12430 - 20170219 - New Orleans Museum of Art presents first comprehensive museum retrospective for Louisiana native George Dunbar - New Orleans, LA - 04.11.2016-19.02.2017


George Dunbar, Red M, 1959, Acrylic and paper collage, 50 x 47 inches, Collection of the Artist.
George Dunbar: Elements of Chance is the first comprehensive museum retrospective for the artist George Dunbar (American, b. 1927), who played a pivotal role in introducing abstract art to the South. The exhibition explores the evolution of Dunbar’s art from his early paintings from the 1940s and 1950s to his most recent contemporary work in clay relief. A New Orleans native, Dunbar studied in Philadelphia and New York before returning to Louisiana in the 1950s to create paintings, sculptures, assemblages, and prints that marry the stark geometry of modern art with lush, elemental materials like clay and gold leaf that call forth Louisiana’s distinctive local landscape.
“NOMA is delighted to celebrate the career of one of Louisiana’s most influential and talented artists,” says Susan M. Taylor, Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “The opportunity to showcase the work of an artist so closely connected with the New Orleans’ arts community and NOMA’s own history is especially meaningful as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of NOMA’s Odyssey Ball this fall.”

Dunbar’s richly textured works explore abstract art’s connection to landscape and place, and his unique vision for abstraction highlights Louisiana’s pivotal—if widely underestimated—role in the broader story of 20th century American art. “George Dunbar’s work,” says Katie A. Pfohl, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, “truly helped create a context and place for contemporary art in New Orleans, introducing the city to vanguard new ideas about art making.”

“Being a native New Orleanian, I've had the privilege of exhibiting my work at NOMA several times but have never had a true retrospective of my work,” said George Dunbar. “I am honored and humbled that NOMA has chosen to show the entire progression of my career as an artist.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a limited-edition artist book created in collaboration with George Dunbar, which contains an in-depth interview with the artist by NOMA’s Director, Susan M. Taylor and an essay that contextualizes Dunbar’s work within the rich history of 20th-century American art by Katie Pfohl. The catalogue is available in the Museum Shop alongside a variety of other holiday gift items that celebrate Dunbar’s unique vision for abstract art and stunning artworks in gold and silver leaf.