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"Monumental Deity XX" by George Dunbar

Monumental Deity XX

PCSE is proud to announce the installation of Monumental Deity XX by revered New Orleans artist George Dunbar who passed away earlier this month at 96 years old. Dunbar is recognized for his lifelong exploration of classical forms within the ideals of modernism.  This new addition to the Poydras Corridor is located on the neutral ground between St. Charles and Camp Street, across from the Pan-American Life Building in downtown New Orleans.   

“It was an honor for The Helis Foundation to have the opportunity to collaborate with the iconic George Dunbar and to work closely with his team to bring his vision of a monumental sculpture to life. The time spent working with Mr. Dunbar and his studio will not be forgotten,” said David Kerstein, The Helis Foundation. 

Fabricated in bronze and towering over 14 feet, Monumental Deity XX is a new and poignant reminder of George Dunbar’s impactful legacy. According to William Andrews, The Helis Foundation Executive Director Ogden Museum of Southern Art, this piece is reminiscent of a fragment of a torso or ancient Greek bust. The essence of these idealized classical forms embodies the artistic search for perfection and symmetry. William notes that Dunbar was known for famously quoting Italian sculptor, Michelangelo, who said, “a great sculpture can roll down a hill without breaking,” meaning that, in pursuit of artistic perfection, only the essential elements should remain. 

Dunbar, a native New Orleanian, heavily influenced the New Orleans arts community and generations of artists across the globe.  A founder of the storied Orleans Gallery – New Orleans’ first contemporary art collective - Dunbar consistently drew inspiration from experimentation in his art. He strived to learn new techniques throughout his career while working intently across the mediums of paint and sculpture.   

The recent subject of a documentary, George Dunbar: Mining the Surfaces, his work is in included in the collections of such esteemed museums as Whitney Museum of American Art, the British Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Dunbar received the Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 for his contributions to art and culture in Louisiana. In 2016, the New Orleans Museum of Art presented a career retrospective titled George Dunbar: Elements of Chance and, in 2022, Ogden Museum of Southern Art presented the artist with the Opus Lifetime Achievement Award. 

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