Dusti Bongé, Self Portrait—The Balcony (1943). Collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Dusti Bongé (1903–1993) was an actress, a debutante, Mississippi’s first Modern artist, and famed gallerist Betty Parsons’s close friend. Yet for many, her name remains wholly unfamiliar.
Now, “Piercing the Inner Wall: The Art of Dusti Bongé,” a retrospective at the Mississippi Museum of Art, is hoping to change that. The exhibition, which includes some 65 paintings, 29 works on paper, and three sculptures, offers an in-depth look at the experimental and kaleidoscopic career of this little-known artist, and charts how her early Cubist-inspired works grew into captivating Surrealist visions and elegant abstractions.
A new biography by curator J. Richard Gruber (Dusti Bongé, Art and Life: Biloxi, New Orleans, New York) also accompanies the exhibition. (The show was organized by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, where it first opened in 2019).