The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

at the New Orleans Museum of Art

By New Orleans Museum of Art

NOMA Sculpture Garden Two, panorama (2019) by Sesthasak BoonchaiNew Orleans Museum of Art

The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is home to more than 90 sculptures by renowned artists from around the world, set within a picturesque landscape of native Louisiana trees and plants. Occupying eleven acres in City Park surrounding the New Orleans Museum of Art, The Besthoff Sculpture Garden opened to the public in 2003 with nearly 60 sculptures. In 2019, the garden doubled in size and added 26 sculptures by artists working primarily within the 21st century, many of which were commissioned especially for the unique setting.

Diana (1886, cast 1985) by Augustus Saint-GaudensNew Orleans Museum of Art

Augustus Saint-Gaudens's sculpture of the goddess Diana is one of the oldest works in the sculpture garden. Here, Diana balances delicately on her spherical base, seeming to defy gravity.

Modeled on Saint-Gaudens's longtime model and mistress, Davida Johnson Clark, Diana's keen sense of concentration gives a real human presence to an otherwise purely mythological subject.

Sitting Figures, 1979-80 (1979-1980) by Lynn ChadwickNew Orleans Museum of Art

Lynn Chadwick's Sitting Figures present a more abstracted view of the human form. Androgynous and inscrutable, these figures are reduced to sharp angular lines.

Chadwick believed that "art must be the manifestation of some vital force coming from the dark, caught by the imagination and translated by the artist's ability and skill."

River Form (1965) by Barbara HepworthNew Orleans Museum of Art

Barbara Hepworth's River Form recalls a pebble gently swept along in the current, smoothed by the constant motion of water moving across its surface.

"All my sculpture," Hepworth once said, "comes out of the landscape--the feel of years as one walks over it, the resistance, the weathering, the outcrops, the growth, structures...no sculpture really lives until it goes back into the landscape."

Barrier (Big Bird) (1967-1970) by Fritz BultmanNew Orleans Museum of Art

Fritz Bultman's Barrier (Big Bird) is part of a series of sculptures inspired by the burning of ancient Troy.

Bultman's signature rough surfaces were created by cutting, burnishing, and weathering the plaster before casting in bronze.

LOVE (red outside violet inside) (1966-1997) by Robert IndianaNew Orleans Museum of Art

Robert Indiana takes the word "love" from its usual place on the printed page, and transforms it into a larger than life, three-dimensional sculpture.

Indiana shows that art can be relatable and accessible to everyone by turning one of our most universal emotions—LOVE—into a work of fine art.

Monkeys (1998-2001) by Rona PondickNew Orleans Museum of Art

Rhona Pondick’s Monkeys are human-animal hybrids that ponder the nature of human evolution and the fragility of life.

Pondick sculpted the animal forms by hand, and used a digital scan of own head as a model for the human faces.

Window with Ladder - Too Late for Help (2008) by Leandro ErlichNew Orleans Museum of Art

Leandro Erlich originally installed Window with Ladder, Too Late for Help in a vacant lot in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina as part of the first installment of Prospect New Orleans in 2008.

Erlich grew up in a family of architects, and his fantastical architectural constructions often point out inequality and injustice, and imagine how we might build a better, more just world.

Travelin' Light (1999) by Alison SaarNew Orleans Museum of Art

Alison Saar’s Travelin Light explores the history of slavery in the United States. Named for a Billie Holiday song of the same title, the sculpture is also a bell that chimes mournfully when you pull a chain in the back.

Inspired by Japanese temple bells, the sculpture is a memorial to victims of violence and suffering all across the world.

Karma (2011) by Do-Ho SuhNew Orleans Museum of Art

Korean artist Do Ho Suh's Karma ascends to 23 feet, curving upwards like a spine in which each person acts as a vertebrae.

Each figure stands atop the previous one, demonstrating the interconnectedness of humanity, and how much we all rely on one another for support.

