeanBragg.com) has been located since 2005, helping bolster the growing New Orleans Arts District with the work of established Louisiana artists.
“We are probably the most classical of the galleries here and the only one to specialize in historical Louisiana paintings, including some from the late 19th century,” says Jean Bragg.
Beginning July 7, on the first Saturday Art Walk night, the gallery will feature the work of David Dillard, local artist, architect and historic preservationist. The exhibition, “Architecture of the Spirit: Paintings of Historic New Orleans Churches and Cathedrals,” will feature oil paintings of the interiors. According to Bragg, Dillard records the rich architectural heritage of New Orleans with the precision of an architect’s eye and an artist’s sensitivity.
On August 4, Jean Bragg Gallery will open for Whitney White Linen Night and feature Lafayette plein-air artist Chuck Broussard’s show, “V’allumer!,” a collection of light-filled South Louisiana landscapes.
Turn the corner onto Camp Street and experience the contemporary vibrancy of Martine Chaisson Gallery (727 Camp St., 302-4972, MartineChaissonGallery.com), once of the newest galleries in the Arts District. Featuring the contemporary works of both established and emerging artists, Martine Chaisson makes it part of her mission to help young, aspiring artists achieve their dreams. Through July 11, you can catch the striking photography of JT Blatty, which contrasts the textures of ancient fossils with unexpected, similar contours of the human body.
From July 14 through 28, Martine Chaisson Gallery will host a pop-up show of about six emerging artists she’ll hand pick from numerous submissions, and on White Linen Night, August 4, the gallery will feature a new exhibition by Israeli-born New York artist Batya F. Kuncman, which will be on display through September 29.
In addition to being a gallery of fine art, Martine Chaisson Gallery also serves as an event space available for cocktail parties, receptions or corporate events. The third floor ballroom has a permanent collection on display and can accommodate events for up to 200 people.
Newly located on St. Charles Avenue, Crescent City Auction Gallery (1330 St. Charles Ave., 529-5057, CrescentCityAuctionGallery.com) offers art lovers an exciting shopping experience with monthly auctions of antiques and fine art from all eras and areas of the world. This month’s auction, which takes place July 14 and 15, beginning at 10 a.m. each day, will feature well over 1,200 items, including numerous paintings and sculptures.
Recently relocated from Julia Street, the gallery is enjoying newfound traffic and visibility on St. Charles Avenue.
“We have some interesting pieces of artwork in our windows now that resemble human beings. They’ve really brought some new attention to the building,” laughs Adam Lambert, auctioneer at Crescent City Auction Gallery.
With a focus on local estates; fine art; bric-a-brac; pottery; silver; jewelry; art glass; American, English and Continental furniture; lighting; and oriental carpets, Crescent City Auction Gallery is guaranteed to have something for everyone, so bring a competitive spirit and enjoy the show!
Situated Uptown on one of New Orleans’ most famous strip of boutique shops and galleries is Guy Lyman Fine Art (3645 Magazine St., 899-4687, GuyLymanFineArt.com).
“Our niche is classic art from the 19th and 20th centuries that’s affordable,” says owner Guy Lyman. “What I try to do is find excellent values in classic paintings from classic genres, mainly focusing on landscapes, nudes and still lifes.” In a city full of antique stores with highly marked-up items, Lyman saw a need for high quality, classic art that people could afford. While Guy Lyman Fine Art does represent a few contemporary artists, their classic collection is what distinguishes them from other Uptown galleries, while their prices distinguish them from those in the French Quarter.
“This kind of gallery is unusual,” says Lyman. “Someone may want a beautiful landscape from the late 1800s, and they go to Royal Street and find one for $8,500. They don’t have $8,500 to spend, and they can find a comparable, quality painting from the same period here for $1,500.”
Always a participant in community art events, Guy Lyman encourages visitors to stop in during Art for Art’s Sake in October and to visit them online for information on summer shows.
On Tulane University’s campus, located in the Woldenberg Art Center, the Newcomb Art Gallery (865-5382, NewcombArtGallery.Tulane.edu) offers an academic approach to art with a broad array of exhibitions and public programs designed to be intellectually challenging, innovative and socially relevant.
“Smaller than the typical city museum, broader in scope than a contemporary art center and more international in reach than most commercial galleries, the Newcomb Art Gallery occupies a unique position among local art establishments,” says Teresa Parker Farris, Marketing Coordinator for the gallery. Diverse in its exhibitions, the gallery alternates between important historical art movements and works of well-known artists such as Joan Mitchell, Nick Cave and Diane Arbus, and shows that reveal current trends or confront issues of contemporary concern.
From August 15 through October 14, don’t miss “Image Transfer: Pictures in a Remix Culture,” an exhibition which brings together artists who, according to Farris, “divert commonplace, even ubiquitous, visual materials into new territories of formal and idiomatic expression and spotlight evolving attitudes toward the appropriation, recuperation and repurposing of extant photographic imagery.”