NEW ORLEANS, LA.-
William Pittman Andrews has been named director of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans
, in New Orleans, La. Andrews will start on Jan. 2, 2012.
The 41-year-old native of Starkville, Miss., has been the director of the University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses since 2009, where he was also an adjunct assistant professor of art at the university. While he was director, Andrews worked to establish a vital museum community in the town of Oxford, Miss., well known for its vibrant culture of literary and visual arts.
We are thrilled to have found someone with Williams enormous energy and vision, as well as his deep knowledge of Southern art, says Julia Reed, chair of the Ogden Museums board of trustees. We are looking forward to his leading the Museum into the next phase by expanding the museums already excellent programming, as well as its resources.
Andrews guiding principle has been to follow ideas that place the museum at the center of a participatory public culture, to offer, in his words, the museum as a place where people come to do things and to interact with each other, not just to look at things.
At the Ogden Museum, Andrews is looking forward to leading the institution into the early stretch of its second decade. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art should be mentioned in the same conversations with museums like the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, says Andrews. Both of these institutions, with exhibitions like The Quilts of Gee's Bend and William Eggleston: Democratic Camera - Photographs and Video, 1961-2008, display an interest in how art of the American South fits into the broad category of American Art.
Andrews looks forward to taking the Ogden Museum further afield. The road of history is a two-way street, and we look forward to originating nationally traveling exhibitions from the Ogden that confront the nature of art of the South, and promote its presence in contemporary discussions about art being made in America today, says Andrews, adding that the definition of the South is somewhat flexible. At different times, the idea of the South has been fluid enough to contain geographies from Texas to Delaware. Through its arts and culture, we plan to explore what being Southern means at its basic level.
Prior to joining the University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses, Andrews was at Mississippi State University, where he was the project manager of the Visual Arts Center (2007-2009). He was a founding member, board of directors at the Starkville (Mississippi) Area Arts Council (1996-2006); gallery director, College of Art, Architecture, Art and Design, Mississippi State University (2003-2009); founder, Mississippi Museum Fund/Mississippi Gulf Coast Art Rescue (2005); adjunct instructor, department of art, Mississippi State University (1996-2003); and owner, Main Street Gallery in Starkville (1994-2000).
Andrews graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Sculpture in 1993, and received a Masters of Fine Arts from Mississippi State University in Electronic Visualization. As an artist, Andrews has had a number of solo exhibitions at museums, such as the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Miss. and the E.E. Bass Cultural Center in Greenville, Miss., as well as group exhibitions in Atlanta, Ga., Washington, D.C., Boston, Mass., Brooklyn, N.Y., and St. Louis, Mo.
At the University of Mississippi Museum, Andrews oversaw an increase of 35 percent in attendance, and produced such high-profile exhibitions as a survey of Gees Bend quilts while establishing a stronger presence for the permanent collections in classical antiquities, American art, and folk art from the American South.
Other exhibitions Andrews produced include: Valerie Jaudon: White; Faulkners Geographies: A Photographic Journey; Theora Hamblett: Seasons; Southern Folk Art: Learning from the Self-Taught; American Masters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast: George Ohr, Dusti Bongé, Walter Anderson and Richmond Barthé; and The Civil Rights Struggle: African-American GIs and Germany.
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans is home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world, and includes the Center for Southern Craft and Design. The Museum was established as an affiliate of University of New Orleans in 1994. It opened in a temporary gallery on Julia Street in 1999, then moved to its current location, Stephen Goldring Hall, in New Orleanss Warehouse Arts District, in 2003. The Museums initial collection included 1,200 pieces that businessman and philanthropist Roger H. Ogden donated to the Museum, which today, through donations by artists and collectors, has grown to more than 4,000 pieces of art.
J. Richard Gruber, Ph.D., now Director Emeritus, was director from 1999 to 2009. Lisa McCaffety-Scott, Acting Director since 2010, will return to her position as Chief Operating Officer.
In addition to Goldring Hall, there are two buildings under construction and renovation: the Clementine Hunter Education Wing and the Patrick F. Taylor Library, designed by American 19th-century architect, Henry Hobson Richardson. Among the many artists represented in the Museums collection are Benny Andrews, Walter Anderson, William Dunlap, Ida Kohlmeyer, Will Henry Stevens, Hunt Slonem and George Ohr.