Jeffrey Gibson: Speak to Me Tells Stories Influenced by Native American Aesthetics, Pop Culture and More
All artwork is comprised of a variety of influences. In Speak to Me, his solo exhibition opening Thursday, Feb. 9 at Oklahoma Contemporary, multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson literally spells out some of his.
Gibson’s practice includes painting, sculpture, fiber, ceramics, video and performance, and Speak to Me features recent works that draw upon, among other things, his Native American heritage (Choctaw and Cherokee). Many of the pieces also incorporate texts with personal resonance for Gibson: Lyrics from pop, house music and rap and some of Gibson’s own words are beaded into the art.
Gibson has created objects with many stories to tell, with influences ranging from intertribal aesthetics and traditions to popular music, modernist art, gospel and ’80’s fashion.
“One way to consider the exhibition is through the lens of music, which is very important to Jeffrey,” said Jennifer Scanlan, curatorial and exhibitions director. “He often uses texts in his beaded pieces that are lyrics from songs, and he refers to his compositions as ‘mash-ups.’ In the same way that a DJ samples music from many different songs, in any one piece, Jeffrey samples aspects of many different cultures that have influenced him.”
The exhibition’s title, Speak to Me, is illustrated in the video one becomes the other, which Gibson produced during a residency at the Denver Art Museum. In one becomes the other, members of the Denver powwow community have conversations with objects from the museum’s vast Native American collection. The objects are addressed as living beings, with stories to tell.
“We took one becomes the other as our starting point and used it as a framework for interpreting all of Jeffrey’s works,” Scanlan said. “What kind of conversations can you have with an artwork? What kind of stories can it tell? Jeffrey has, almost literally, woven many references into each piece.”
Read or download the full release here. A media kit, including the press release, a portrait of the artist and high-resolution images of his works, is at bit.ly/OCGibsonKit. Interviews with artists the curator and other artistic staff can be organized through Director of Communications Lori Brooks (email@example.com). (Feb. 7, 2016)
ArtNow Showcases State's Creativity, Supports Arts Accessibility
Co-curators Kelsey Karper and Jennifer Scanlan considered dozens of artists for ArtNow 2017. They queried colleagues, reviewed websites and spent months making studio visits all across the state.
The ArtNow exhibition, featuring 24 artists, highlights the diversity of Oklahoma art today. The show's closing event is an art sale — the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind works. Proceeds help keep Oklahoma Contemporary exhibitions open free of charge, year-round.
The public can get a sneak peek Jan. 9-20, and more than 200 works will go on sale at the party on Friday, Jan. 20. The evening begins with a VIP reception at 6:30, and the main event kicks off at 8 p.m. Tickets sold out in 2016, so buy yours quickly at www.oklahomacontemporary.org. Young Patron tickets begin at $50.
Read or download the full release here. A media kit, including this release and high-resolution photos of ArtNow works, artists and curators and from the 2016 event, is at bit.ly/ArtNow17Drop. Interviews with artists, the show's curators and other staff can be organized through Director of Communications Lori Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org). (Jan. 10, 2017)
What Goes Up Must Come Down:
Cloud City Begins De-Install
Not counting the tens of thousands of people who drove by daily on Broadway Avenue, more than 7,700 people visited Cloud City, a large-scale art installation by Tomás Saraceno, installed adjacent to the site of Oklahoma Contemporary’s future art campus from Sept. 8 to Oct. 30.
Cloud City begins its de-install this week, using a New York-based crew who have put up and taken down the sculpture each time it’s been shown (on the rooftop of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Green Box Arts Festival in Green Mountain Falls, Colo., in addition to NW 11th and Broadway in Oklahoma City).
During its seven-week Oklahoma City run, 4,500 visitors toured the interior of Saraceno’s “utopian city in the sky.” Another 3,250 visited the installation when the interior was closed.
Download this release here. A media kit, including this release, time-lapse video of Cloud City’s installation and high-resolution photos of the sculpture and events, is at bit.ly/OCCloudCitydeinstall. (Oct. 31, 2016)
Melvin Edwards’ In Oklahoma Tells Stories Old and New
Each piece of sculptor Melvin Edwards’ work has a story. Sometimes it’s technical, about how an installation was constructed or a piece was welded. Sometimes it’s the meaning behind a title. It could be tied to movement or material, scale or color, geography or language. But for every single piece of his artwork, Edwards has a story.
This week, Edwards has at least 12 additional stories to tell, context for each of the new works in In Oklahoma. (The exhibition opens Thursday, Oct. 20 and runs through Dec. 27 at Oklahoma Contemporary.) These new pieces will be displayed together with a group of works that he produced over the past 30 years.
