Blue Dog art by George Rodrigue

Blue Dog art by George Rodrigue

We saw some interesting and unusual art in New Orleans, notwithstanding the ubiquitous Blue Dog, an iconic image created by George Rodrigue, which the city seems to have adopted.  There was a sculpture of the Blue Dog in The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park.

This was not my favorite sculpture in the outdoor garden.  This sculpture park is free to the public, and it holds some wonderful pieces, like these, for example:

Henry Moore sculpture

Henry Moore sculpture



Robert Indiana

Robert Indiana “Love, Red Blue”

Do-ho Suh "Karma"

Do-ho Suh “Karma”

We also visited the New Orleans Museum of Art adjacent to the sculpture park.  There I saw two things that were especially unusual and clever and unique.

Bidou Yamaguchi made mask portraits in the Noh tradition of famous faces in art, such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.


"Kiss 2007" inspired by Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss"

“Kiss 2007” inspired by Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”

The museum also displayed pages from Tim Youd’s “100 Novels Project.”  This artist retyped 100 literary works, each on a single sheet of paper (with another sheet for backing) using the same model of typewriter that the book’s author used.  There was an aspect of performance with this art, as he sometimes typed in a setting appropriate to the books. The museum displayed only the finished one-page manuscripts and backing page.

This was "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman"

This was “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman”

And perhaps my most favorite art piece of all was one we stumbled across as we meandered through New Orleans’ City Park — “The Singing Oak” by Jim Hart.  What first caught our attention was the sound of wind chimes.  Hart installed seven wind chimes of various sizes (some were taller than my husband) in a lovely old live oak.  But what was most remarkable was that the chimes were tuned to the pentatonic scale, so the sound was very harmonious.  It was enchanting to stand and sit beneath the tree and listen to a symphony wrought by the gentle wind through the tree.

"The Singing Oak" in city Park

“The Singing Oak” in city Park






Cascading fullness of ginkgo leaves

Cascading fullness of ginkgo leaves

The sidewalks of New York’s East Village are lined with ginkgo trees which add a bright and welcome yellow to the street scenes there.  I’d never seen such large, mature ginkgo trees.  The ones I’ve seen in the parking strips of Seattle streets are spindly in comparison.  A label on a tree near Gramercy Park identified these ginkgos as “Maidenhair” trees.  I guess the cascading leaves do put me in mind of curly locks and tresses of fairy tale maidens.



It was uncanny how I kept encountering ginkgo trees and leaves on this visit to NYC.  I saw ginkgo leaves carved into a pillar at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens . . .


. . . and a miniature, groomed ginkgo in the bonsai exhibit there.


And then when I wandered through the “Beyond Love: The Robert Indiana Retrospective” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, I saw that he created a piece of ginkgo art:


So it’s probably no wonder that all of these encounters inspired me to render my own watercolor sketch of some ginkgo leaves.

My watercolor sketch of gingko leaves from the trees in the East Village

My watercolor sketch of ginkgo leaves from the trees in the East Village