It was the evening before Hancock Whitney White Linen Night, and the crowd in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s fifth floor gallery eagerly gathered around David Breslin.
Breslin, jurist for the 2019 Louisiana Contemporary presented by The Helis Foundation and director of Curatorial Initiatives at the Whitney Museum of American Art, was about to announce the four winners of this juried art show, highlighting contemporary art in Louisiana.
The two-part selection process included an open call for applications, then a jury process overseen by a different juror each year. For 2019, there were 364 applicants with 1,066 entries of work. Twenty-three artists were chosen, showcasing 44 pieces.
“The works hold us here, as testaments of our time, but also signal that other, better futures can still be within reach,” was part of Breslin’s juror’s statement.
Starting with third place and working up to the top prize, Breslin announced the honorees: Third prize: Rachel David; Second prize: Thomas Deaton; first prize: Sarrah Danziger. The Helis Foundation Art Prize, which comes with $5,000, was won by Jessica Strahan for “Survived.” Strahan’s most recent paintings explore the African diaspora within the context of life in New Orleans.
Other artists in the show include: John Alleyne, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Mac Ball, Sean Clark, Tony Dagradi, Ben Depp, Sarah French, John Gargano, Kristina Larson, Julian Martin, Kristin Meyers, Lara Morgan, Tom O’Brien, Ruth Owens, Dan Rule, Claire Samani, Jill Shampine, Leona Strassberg Steiner, and Carlie Trosclair.
“Louisiana Contemporary provides an essential ongoing platform to discover and experience the depth and diversity of work being produced by Louisiana artists, in support of our wider mission to connect audiences with and widen understanding of art of the American South,” said William Pittman Andrews, executive director of the Ogden Museum. “Each year, we are inspired by the visions and innovations of the featured artists, whose work engages with formal and conceptual dialogues within contemporary practice, as well as with some of the most pressing social and political issues of our time.
“We are grateful to The Helis Foundation for their ongoing support for this initiative and to the artists who continue to challenge and compel us in new and exciting ways.”
Since 2012, the Ogden Museum has shown 394 artists and 674 of their art works in this exposition.
Louisiana Contemporary officially opened to the public on Saturday (Aug. 3) for White Linen Night and is on view through Jan. 5.