Edwards is known for his creation of powerful abstract sculptures from common materials, including scrap metal and barbed wire. He created many of the In Oklahoma works onsite, in Oklahoma Contemporary’s gallery or in a nearby studio, from materials he found in Oklahoma City scrapyards. Though new, the works reflect ideas and visual forms he’s been developing for more than 50 years. Edwards’ first half-century of work was recently chronicled in a nationally touring retrospective that began at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas.
“The retrospective reminded me there were ideas from the same kind of thinking, ideas that would now produce different works than those that came before,” Edwards said. “I develop maybe one idea out of 20. So for each piece I complete, I could have 20 more.”
And Edwards is prolific in both ideas and execution. His three-week residency in Oklahoma, along with a two-day visit to gather scrap, has been incredibly productive.
“It’s been amazing to watch his creative process, from gathering materials that appealed to him to developing them into forms and then installing them in ways that responded to the galleries at Oklahoma Contemporary,” said Jennifer Scanlan, curatorial and exhibitions director.
Read and download the full release here. A media kit including this release and high-resolution photos of Edwards and his works, is at bit.ly/OCEdwardsDrop. (Oct. 20, 2016)
Oklahoma Contemporary to Break Ground, Expand Art and Culture in OKC
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center will mark a huge milestone this week: Friends, supporters, donors and civic leaders will gather at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday for groundbreaking on its new arts campus at NW 11th and Broadway.
Oklahoma Contemporary has been working toward the move since 2011, when a study found the arts organization could better serve the city and state if located closer to other Oklahoma City attractions, major workplaces and residential areas. The center has raised nearly 75 percent of the funds for Folding Light, the 53,916-square-foot building at the center of the campus, and 60 percent of the $26 million needed for the entire project. Plans are to open in fall 2018.
Oklahoma City native and honorary Capital Campaign chair Ed Ruscha, one of the world’s most-noted contemporary artists, says the new campus “will be instrumental in encouraging, developing and understanding contemporary art in Oklahoma.
“In building their new arts campus, Oklahoma Contemporary expands on creative tradition in the state, supporting the arts community here and connecting it to outside voices and ideas,” Ruscha said.
The ceremony, held in front of Tomás Saraceno’s interactive Cloud City sculpture, will feature Mayor Mick Cornett; Oklahoma Contemporary founder and board president Christian Keesee; former student/current instructor Annalisa Campbell; and James Pickel, co-chair of the Capital Campaign. Donors and supporters will be recognized, and the Capitol High School marching band will accompany the festivities.
Download the release here or find the media kit, including high-resolution renderings, video interviews with community leaders and programming photos, at bit.ly/OCgroundbreakingmedia. (Sept. 26, 2016)
Support Arts Education at Midnight Streak 5K
Midnight Streak, Oklahoma Contemporary’s annual USATF-certified 5K run, will weave through Automobile Alley, Midtown, SOSA and Heritage Hills at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.
Midnight Streak is more than a race — it’s a community event. Kids and families play, discover and dance as artists create works on the site of Oklahoma Contemporary’s future campus. Locals sample food-truck goodies. Everyone stops for a selfie with the 7-foot T-rex in Guerrilla Art Park. Neighbors cheer as runners pass. An after party with music and drinks starts after sundown. Age-group winners take home not just medals, but one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Register online: www.oklahomacontemporary.org.
All proceeds support Oklahoma Contemporary’s educational programming, including hands-on activities tied to each exhibit, free workshops geared toward families, scholarships for deserving students and field trips for area schools.
Read more and download this release, high-resolution photos and drone footage from the 2015 race as well as photos of Guerrilla Art Park, at bit.ly/OCStreak16media.
Cloud City to Reflect OKC, Oklahoma Contemporary’s Home-to-Be
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center will reflect, refract and rearrange the skyline of downtown Oklahoma City this fall with Tomàs Saraceno’s Cloud City. The large-scale art installation will open Sept. 8 at Campbell Art Park, adjacent to the site of our planned art campus at NW 11th and Broadway.
Visitors to Cloud City can walk inside what Saraceno calls “a utopian city in the sky.” Made of steel and acrylic, the structure is both transparent and reflective, so that grass may appear overhead and the sky is reflected onto the ground. The 16 interconnected modules – each the size of a small room – draw shapes from natural forms, including bubbles, clouds, universes, bacteria, foam and animals’ neural communication networks.
Image: Cloud City, Tomas Saraceno, shown at the Green Box Arts Festival in Colorado. Credit: David Lauer Photography.
