Native American Art

On this installment of ST, we speak with James Pepper Henry, who began his tenure as the executive director of the Gilcrease Museum about four months ago. As was recently reported by KWGS, Pepper Henry has requested $75 million out of  a proposed Vision 2025 sales-tax renewal.

Summertime...and the living is...cultured. On this edition of ST, we welcome Rand Suffolk back to the program. As the Director of the Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa, Suffolk tells us about the various events and shows comprising that museum's "All-Star Summer." These include the exhibitions "The Figure Examined" and "The Art of Ceremony" -- both of which will be on view at the main Philbrook campus through early September -- and certain exhibits now happening (or coming soon) to the Philbrook Downtown space, among them a show that Suffolk himself curated.

Our guest on ST is cultural anthropologist Christina E. Burke, who is the Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa.

(Photo: Craig Smith / Heard Museum)

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with James Pepper Henry, director of the well-regarded Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, who's just been named at the new director of the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa. Pepper Henry will begin his tenure at Gilcrease in late March. He's a member of Oklahoma's Kaw Nation, and in a statement released on Monday the 5th, he referred to his upcoming arrival at Gilcrease as "a real homecoming.... I have lots of family and friends in Oklahoma. The museum's founder, Thomas Gilcrease, and I share Muscogee Creek heritage.

From just after WWII until the late 1970s, the Indian Annual exhibition at Tulsa's Philbrook Museum of Art served as a vital outlet -- and a nationally recognized showcase -- for Native American fine art. This juried competition and sale attracted artists, collectors, and curators from across the country for more than three decades. It also helped build the collections of institutions like Philbrook, the Heard Museum (AZ), and the Museum of the American Indian (NY), all of which consistently purchased award-winning pieces at this show.

The "Rediscover Gilcrease" weekend -- a two-day, free-to-the-public gala happening at the museum on September 6th and 7th -- will feature unique attractions, special activities, and lots of family-friendly entertainment. Among the highlights, without question, will be the official opening of the striking new Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease. Several different lectures and presentations will be presented at the Helmerich Center, and one of them will be given by our guest today. Our guest is Brian Hosmer, the H.G.

Once upon a time, museums throughout this country would invariably display or organize their "art" and their "Native American art" in two distinct categories; a piece would "belong" to one or the other camp, but never both. That's increasingly not the case anymore, thankfully --- and our guest today talks about why. We're pleased to welcome Rick West back to ST; he'll be the keynote speaker for a day-long Native Art Symposium tomorrow (Saturday the 5th) at the Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa.

A fine show recently opened at the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa; "Form and Line: Allan Houser's Sculpture and Drawings" will be on exhibit through June 29th. One of the most widely known and admired Native American artists of the 20th century, the Oklahoma-born Houser, who died at 80 in 1994, was a Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter, and book illustrator. He was also a dedicated and highly influential teacher of art, most notably at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Dr. Suzan Shown Harjo, a noted poet, lecturer, curator, and policy advocate. She'll soon be in our community to participate in the Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival, which runs from Friday the 31st through Sunday the 2nd at the Glenpool Conference Center; Dr. Harjo will serve as the poet-in-residence at this festival.

The Osage ballet, "Wahzhazhe," had its premiere last summer here in Oklahoma; it was first conceived of about four years ago, and was originally inspired by a suite of music by Lou Brock, an Osage composer. This contemporary ballet brings together certain special qualities of Osage history and culture: a reverence for classical ballet (which was, of course, the legacy of two famous Osage ballerinas, Maria and Marjorie Tallchief) and a deep respect also for the richness of Osage traditional music, dance, and textile arts.

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