Thomas J Price ‘Time Unfolding’ added to New Orleans Museum of Art sculpture garden

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) has installed a new outdoor sculpture by artist Thomas J Price in the museum’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Price’s sculpture, titled Time Unfolding, 2023, is a nine-foot-tall statue of a woman looking down at her cell phone, seemingly paused in contemplation. The work is part of a series depicting everyday fictional subjects at a monumental scale—combining traditional sculpting and digital technology to question how society projects ideas and expectations through public space. 

“Through his work, Price has ignited important public conversations about space, monuments, and personhood,” Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA, said. “Price asks viewers to reconsider what a monument is—and what they can be—and how monuments can reimagine and reflect everyday lives.”

To create Time Unfolding and similar works, the artist combined observations from different subjects, incorporating 3D scanning imagery from an open call in Los Angeles. Since each work does not necessarily represent just one person, Price’s works push back against histories of racial profiling and the modern use of biometric tools to monitor individuals’ actions. 

Price often riffs on the tradition of canonical Western sculpture—as seen in the subtle classical contrapposto pose of the figure in Time Unfolding and in the artist’s decision to never cast figures at a one-to-one scale, prompting viewers to think about who should exist in monumental form.

This installation in NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden follows highly acclaimed public presentations of Price’s works in Rotterdam Centraal Station in 2023; by the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York’s Marcus Garvey Park in 2022, alongside a special commission by Hackney Town Council, London, to commemorate the Windrush Generation, also unveiled in 2022; and as part of the Line’s public art initiative in London in 2020. A selection of sculptures by Price are currently on view at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (through May 27, 2024) in dialogue with the institution’s historic collections. The artist’s touring European solo exhibition Matter of Place is on view at Kunsthalle Krems (through September 22, 2024).

Price lives and works in London.

Thomas J Price, Time Unfolding, 2023. Bronze.
Thomas J Price, Time Unfolding, 2023. Bronze. Museum Purchase with Gifted Funds from the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation, E-2024-9.1. © Thomas J Price.

The addition of Price’s Time Unfolding to NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which is part of the museum’s permanent collection, is supported by Walda Besthoff. The sculpture is now on view in the garden’s North Lawn near works by Ugo Rondinone, Sean Scully, Wangechi Mutu, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden is free and open to the public, seven days a week. Current spring and summer hours are 10 am–6 pm. The sculpture garden is free to visit.

The new installation is the first of three additions to the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in 2024. Later this year, the museum will unveil a commission by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, which takes the form of a 18-foot-tall diving board rising from the shore of the lagoon in the garden. NOMA will also install a new work by Sarah Sze, from the artist’s Fallen Sky series. Sze’s work was the subject of a major 2023 retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

About the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

NOMA’s 12-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden expands visitors’ experiences of the museum with one of the most notable sculpture gardens in the country. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden, free and open to the public seven days a week, has nearly 100 sculptures and outdoor works of art situated in a unique landscape featuring Spanish moss-laden live oaks and a sinuous lagoon surrounded by an expansive ecosystem of native plants. 

The works in the garden range from the 19th to the 21st centuries, with pieces by Auguste Rodin, Louise Bourgeois, Ida Kohlmeyer, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Bell, Sean Scully, Fred Wilson, Maya Lin, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Teresita Fernández, Ugo Rondinone, Hank Willis Thomas, and many others. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden features contemporary design elements—including a sculpture pavilion, an amphitheater, and an architecturally significant canal link bridge connecting the garden’s original 2003 footprint with a 2019 expansion.

Its water management practices support the health and resiliency of New Orleans City Park and the surrounding environment. Throughout the year, NOMA hosts outdoor programs in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden including festivals, performances, wellness classes, tours, and more.

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