The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is celebrating the reinstallation of modern art with the help of some new friends. Austin band White Denim and guest speaker Bill Goldston, director of Universal Limited Art Editions New York, are just a few of the guests scheduled for the exhibition opening, which starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 4. Several events are planned for the evening, which is free and open to the public.
As part of this fall’s upcoming opening of the new Stuart Wing and reopening of the newly renovated original building, the University of Oklahoma’s art museum is reinstalling works of contemporary and modern art from its permanent collection. The Sandy Bell Gallery, formerly the museum’s location for such works, has been utilized as a rotating exhibition gallery since construction began in spring 2009.
“Our excitement for October’s grand opening of the Stuart Wing is so contagious, we can’t wait to share it with the community,” said Ghislain d’Humières, director of the museum. “We’ve packed so much into the June 4 weekend. If you’ve never visited the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, this will be an unforgettable event you will not want to miss.”
To celebrate, the museum kicks off a weekend of events Friday, June 3, with live music from 5 to 9 p.m. by OU School of Music instructor Ricardo Coelho de Souza’s ensemble, The Eighth Street Trio.
Saturday’s event begins at 5 p.m. with a guest lecture by Goldston, who will speak about artist Robert Rauschenberg’s relationship with art collectors Sash and Mary Spencer. Mary Spencer recently gave the museum a collection of works by the same contemporary artist. Following the lecture, choreographers Derrick Minter and Lieneke Mous will present a special dance inspired by works in the exhibition and performed by OU School of Dance students during the opening reception.
At 7:30 p.m., Austin, Texas, indie rockers White Denim start a live concert on the museum’s front lawn. The event is being held in collaboration with the Norman Music Festival and was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Norman Arts Council Hotel Tax Grant Program.
The opening weekend also serves as a sign-up party for the Museum Association’s newest level, the Metro Arts Circle. The is geared toward 25- to 45-year-olds and will host exclusive parties throughout the year featuring art, networking, special guests and more.
After the concert, those interested in joining the are invited to an after party at 9 p.m. at Blackbird Gastropub on Campus Corner, just walking distance from the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The after party is open to ages 21 and up.
“The Oklahoma City metro has a flourishing arts community that is quickly becoming Oklahoma’s cultural epicenter,” said Katie Parker, audience development manager.
“Several people may think of art museums as austere fortresses, but in contrast, the FJJMA has created the Metro Arts Circle tofoster a community where the museum is a more tangible place. Our new museummembership engages young professionals into action in the museum and arts community, making Norman and the Oklahoma City metro leading examples for enhancing lifestyles with art and culture.”
Anyone who signs up for a new Museum Association membership or a renewal at a level or above on June 4 will be eligible to win raffle prizes, including an iPad, courtesy of the OU IT Store; dinner for two at O Asian Fusion restaurant; dinner for two at Local restaurant; and a $100 gift certificate to the Museum Store. Visitors may sign up for a membership level at the museum or at Blackbird.
The reinstallation of modern and contemporary art features works from the museum’s permanent collection as well as works on loan from a private collector. The exhibition includes works by Leon Polk Smith and Roy Lichtenstein as well as a rare Edward Ruscha painting depicting Oklahoma, titled No Man’s Land (1990), on loan courtesy of the artist.
“Contemporary art often engages complicated issues of personal history, race and sex as a means of fostering dialogue on how personal and group identity interact with society,” said Mark White, the Eugene B. Adkins Curator for the museum. “For instance, Edward Ruscha’s No Man’s Land recalls the artist’s youth in Oklahoma, and his lack of knowledge of life outside the state. Leaving Oklahoma in his late teens became a pivotal moment in his personal and artistic maturity as he explored the country beyond his familiar haunts.”
The reinstallation also features a set of works by Rauschenberg called The Lotus Series, the last series of works by the artist before his death in 2008. The series is a recent gift by Mary Spencer.
Friday’s free concert by The Eighth Street Trio presents Morton Feldman’s For Philip Guston, a four-hour expressive composition for flute, percussion and piano performed by OU musicians Jennifer Peck, Ricardo Coelho de Souza and Marc Jensen.
The Saturday evening concert with White Denim begins at 7:30 p.m. on the museum lawn. Over the past five years, the independent band has received recognition from such outlets as Rolling Stone, New York Times, Spin and Pitchfork. The independent band’s newest album, D, hit the shelves May 24.
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located in the OU Arts District on the corner of Elm Avenue and Boyd Street, at 555 Elm Ave., on the OU Norman campus.
Admission to the museum is free to OU students with a current student ID and museum association members, $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children 6 to 17 years of age, $2 for OU faculty/staff and free for military veterans with proof and children 5 and under. The museum is closed on Mondays and admission is free on Tuesdays. The museum’s website is www.ou.edu/fjjma. Information and accommodations on the basis of disability are available by calling (405) 325-4938.
Construction on a new wing is under way, but the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is open and fully functional with exhibitions and programming throughout the entire construction process.