NEW ORLEANS — Figures from three popular PBS programs will speak at the 2013 New Orleans Antiques Forum, presented by The Historic New Orleans Collection Aug. 1–4 in the French Quarter. Nicholas M. Dawes, an appraiser on “Antiques Roadshow” since its first American season, will discuss ceramics at the event. Holly H. Shimizu, a host of “Victory Garden” for 10 years, will examine southern gardens, and Richard Guy Wilson, a host of the 1990s program “America’s Castles,” will discuss American architecture and design.
The four-day forum is centered on talks by local and national decorative arts experts, plus social events, two optional preconference tours and an optional Sunday brunch. Registration for the event is currently open, and seats are still available for the sessions and the optional activities.
With the theme “Opulence and Intrigue: Exoticism in the 19th Century,” this year’s forum will examine the fascination with ancient and distant styles in decorative arts and architecture.
In addition to his work on “Antiques Roadshow,” Dawes, vice-president of special collections at Heritage Auctions, New York, has more than 40 years of experience in the antiques and auction business. He worked as a department head and auctioneer at Phillips and Sotheby’s while also managing an independent career as an antiques dealer, author, lecturer, auction consultant and charity auctioneer. Dawes’s talk on Sunday, Aug. 4, will take participants on a journey through Western ceramic art, from Napoleon through the Gulf South to “Downton Abbey,” illustrating treatment of the natural world and exotica before and after the revelations of Charles Darwin.
Shimizu is the executive direct of the US Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, as well as a former host of long-running PBS staple “Victory Garden.” The US Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in North America and the most-visited public garden. Under Shimizu’s direction, the property is experiencing a renaissance, including the renovation of the conservatory, the completion of the National Garden and continued creation of innovative exhibitions and inspiring gardens. Shimizu’s presentation at the New Orleans Antiques Forum on Friday, Aug. 2, will look at some of the great southern gardens and global influences on the architecture, design and plant selections of southern gardens in the 1800s.
Today, Wilson holds the Commonwealth Professor’s Chair in Architectural History at the University of Virginia, but in the ‘90s he was a frequent host and contributor to the former PBS program “America’s Castles” (1994–99). He has shared his expertise in architectural history as a frequent lecturer, a television commentator and as an author, with many articles, exhibitions and books on American and modern architecture to his credit. Wilson will address audiences on Friday, Aug. 2, to explore American architecture inspired by the Near, Middle and Far East.
The weekend will also include presentations by Priscilla Lawrence, John H. Lawrence and John T. Magill of The Historic New Orleans Collection; Jason T. Busch, chief curator and the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh; John Davis, Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art at Smith College; Ulysses Grant Dietz, curator of decorative arts at Newark Museum; Alison McQueen, professor of art history at McMaster University; and Donald A. Wood, curator of Asian art at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Tom Savage, director of museum affairs at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Delaware, is returning for the sixth year as the forum’s moderator.
Designed for a general audience, the forum sessions take place Friday–Sunday, at THNOC’s Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St. This year’s event—which was recently awarded a grant from the Louisiana Office of Tourism—will feature topics such as decorative arts at World’s Fairs, exotica-influenced Carnival designs, Chinese art and American artists who found inspiration in the Holy Land.
Those who register for this year’s program will once again have a choice of optional preconference tours—a day trip to visit two plantations and a Gothic revival church in south Louisiana (Lakeside in Batchelor, La., St. Mary of False River Catholic Church in New Roads, La. and Poplar Grove in Port Allen, La.) or a walking tour of the historic French Quarter with THNOC curator/historian John Magill. Following the final session on Sunday, forum participants will also have the option to join speakers and fellow participants for a brunch at New Orleans’s celebrated Antoine’s Restaurant. Separate registration is required for the preconference tours and the brunch.
Registration for this event is required, and rates start at $100. For a detailed event schedule or to register, visit www.hnoc.org/antiques.htm or call (504) 523-4662. The Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., is the host hotel for this event.