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Folk Art in the Big Easy:
Visual Excitement
in the city of Wine, Food and Jazz


New Orleans is a complex metropolis with a distinctive multi-cultural base offering some real thrills for visitors who are inclined to peruse galleries and shops. One, Barrister’s Gallery, has become an institution in the Big Easy. It’s a spectacular folk art gallery, regarded as one of the country’s finest. It combines the vernacular works of southern self-taught masters with an outstanding African art collection, sur
rounded by a mixture of Haitian and Voodoo carvings. If you look closely, you might find a shrunken head or two.

Owned and managed for over two decades by Professor Andy Antippas, who is the sole representative of many of the artists exhibited, Barrister’s Gallery relocated to more spacious quarters after a long run as a major Royal Street attraction. “We needed more space,” said the Professor recently, “and we do have some very imposing objects in our inventory.”

With 9,000 square feet of floor space and 28- foot ceilings, the paintings and objects seem to jump at you. It’s quite a forum for artists whose works often evoke the spirit of the doomed, damned and disenchanted. In between glasses of great wine, dinners at gourmet restaurants and the delight of live jazz performances, Barrister’s Gallery might be that special extra you’ve been looking for to enrich your New Orleans visit.

Simply put, when you walk in the door to this spacious gallery, you’re going to stay for a few hours and leaving is a chore complicated by an urge to buy something because you know you aren’t going to see anything like it again anytime soon. For example, a recent exhibition which was described as provocative New Orleans Noire, subtitled, The City That God Forgot. was a mixture of creations by local artists which displayed the seamy underbelly of the city.

Esteemed folk art collector and critic Bruce Shelton of Nashville described Barrister’s as “the best of it’s kind; pure excitement filled with unbridled energy.”

Barrister’s Gallery is located at 1724 Oretha Castle Blvd., and is open Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 504.525.2767. The gentleman answering the phone will be Professor Andy.

 

 

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