Off the Wall: Happy New Year! 2017 Update

Welcome to Off the Wall. We’ve skimmed the news around the museum, and want to share the highlights with you.

Written while wishing I could wear gloves as I’m typing. *Brr*



We have an exciting year ahead of us at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art! Leaving 2016 behind us, museum staff have been busily planning a plethora of new exhibitions, exciting programs, and fabulous fundraisers for you to enjoy.


2017 is brimming with incredible exhibitions–a few of which are already on display for your viewing pleasure! The Cultivated Connoisseur: Works on Paper from the Creighton Gilbert Bequest is on display through June 4, 2017 in the Ellen and Richard L. Sandor Photography Gallery. Creighton Eddy Gilbert (1924-2011) was a renowned art historian who specialized in the Italian Renaissance. Fun (?) fact, he was one of the world’s foremost authorities on Michelangelo. After attaining a doctorate from New York University and teaching at Indiana University in Bloomington, he served as a curator at the Ringling Museums. I’ve never been to there but I hear it’s kind of a circus. His other many achievements include professorships at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, Queens College in New York, Harvard University, Cornell University, and Yale University. He served as editor-in-chief of Art Bulletin, one of the leading journals of art historical research, and was extensively published throughout his career. He left his private collection to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, a bequest that includes a total of 272 objects, the majority of which are works on paper spanning a time period from the fourteenth century to the twentieth.

Also already on display is the Education Gallery’s current installation, ArtEDGE. Exemplifying the incredibly diverse examples of art found within our walls, this exhibition features works by seventh-and eighth-grade students from Norman public schools. During the fall of 2016, select students discovered the place where art and technology collide. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Bizzell Memorial Library, and the School of Visual Arts at the University of Oklahoma collaborated to offer ArtEDGE to 50 students who spent a day on the Norman campus viewing, discussing, and creating works of art. From honing observation skills to practicing imagination and drawing exercises, students were introduced to a new way of thinking about art. The installation consists of both individual works on paper and collaborative sculpture creations. Interest piqued? Check out last week’s Guest Blog Post about ArtEDGE!


Get out your phone, day-planner, puppy calendar, or whatever it is you use to write dates down in and mark this day: January 26, 2017. That is the night that PHOTO/SYNTHESIS, our spring exhibition, opens to the public. This exhibition of photography by Will Wilson (U.S., Navajo; b. 1969) will dramatically shift centuries-old preconceptions of Native communities by adding to the body of Native American portraiture in Oklahoma. Photographer Edward S. Curtis created portraits of Native Americans in 1927 that shaped the image of Native people for generations. Wilson’s work responds to Curtis’s portraits through photographs of descendants from the same communities. Through collaboration with seven tribal communities, the project rejects the premise of the “vanishing” Indian implied in Curtis’s portraits and Native stereotypes. Wilson’s work counters the historicizing effect of Curtis’s images by using an outdated tintype photography process to document contemporary indigenous people. PHOTO/SYNTHESIS presents the work of both artists as ‘family portraits’ — side-by-side — to create a community family photo album. The opening for this impactful exhibition kicks off at 7 p.m. with a lecture by Wilson, followed by a reception of heavy hors d’oeuvres from Benvenuti’s Ristorante.

If you come to the PHOTO/SYNTHESIS opening on the 26th, you’ll also get to see Abbreviated Portrait Series: Poteet Victory. In this exhibition, Cherokee/Choctaw artist Poteet Victory distills portraits of celebrities and other iconic figures to the most minimal forms and associated colors (look for a very Purple Rain tribute to Prince when you visit the exhibition). Victory has long been fascinated with Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Wassily Kandinsky: a group who were also interested in exploring the power of symbols and colors.


Student art will return to the museum for the 103rd time with the 103rd Annual School of Visual Arts Student Exhibition, kicking off with a public reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on April 20.

In June, discover Picher, Oklahoma, a onetime boomtown that is now one of the nation’s most toxic Superfund sites. Picher, Oklahoma: Catastrophe, Memory, and Trauma will feature a photo essay by OU School of Visual Arts faculty member Todd Stewart.


Educational programs return in 2017! Art Adventures will start back on January 3, 2017, at the usually time (10:30 a.m.) in the usual place (Dee Dee and Jon R. Stuart Classroom). If you’ve never been to Art Adventures, and you have children or grandchildren ages 3 to 5, you won’t want to miss this fun and engaging program! Your child could be a mini Monet or young O’Keeffe — let them experience art through books and projects that will bring out their inner artist!

On March 5 and June 11 we will offer Family Days from 1 to 4 p.m. in the classroom! Experience our special exhibitions and permanent collection through hands-on art activities that are fun for the whole family.

Tuesday Noon Concerts are also returning to the museum! The first concert will take place on Jan. 24 at noon in the Catlett Music Center–but all following concerts will take place in the museum’s Sandy Bell Gallery.


Join us for our annual Museum Association day trip to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas on January 24! We’ll be exploring Monet: The Early Years, a groundbreaking exhibition that is the first ever to be devoted to the young genius of Claude Monet.

The museum’s Membership Association always manages to put the ‘fun’ in fundraiser, and this year’s Toast to the Arts is no exception! Scheduled for February 24, this year’s event is titled “Toast to the Arts: Bubbles and Blossoms.” The ‘blossoms’ are in reference to this year’s partnership with local florists to present breathtaking floral arrangements inspired by artwork in the museum. Mark your calendar; you don’t want to miss it!


If you’re having information overload, just mark your calendar with the following dates and times!


JAN. 1 – Cultivated Connoisseur (through June 4)
JAN. 1 – ArtEDGE (through late March)
JAN. 24, 12 p.m. – First Tuesday Noon Concert (Catlett Music Center)
JAN. 24, 7 a.m. – Spring Association Trip to Kimbell Art Museum
JAN. 26, 7-9 p.m. – PHOTO/SYNTHESIS opening lecture and reception


FEB. 7, 1 p.m. –  PHOTO/SYNTHESIS Gallery Talk
FEB. 11, 2 p.m. – PHOTO/SYNTHESIS Exchange: an Un-Symposium
FEB. 24, 7 p.m. – Toast to the Arts: Bubbles and Blossoms
FEB. 28, 1 p.m. – The Abbreviated Portrait Series: Poteet Victory: “Finding Originality” Lecture


MARCH 5, 1 p.m. – Family Day


APRIL 4, 12 p.m. – Last Tuesday Noon Concert
APRIL 20, 7 p.m. – 103rd Annual School of Visual Arts Student Exhibition opening reception
APRIL 27, 6 p.m. – 103rd Annual School of Visual Arts Student Exhibition Fast Friends program


JUNE 2, 7 p.m. – Media Mixer
JUNE 11, 1 p.m. – Family Day
JUNE 13, 10 a.m. – Picher, Oklahoma: Catastrophe, Memory, and Trauma open to the public


Soft Opening: Not how you open the door when you think someone is napping. When we say an exhibition will have a ‘soft opening,’ that means that it will simply be on display without a reception or formal opening party. Some of our exhibitions this year will have a soft opening (Picher, Oklahoma, for example), but look for updates about closing receptions and other related events!


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