Welcome to Off the Wall. We’ve gathered news from around the museum and want to share the highlights with you.
Written while finding out which type of emoji heart I am.
SUNNY WITH A CHANCE OF ART
If you’ve been by the museum this summer, you have probably noticed that there are a lot of new things to see! From toxic Superfund sites and found objects to indoor works by outdoor artists, there’s nothing monotonous about the works we have on display. The FJJMA building can be a little confusing to navigate, and the multiple floors and wings sometimes makes it easy to miss something amazing. To avoid this kind of unfortunate art-astrophe, we’re going to give you a quick rundown about what’s new, what’s leaving soon, and what you definitely don’t want to miss!
DUST IN THE WIND
Picher, Oklahoma: Catastrophe, Memory, and Trauma is on display in the museum’s Nancy Johnston Records Gallery through Sept. 10! This exhibition centers around the northeastern Oklahoma town of Picher, a one-time boomtown known for lead and zinc mining that ultimately proved to be its undoing. Picher was designated the nation’s most toxic Superfund site in 2006, just two years before a devastating tornado destroyed what little remained of the Picher community. Today, Picher is nestled into the toxic, man-made mountain range of chat piles left behind by the mining company. Lead dust from these piles permeates the town, from the air to the groundwater. The exhibition consists of photographs depicting the abandoned town and found objects left behind by the hurriedly relocated former residents. Tables in the exhibition are filled with objects–smiling faces peer out from family photographs found in the town, juxtaposed with crushed and ruined everyday items of small-town life. A gray wall of photographs stretches across one side of the exhibition, depicting the devastation left by both man and nature–twisted metal signs contorted by high wind; toxic, copper-colored streams. Once you’ve explored the exhibition, take a moment to visit the Education Space. Ask yourself what it would be like to leave behind some of the objects seen in the exhibition, and take a moment to jot down your thoughts. Use one of the prompt cards in the space if you need inspiration. If you’re museum-ing with children, this space is a great opportunity to give them some hands-on creativity time after all of the “no touching!” Finally, be sure to take a moment to watch the video at the back of the exhibition to learn more about Picher from the photographer, an art historian, and an environmental scientist! (You can also watch it here from the comfort of your pajamas!)
Image Credit | Todd Stewart (U.S., b. 1963) | Chat Pile, 2008 | Inkjet print, 40×50 in. | Image courtesy of the artist
SOME body TO LOVE
In a world where our differences often seem to outweigh our commonalities, it’s refreshing to remember that we all have something in common: these lovely, fleshy machines we call our bodies. Long before art was ever referred to as ‘art,’ and certainly before we ever felt compelled to display that art in a museum, the human body starred as the subject of innumerable, diverse forms of work. Body presents a curated collection of works from the museum’s very own collection–but don’t let that drive your perspective. The works represented are far from uniform. From realistic depictions to abstract suggestions of the human form, this exhibition will challenge your concept and perspective of the human body. The works have been curated to address the many ways that the human body has been used in art–from movement, fragmentation, and mechanization, to geometry, identity, and the changing perceptions of the human body throughout history. Finding the exhibition might be a bit of a challenge, but it’s worth it! Wander all the way up to the museum’s mezzanine, where the exhibition is on display in the Ellen and Richard L. Sandor Photography Gallery. Body is co-curated by Sherri Irvin, Presidential Research Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Gender Studies, and heather ahtone, James T. Bialac Associate Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art. The human body is a wonderful thing, but some work in this exhibition may be considered graphic, so we want to encourage you to view at your own discretion.
Image Credits | Paul Cézanne (France, 1839-1906) | Les Baigneurs (The Bathers), 1896-97 | Lithograph, 11x14in. | Gift O.B. Jacobson, 1930s
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE
Scanning the Oklahoma horizon, you’re sure to see many of the things depicted in the work of artist Joe Andoe. Church steeples, highway markers, livestock and trees regularly occur in his work, alluding to his upbringing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Joe Andoe: Horizons is on view in the museum’s Ellen and Richard L. Sandor Gallery. Now, before you ask, I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t body on display in that gallery?? That’s a great question, because this is very confusing. The museum has two separate galleries bearing the Sandor name–the Ellen and Richard L. Sandor Gallery, and the Ellen and Richard L. Sandor Photography Gallery. The latter is located on the third floor in the museum’s mezzanine, and the former is located in the museum’s lower level, adjacent to the Nancy Johnston Records Gallery. So, back to the exhibition: Andoe earned his MFA at the University of Oklahoma, and went on to earn his first solo exhibition in 1985, only five years after graduating from OU. His work is held in prominent collections like the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. If you’re looking for a moment of calm in a busy day, Horizons is the perfect place to enjoy the still beauty of the natural world depicted in monochromatic serenity.
Joe Andoe (U.S., b. 1955) | Untitled (Oak Leaves), 1995 | Oil on paper, 22 1/4 x 25 in. | Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art | The University of Oklahoma, Norman | Gift of Scot Andoe, 2001
INSIDE/OUT of THIS WORLD
The Education Gallery is a special space within the museum, because each rotation is specifically curated to teach you something–from art appreciation and your perspective, to finished products from educational programming. The newest installation in the Education Gallery focuses on work by artists who also have pieces outside. Outdoor sculptures can be found all over campus, but several of the same artists are also featured in the museum’s “indoor” collection. Inside/Out explores the inspiration and development of these public art works while making connections to pieces in the galleries. Some works are easily recognizable as the indoor-version of an outdoor work–like Pastoral Dreamer by David Phelps. But other artists are more difficult to recognize when making a comparison, such as the work of James Surls.
Image Credit | James Surls (U.S., b. 1943) | Needle Woman with Two Flowers, 2000 | Bronze and steel, 190x48x60 in. | Gift of Mark Landrum, 2013
We have three temporary exhibitions currently on display, as well as our permanent collection installations! Picher, Oklahoma: Catastrophe, Memory, and Trauma is open through September 10, 2017. Body is on display through Dec. 30, 2017, and Joe Andoe: Horizons is open through Sept. 10, 2017. The closing date for Inside/Out has not been set yet, but more information will be available on the museum website soon!