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Variety at the Ogden

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  The Michael Brown and Linda Green Collection, one of the first major donations to the Ogden Museum after its inception, captures much of the spirit of New Orleans art from the 1960s through the 1990s. Many were emerging artists when computer entrepreneur Michael Brown and his spouse, Linda Green, discovered them, and this expo offers a glimpse into their slow-brew connoisseurship. It's also nostalgic. Few artists epitomize the wacky visionary side of New Orleans art more than the late Noel Rockmore, and the small sample here complements his haunting Preservation Hall Portraits mini-expo in the adjacent gallery. Then there is Peter Dean, whose carnivalesque expressionism was better received here than back home in New York. Also evident is the pervasive influence of Louisiana Imagist painters like Robert Warrens, whose I Cried a River Over You manic-aquatic interior seascape compares with anything produced by the Chicago Imagists. Similarly, Fred Trenchard's quirky 1970s Imagist paintings neatly encapsulate the tenor of the times. While there is much interesting work on view, it was especially nostalgic to once again peruse the New American Scene paintings of Justin Forbes, who after Hurricane Katrina moved to Denton, Texas, where he remains. His 1990s New Orleans hipster canvases like Neo-American Gothic (pictured) are lushly executed evocations of the period, like a painterly, latter day Jack Kerouac worldview on canvas.

  The Saratoga Collection, curated by Terrence Sanders for Marcel Wisznia's Saratoga Building project, focuses on edgy and urbane imagery. The 41 mostly emerging artists associated with the St. Claude arts district comprise a surprisingly cohesive mix ranging from Rex Dingler's red-splattered "Somewhere in the City this Blood is Real" stenciled-sign painting to Generic Art Solutions' fluorescent "OK" wall sculpture. There also are a number of photographs, some videos and a few more painterly canvases and mixed-media pieces, but most works convey a graphic edge that is as passionately opinionated as the city that inspired them. — D. Eric Bookhardt

The Michael Brown and Linda Green Collection

Through Jan. 2

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9650, www.ogdenmuseum.org

Emerge: The Saratoga Collection of 41 New Orleans Artists

Through Dec. 15

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9650, www.ogdenmuseum.org

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