Sunday, July 3, 2011
This large and varied ANCESTORS OF CONGO SQUARE expo reflects his discriminating yet relentless efforts, so it may come as a surprise that it was originally planned not as an exhibition but as a book. Many years in the making and produced by London's Scala publishing house, it premiered this past May as a massive 376 page hardback featuring some 225 color illustrations and 48 essays by leading scholars. Since Congo Square was the main locus of this city's African culture long before the museum existed, incorporating it in the title was more than appropriate. After all, Congo Square was the only place in America where slaves and free people of color could gather on Sunday afternoons to celebrate their cultural heritage, which in turn helped make New Orleans what it is today.
ANCESTORS OF CONGO SQUARE: African Art in the New Orleans Museum of Art,
Through July 17, New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, 658-4100; www.noma.org