Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Katrina Art Updates:

These are the art-related updates from the American Association of Museums site. The full list is here.

New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA (as of 9-10). Steven Maklansky, assistant director, reported that the museum effectively weathered the storm, being built on high ground. The building received only minor damage and the flood waters never reached its walls. Some of NOMA’s staff rode out the hurricane in the museum. Days later when FEMA officials asked them to vacate the premises they refused. In their relief the museum has secured the services of a private security force to protect the site. A larger, additional emergency generator and a steady supply of fuel have been procured to power up the building to stabilize the conditions therein. The art inside the museum is safe. The art outside the museum is also in good shape; the initial survey revealed that only one sculpture (by Kenneth Snelson) sustained significant damage. The museum will reopen its doors as soon as it is feasible.
[NOMA website also still down -ed]

Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA (as of 8-30). Melissa Weber, director of marketing & public relations, reported that the CAC apparently only suffered minor to moderate structural damage, mainly blown out windows on the first and fourth floors. However, conditions may have worsened after the levee broke. The CAC is closed until further notice.

Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL (as of 8-31). Gail Treschel, director, reported downed trees but nothing serious.

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, MS (as of 9-5). Dawn Glinsmann reported that the staff are all okay. The building suffered minor damage but nothing catastrophic.

Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS (as of 8-31). The Clarion-Ledger reported that the covering over a skylight that was to be repaired blew off. Director Betsy Bradley said that as a result leaks are recurring and ceiling tiles are down in the atrium area. The art was removed prior to the storm and was not damaged. Bradley said the museum will re-open very soon.

Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL (as of 9-7). Tommy Arthur McPherson, executive director, reported that the museum sustained no major damage. Some outdoor sculptures were blown over and trees are down. The museum reopened offices on 9-6.

Newcomb Art Gallery of Tulane University, New Orleans, LA (as of 9-12). Erik Neil, director, reported that sources indicate the main structure is sound. There are roof leaks and offices may have had some flooding. The primary concern right now is the removal of the most vulnerable works on paper and textiles. The off-site storage facility is located in an area of extensive flooding, and all indications now are that works of art housed there were damaged by water.

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA (as of 9-12). David Houston, curator, reported on 9-6 that all staff are fine. The museum came through the storm just fine. The Biloxi Sun Herald reported on 9-12 that Houston said the art was secured during the storm in the upstairs vault and guards placed at the door until the National Guard arrived after the storm. He said there was no water in the building.

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, MS (as of 9-8). The Wall Street Journal reported on 9-2: "Photographs of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Miss., showed that a dislodged casino barge crushed part of an addition designed by Frank Gehry that had been a year from completion." The Clarion-Ledger reported on 9-5 that the Grand Casino barge landed on the property, killing some of the oaks that were incorporated in the design. The New York Times reported on 9-8 that the Pleasant Reed House, which housed a museum of African-American history, was destroyed except for a chimney. It was on the site of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum. Marjorie Gowdy, executive director, reported on 9-8 that the Ohr pots survived the storm and have been moved to the Mobile Museum of Art. All other work, including an extensive contemporary ceramics collection, is also safe, sound, and secure. The museum's current small studio was destroyed. The Center for Ceramics structure at new museum appears okay and is being assessed. She confirmed that the new Ohr gallery and the new African American gallery were crushed by a barge.

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