"The common misunderstanding," Suh says, "is that my work is a confrontation, a clash of cultures... It's more about interdependency and the way things coexist."

History of the Conquest (2017) by Hank Willis ThomasNew Orleans Museum of Art

Hank Willis Thomas's History of the Conquest reflects on global histories of colony and empire.

Thomas based History of Conquest on a seventeenth-century miniature sculpture composed of a real nautilus shell covered in silver and topped with a black enamel figure.

Enlarged to monumental scale and cast in solid bronze, Thomas transforms a negative stereotype from the past into a monumental hero for the present.

Epicurus (2017) by Pedro ReyesNew Orleans Museum of Art

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes’s Epicurus is constructed of volcanic stone, a material commonly used in the Ancient Americas to create sculpture as well as everyday tools and utensils for cooking—particularly metates for grinding corn.

Reyes’s sculptures encourage us to value everyday objects and experiences--particularly those that connect us to others such as food--as much as fine art.

Dumna (2015) by Ursula von RydingsvardNew Orleans Museum of Art

Polish sculptor Ursula Von Rydingsvard’s sculpture Dumna, which in Polish means “proud,” towers majestically over its viewers.

Cast in bronze, the rugged, heavily patinaed surface evokes the roughly weathered tree bark or rock formations that often inspire the artist’s work.

Rydingsvard’s process is painstakingly physical, often involving cutting, chiseling, assembling, and laminating to give life to the intricate surfaces of her works. This labor is infused with traumatic memory and emotion, as much of Von Rydingsvard’s childhood was spent in Nazi camps and postwar refugee sites until moving to the United States in 1959.

Colored Stacked Frames (2017) by Sean ScullyNew Orleans Museum of Art

Irish artist Sean Scully works exclusively with narrow color palettes and compositions, repeatedly stacking and interlocking different shapes and hues.

By keeping within such a limited range, Scully highlights the many layers of subtle differences that exist in the visible world.

The Mete of the Muse (2006; cast 4 from an edition of 5 + 2 AP) by Fred WilsonNew Orleans Museum of Art

Fred Wilson's two figures—one representing Ancient Egypt, and the other Ancient Rome—reflect on the interwoven histories of Africa and Europe.

Wilson purchased cheap plaster copies of ancient sculptures and had them cast them in bronze, covering the ancient Egyptian figure in a black patina and painting the classical Greco-Roman figure white.

The Mete of the Muse reflects on how our understanding of this history--which often valorizes Europe over Africa--has been shaped by larger racial and cultural biases.

Verstärker 28 (2017) by Gerold MillerNew Orleans Museum of Art

The title of Gerold Miller's Verstarker 28 is loosely translated from German as “amplifier.”

Verstarker reflects and intensifies its surroundings visually in all directions.

Mirror Labyrinth Besthoff Sculpture Garden (2017) by Jeppe HeinNew Orleans Museum of Art

Jeppe Hein is a Dutch artist who challenges the tradition of the passive viewer in art, activating his work with unconventional materials and technologies like mirrored surfaces and motion sensors.

In Mirror Labyrinth, Hein creates a circular maze of reflective panels that engulf us in a multitude of refracted images of ourselves and our surroundings, forcing us to work hard to find our way through.

Folding the Mississippi (1938) (2019) by Maya LinNew Orleans Museum of Art

Maya Lin’s Folding the Mississppi (1938), created specifically for The Besthoff Sculpture Pavilion, takes the meandering path of the Mississippi River as its source of inspiration.

Composed of hundreds of industrial marbles that bend and flow around the building’s architecture, the installation traces the entire pathway of the Mississippi River, from Northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

Viñales (Mayombe Mississippi) (2019) by Teresita FernándezNew Orleans Museum of Art

Teresita Fernandez's Viñales (Mayombe Mississippi) places New Orleans in a global context by drawing connections between scaled, geographic locations of continent, country, and city weaving the cultural, demographic, economic, and historical relationships between Africa, Cuba, and New Orleans.

