up arrow No (m)Ohr Ohr? Biloxi Museum is Hurting

 

When the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art opened in Biloxi, Mississippi it was greeted with skepticism. After all, when you think of the ‘Redneck Riviera’ the fine arts don’t generally come to mind.

But Biloxi is home to George Ohr, the experimental American ceramics artist whose work can be seen as a harbinger of abstract form which became popular in the mid-20th century. If the location wasn’t the best cultural fit, Mississippi certainly seemed like the proper place to showcase the Mad Potter of Biloxi.

Sadly, it seems, the naysayers might be right. The museum is teetering on the edge of failure just one year after its opening. The Ohr has exhausted its grant money and revenues aren’t enough to cover operating expenses. Out of options, the trustees asked Biloxi for financial assistance but this isn’t the best economic climate to approach a municipality with one’s hat in hand.

The O’Keefe Foundation voted to extend another hundred thousand dollars which will cover the museum’s electric bill for a year but its salaries alone amount to $450,000.00 a year. It’s hard to imagine the Ohr will be open a year from now….

 

  • http://www.rohrshack.com David Rohrshack

    Why is anyone surprised? Who would expect either the people from that region or the kind of person who goes there to gamble to appreciate the work of the master potter George E.Ohr. He wasn’t appreciated by them when he was alive and it is doubtful that he is appreciated properly at this time. The people in the northeast, who are the collectors, do appreciate his work. I think that his collection should be shown at the Folk Art Museum in New York. Ohr was indeed a folk artist. George Ohr’s work has inspired me to at first collect and then produce ceramics in his wonderful abstract style. While the museum in his name may not survive these terrible economic times his work will forever.

    Dr. david R-OHR-shack

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003423366564 Dariya

      Much to your surprise, there are folks in the Deep South who apipecrate culture. There is actually a corridor of nationally known museums along the Redneck Riviera : Pensacola Museum of Art, Mobile Museum of Art, Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, The Contemporary Arts Center, Louisiana State University Museum of Art, Louisana Arts & Science Museum, The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana State Museums among others. Everyone is criticizing the Ohr-O’Keefe, but fails to mention their outstanding exhibitions, including Andy Warhol, Richmond Barthe, Herman Leonard jazz photography and William Dunlap and I understand that additional exceptional exhibitions are planned for the future. I myself am an art and Ohr collector from the South. Believe it or not, some of us apipecrate art. No one mentions the heroic efforts of the Gulf Coast museums, residents and businesses to rebound from Hurricane Katrina and the loss of tourism due to the oil spill.

  • “Redneck” Art Collector

    Much to your surprise, there are folks in the Deep South who appreciate culture. There is actually a corridor of nationally known museums along the “Redneck Riviera”: Pensacola Museum of Art, Mobile Museum of Art, Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, The Contemporary Arts Center, Louisiana State University Museum of Art, Louisana Arts & Science Museum, The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana State Museums…among others. Everyone is criticizing the Ohr-O’Keefe, but fails to mention their outstanding exhibitions, including Andy Warhol, Richmond Barthe, Herman Leonard jazz photography and William Dunlap…and I understand that additional exceptional exhibitions are planned for the future. I myself am an art and Ohr collector from the South. Believe it or not, some of us appreciate art. No one mentions the heroic efforts of the Gulf Coast museums, residents and businesses to rebound from Hurricane Katrina and the loss of tourism due to the oil spill.

  • Collector of Fine Art

    It is sad that these tragic events of Katrina and the economy have put enormous pressure on a cutural treasure the Ohr O’Keefe Museum.
    This museum is a cultural treasure of some of the greatest artists of the ninetenth and twentieth century. I would like to update Dr. David that if he wants to see a Northeast collection of George Ohr pottery he should go to the Metropolitan Museum or Art and not the Folk Art Museum. The Ohr pottery was the forerunner of a many great ceramic artists today. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.
    The folk Art Museum is closed and was bought by MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). MOMA also has a collection of the master ART potter GEORGE E. OHR