If you’ve been keeping up with museum news, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of exciting new additions that have been added to our collection! In order to introduce you to one of those works, we’ll be temporarily turning the blog over to Mark White, the Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art!
A LETTER FROM OUR DIRECTOR…
Many of you have seen the recent installation of contemporary art in our Sandy Bell Gallery, much of which is comprised of recent donations and gifts to the collection. The important gift from artist Ed Ruscha is not to be missed, though recent gifts from artists Melvin and Rose Smith, artist DeLoss McGraw, Florence Deighton, Sarah Iselin, Karl Williams, and the late Jim Henkle have contributed significantly to the current installation. I also wanted to acknowledge our good friend Carol Beesley, who recently donated Ford Beckman’s Pop Target (2013) in honor of Dr. Joy Reed Belt for her support of Beckman’s career.
Beckman attended Oral Roberts University in the 1970s on a golf scholarship and went on to a celebrated career as a fashion designer and artist. In the 1990s, he began a series of paintings that reinvestigated Pop art, its iconography, and its relationship to both art history and mass culture. His Pop Target looks to the work of Jasper Johns as well as Minimalist Kenneth Noland, both of whom used the target as a form in the 1960s; however, Beckman has employed the target for a purpose closer to the original intent by hurling paint at it. His approach undermines the seriousness with which art history had invested the targets of Johns and Noland in favor of playfulness and absurdity.
Beckman has been linked to Neo-geo, or neo-geometric conceptualism, an art movement that both reevaluated earlier styles and critiqued the geometric systems that dominate modern life from the grid of city streets to the structure of a flow chart. The whimsy of Beckman’s approach and his use of fluorescent colors in Pop Target challenges the rationality of geometry and the gravity of art historical icons.
Pop Target and other works were produced in Tulsa, where Beckman returned in the 2000s. Dr. Belt began promoting Beckman’s work in Oklahoma during this time. Pop Target will soon be installed in the Sandy Bell Gallery alongside the recent donations that have enriched the museum’s holdings in contemporary art.