The artist thinks of these connections as “stacked landscapes”- the idea that we are always in more than one place simultaneously. Here, landscape is understood as unearthing the hidden, post-colonial violence inherent in the landscape of the Americas and also includes the subterranean, the ancient, and the geological, not just the visible or the picturesque. It ultimately asks us to question who we are in relation to where we are.

Made of millions of hand-glazed and fired porcelain tesserae that have been meticulously assembled, the image comes from an actual malachite and turquoise mineral rock found in, what is now, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mississippi Meanders (2019) by Elyn ZimmermanNew Orleans Museum of Art

Elyn Zimmerman’s 70-foot glass bridge, created for NOMA, was inspired by WPA era maps of the Mississippi River that illustrated its changing course over time in swirling lines and stunning colors.

Installed directly over water, Glass Bridge - Mississippi Meanders shows us the layered history of New Orleans’s most defining geological feature, and also reminds us of water’s powerful proximity to our everyday lives.

Credits: Story

NOMA is grateful to the individuals, companies, and foundations who have supported the expansion of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

Sydney and Walda Besthoff

• • •

Virginia Besthoff
Collins C. Diboll Private Foundation
Charitable Lead Annuity Trust Under the Will of Louis Feil
Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen
Estate of Margaret B. Soniat
Paulette and Frank Stewart
Patrick F. Taylor Foundation

• • •

Ella West Freeman Foundation

• • •

Hancock Whitney
Tina and Robert Hinckley
Pixie and Jimmy Reiss

• • •

Carey Bond and Henry Lambert
Frischer Electric Company, Inc.
Goldring Family Foundation
Philip Y. DeNormandie
Cocie and Nancy Rathborne
Rathborne Land Company
Robinson Lumber Company
The RosaMary Foundation

• • •

2018 NOLA Foundation
Cathy and Morris Bart
Jay, Andree, Bailey, and Kelly Batt
Bryan Batt and Tom Cianfichi
E. John Bullard
Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation
Marla Garvey
Katherine and Tony Gelderman
Adrea D. Heebe
Dr. and Mrs. Harris Hyman, III
Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home and Cemeteries
The Lupin Foundation
Robert E. Smith Lupo and Mary L. Puissegur Lupo
Palmisano
Chuck and Anne Reily
Brian and Jacki Schneider
The Selley Foundation
Aimée Farnet Siegel and Michael J. Siegel
Liz and Poco Sloss
Pamela and Rob Steeg and Family
Teri and Rian Tanenbaum
Catherine Burns Tremaine
Robert John Axtell Williams and Norris Smith Lupo Williams

• • •

2019 NOMA Board of Trustees
The Azby Fund
Boh Bros. Construction Co. Centennial Fund
Cindy and Sam Farnet
Garden Study Club of New Orleans
Julie and Ted George
Leonard Davis, Sharon Jacobs, and Children
Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Mayer
Nuria R. Rowley
Suzanne and Bob Thomas
Melanee and Steve Usdin

• • •

Be-Be and Ken Adatto
Mrs. Isidore Cohn, Jr.
Al and Carol Merlin
Elizabeth and William Monaghan
Steven Montgomery and Brian Weatherford
Mimi Moyse-Schlesinger and Claude Schlesinger
Robert E. Zetzmann Family Foundation

• • •

Anne and Luis Baños
Hugh and Sheila Collins
The Sally Duplantier Family
Andrea and Jeffrey Huseman
James and Marguerite Lewis
Kristen and Janis van Meerveld

• • •

Young Fellows Meditation Path Donors
Hannah Blumenthal and Quentin Chu
Diana, Sean, Otis, and Luna Fisher
Marshall Hevron
J.P.Morgan Chase and Co.
Anne Kock
Beth and Austin Lavin
Lara and Clifford Mintz
Natalie and Ryan Nagim
Nathaniel A. Novak
Jessica L. Owens
Mary and Ryan Peters
Charlotte and Kevin Phillips
Adam Shapiro

