Artists, by nature, are creative people. But if their works are displayed outdoors, some practical thinking is required to make sure they stand up to the elements.
The Bestoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) must be the award winner for visual proof of these polar opposites.
Heat, cold, rain, and snow are the normal meteorological adversaries of public art, but sculptures standing in 6 feet of salt water for three weeks must be the ultimate test!
And when Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans in 2005, this is precisely what happened. Destruction was city-wide, and when the storm surge overtopped the Lake Ponchartrain levees near the museum, the unprotected masterpieces were inundated.
And while a few sculptures were added post-Katrina, it’s hard to imagine how the pre-storm works survived the flood without damage. But survive they did.
NOMA’s sculpture garden is in the leafy City Park neighborhood and its eclectic collection of art from world-renowned masters such as Renoir, Rodin, and Magritte make an excellent change of pace from the city’s more … ahem … traditional diversions.
When disaster strikes art isn’t immune, but considering its history, it certainly lifts the spirit to see this world-class exhibit. So if you visit New Orleans, don’t miss this endearing symbol of survival and rebirth.
James & Terri
Last updated March 2, 2020