Off the Wall: Adkins Gallery Rotation

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

Written while trying to understand why Peepza exists.



For today’s blog post, I got some help from Hadley Jerman, the museum’s Eugene B. Adkins Assistant Curator, to give you a rundown on everything you need to know about the Adkins Gallery’s recent rotation. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is home to many fantastic collections, from French Impressionism to Asian objects of ancient origin. Today, we’ll be sharing with you some changes that are affecting the museum’s Adkins Gallery, which contains our current portion of the Eugene B. Adkins Collection. If you found this page while attempting to research diet fads, I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. But it’s okay–like the Atkins diet, the Adkins collection is completely carb free! (We do discourage visitors from eating the artwork.) Since 2007, we have been joint stewards of the Adkins Collection with the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Adkins Collection is valued at approximately $50 million and includes around 3,300 objects. The collection features distinguished American artists such as Maynard Dixon, Nicolai Fechin, and Leon Gaspard–to name only a few. The Adkins Collection also features impressive examples of Native American paintings, pottery, and jewelry by famed artists like Jerome Tiger, Maria Martinez, and Charles Loloma.

What’s New?

Last fall, we rotated 15 objects in the Adkins gallery–primarily consisting of works on paper. This rotation affected the Fechin works, as well as watercolors and prints in the Arizona section of the gallery. We added several colorful panels in the Adkins galleries that highlight topics like conservation and textiles. These informative panels will rotate regularly to provide visitors with a dynamic experience during return visits to the museum. Some works, however, like Going East by Ufer will remain in place (that is, until it eventually ‘goes east’ to Tulsa!). Why make information panels when we already have labels, you ask? That’s a great question. Labels can only tell you so much about a work–and generally, they only offer basic information like the artist’s name and origin, the work’s title and year of creation, and sometimes a brief summary of why the work is relevant. Panels give us a chance to share interesting facts and get into the meat of the history of these works. Conservation has resulted in some fascinating discoveries–the kind of things that wouldn’t usually be noted on a label. The panels allow our curator to highlight these kinds of things so that visitors can fully appreciate the works in the gallery. Plus, the conservation panel in particular allows us to show our visitors how the Adkins Foundation’s funding has truly been of service to the collection!

Gallery Accessories

Another new addition to the Adkins Gallery is a collection of Artist Cards. Find them at the top of the stairs, or immediately off of the elevator, and take them with you as you peruse the collection! They provide information about the artists behind the works and also offer a few guiding questions to get you thinking as you explore the gallery. Plus, they are displayed in beautiful, wooden cases handmade by our Preparation team at OU’s Innovation Hub.

Things to Look For

One work that you shouldn’t miss when visiting the Adkins Collection is Conrad Buff’s lithograph, Black Canyon. Located in the Arizona section of the gallery, this work is a black and white aerial view of a gaping canyon. It is installed next to the Maynard Dixon landscapes because both Buff and Dixon were California-based artists who were enthralled with the desert. Dixon said they often, “went east to see the west.”

Click on image for caption.

See These Before They’re Gone

A special portion of this rotation features a couple of paintings that are technically assigned to the Philbrook. One is Barbara Latham’s Gathering Aspens for San Geronimo Day. The other is Andrew Dasburg’s Untitled. Find them hanging in the Taos section along the north wall of the gallery before they return to their home in Tulsa!

Click on image for caption.

One More Thing…

The works on paper in the Adkins Gallery will rotate once again this spring. Details are still being worked out, but works like the Conrad Buff lithograph will likely be coming down in the next few weeks; if you want to see it, you should visit soon!


Fun Fact: Conrad Buff is supposedly responsible for introducing Maynard Dixon to Zion National Park. Buff claimed that during a gallery opening in Los Angeles in the early 1930s, Dixon approached him to ask where Buff had painted one of his dramatic landscapes. Two months later, Dixon and his wife at the time (photographer Dorothea Lange) were headed to Utah to see Zion for themselves.


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