The premier collection of Southern art in the United States. Though the building is dazzling, it is built around an atrium that takes up a great deal of space that could be devoted to still more displays. It does make for a dramatic interior, but given such a marvelous collection, one is greedy for more art rather than more architecture. But the facility is wonderful, the artists are impressive, and the graphics are well designed, informative, and often humorous. Just the permanent exhibit of self-taught/outsider art alone makes this worth a visit. Special exhibits are thoughtfully constructed, often containing enriching details -- for example a blues soundtrack for a display of Delta musicians, a video documentary on the late Benny Andrews. The new annex, the splendid Patrick F. Taylor library, originally designed by native Southerner Henry Hobson Richardson in the late 1800s, is an incredible salvation and use of an existing structure -- don't miss whatever temporary exhibit is currently on display. It bodes well for the institute's planned upcoming expansions. Though the hours (at press time) are still limited, they have resumed their delightful Ogden After Hours, which includes a live band (anything from 1930s country to old Delta blues guys to the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars) playing in the atrium, adding a soundtrack to your visit. These evenings are one of the special delights of New Orleans.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Very Highly Recommended 2009
- Very Highly Recommended 2010