• • •

John Cable and Andrea Andersson
Samuel M. Berman
Buddy Boe
Kathryn Casbarian
Brian and Courtenay Dufour
The Durand Family (Gian, Gigi, & Jon)
Thomas and Melissa Exnicios and Family
Chad Graci
Benjamin E. Karp
Margaux and Stew Krane
Dr. Tyra Mitchell
Taylor Morgan
The Randall-Gallagher Family
Walker and Margaret Saik
Monique Tourres and Cody Smith
Rebecca and Richard F. Weber, Jr.
Bryant S. York

• • •

Jenni Daniel and Sara Slaughter
Charlie and Tabby Marts
Elisabeth Rietvelt and Vignesh Krishnan
William Sadler
Claire Elizabeth Gallery/Claire Thriffiley

• • •

List of Works:
1. Installation view of Dumna and Colored Stacked Frames © Richard Sexton

2. Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Diana, 1886, cast 1985, Museum purchase, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Fund, 2010.144

3. Lynn Chadwick, Sitting Figures 1979-1980, Gift of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation, 98.131, © Estate of Lynn Chadwick

4. Barbara Hepworth, River Form, 1965, Gift of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation, 98.134, Barbara Hepworth © Bowness

5. Fritz Bultman, Barrier (Big Bird), 1967-1970, Gift of Jeanne Bultman, 2003.86, © Estate of Fritz Bultman

6. Robert Indiana, LOVE (red outside violet inside), 1966-1997, Museum purchase, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation Fund, 2004.119

7. Rona Pondick, Monkeys, 1998-2001, Gift of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation, 2003.84, © Rona Pondick

8. Leandro Erlich, Window with Ladder - Too Late for Help, 2008, Museum purchase, Frederick R. Weisman Company Fund and De-Accession Fund, 2009.21, © Leandro Erlich

9. Alison Saar, Travelin' Light, 1999, Museum purchase, Mrs. P. Roussel (Sunny) Norman 90th Birthday Fund from her family and friends, 2001.248, © Alison Saar

10. Do Ho Suh, Karma, 2011, Museum purchase, funds from Dorothy B. Skau, and Gift of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation, 2011.24, © Do Ho Suh. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul

11. Hank Willis Thomas, History of the Conquest, 2017, Museum purchase with funds provided by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2018.30, © Hank Willis Thomas

12. Pedro Reyes, Epicurus, 2017, Museum purchase with funds gifted by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2017.194, © Pedro Reyes; Courtesy Lisson Gallery

13. Ursula von Rydingsvard, Dumna, 2015, Museum purchase with funds gifted by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2019.6, © Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

14. Sean Scully, Colored Stacked Frames, 2017, Museum purchase with funds provided by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2017.192, © 2020 Sean Scully

15. Fred Wilson, The Mete of the Muse, 2006, Museum purchase with funds provided by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2017.191.a,.b, © Fred Wilson, Courtesy Pace Gallery

16. Gerold Miller, Verstarker 28, 2017, Museum purchase with funds provided by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2018.4, © Gerold Miller

17. Jeppe Hein, Mirror Labyrinth, 2017, Museum purchase with funds provided by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2019.4, © Jeppe Hein, Mirror Labyrinth Besthoff Sculpture Garden, 2018

18. Maya Lin, Folding the Mississippi (1938), 2019, 2020.3, © Maya Lin Studio

19. Teresita Fernández, Gallery Wall, 2019, Museum purchase with funds provided by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2019.2, © Teresita Fernández

20. Elyn Zimmerman, Mississippi Meanders, 2019, Museum purchase with funds provided by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, © Elyn Zimmerman


The New Orleans Museum of Art is grateful to the individuals, companies, and foundations who have supported the expansion of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. NOMA gratefully acknowledges New Orleans City Park for their ongoing partnership.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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