Read more about visiting Cloud City and download the release (with links to the media kit) here. (June 29, 2016)
Silent Rave Brings Dance Party Downtown
Come for the video art; stay for the party! On June 11, Oklahoma Contemporary and deadCenter Film Festival present the In One Ear … Silent Rave, DJ'd by artist David Steele Overholt, at Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom at NW 11th and Broadway. Overholt's In One Ear ..., a kaleidoscope of overlapping video clips broadcast on the Showroom windows, will serve as the launch pad for the party, which kicks off at 9 p.m.
From giant Jenga to a firedancer, the party brings a new combination of art and event to the downtown area. “David’s exhibition at the Showroom has generated so much excitement around town,” says Jeremiah Matthew Davis, Oklahoma Contemporary’s artistic director. “Throwing a party in conjunction with deadCenter will take this installation to the next level. David is DJing all the sets, broadcast over 99.9 FM to radio headphones we’re giving to all guests, and introducing some new, never before seen video art. With games, drinks and some surprise guests, this party is one not to miss. And it’s free!”
For In One Ear…, Overholt chose more than 200 mostly ’80’s and ’90’s video clips to conjure nostalgia among the generations raised in front of the TV, as images from Saved by the Bell, Full House, Seinfeld and more co-mingle on the screen. The stream of images and the radio playlist are presented in a completely random order, resulting in a constantly flickering series of discovery.
Read more by downloading the release about the event and exhibition here. (June 1, 2016)
Sculptor and Pioneer Melvin Edwards to Exhibit This Fall
Oklahoma Contemporary is thrilled to welcome Melvin Edwards, a pioneer in the history of contemporary African-American art and sculpture, back to Oklahoma with his first solo exhibition in the state in the last 25 years. His exhibition will be held Oct. 27–Dec. 27, 2016.
Originally from Houston, Edwards emerged onto the art scene in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. He became well-known for his Lynch Fragments series, begun in 1963 and continuing through today, in which objects such as chains, tools, and steel scraps are welded into compact, evocative forms. In 1970, he became the first African American sculptor to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. That exhibition showed, like Lynch Fragments, his interest in working within and against the boundaries of abstraction and minimalism, using materials with immense cultural and personal resonance, particularly in the context of the African American experience.
Over the past 50 years, his work has been complex and multilayered. His welded sculptures are abstract, though his materials and the titles move the works into the realm of the narrative. He was recently the subject of a 50-year retrospective at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, which toured nationally. His work is in the permanent collection of major institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Chicago Art Institute; and the Dallas Museum of Art. Recent shows include the Venice Biennale (2015), Art Basel Miami Beach (2011-2015), Frieze New York (2014) and Art Dubai (2012).
Download the release and find links to the media kit here. (April 20, 2016)
Summer Wheat’s Immersive Exhibit Expands World of Vermeer’s Milkmaid
Summer Wheat's exhibition is a homecoming. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, she’s returned from New York to create a site-specific installation for Oklahoma Contemporary. Weaving together color, form and media, Pry the Lid Off showcases the space beyond the frame of Johannes Vermeer's The Milkmaid, depicting the four rooms of the maid's personal chambers.
The exhibition opens with a 5:30 p.m. artist talk and 6 p.m. reception on Thursday, Feb. 25. It will remain on view through Aug. 12.
Download the full release here. A media kit including a press release, a portrait of Summer and high-resolution images of works from the show and their caption information can be found at bit.ly/OCSummerDrop. (Feb. 23, 2016)
Oklahoma Contemporary Builds Leadership Team for Future Arts Campus
Oklahoma Contemporary's Founder and Board President Christian Keesee recently handpicked two New York professionals to spearhead the art organization's growth: Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis moved into his position in January, and Curatorial and Exhibitions Director Jennifer Scanlan began Feb. 8. Along with Executive Director Donna Rinehart-Keever's management team, Davis and Scanlan will guide the organization's visual and performing arts and arts education efforts at the state fairgrounds and be instrumental in planning the upcoming opening of a new arts campus at NW 11th and Broadway.
Davis will oversee Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center's multidisciplinary program of exhibitions, performances, installations and education initiatives as well as efforts at Marfa Contemporary, the organization's space in Marfa, Texas. Scanlan will provide leadership and strategic direction for curatorial programming at Oklahoma Contemporary.
Read more and download the full release here. (Feb. 9, 2016)
Party With a Purpose at ArtNow
Oklahoma City -- Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center invites you to party with a purpose at ArtNow on Jan. 22, 2016. The ArtNow 2016 exhibition and sale showcase works from Oklahoma’s top artists. The event combines art, cocktails and company for a can’t-miss evening. Proceeds help keep Oklahoma Contemporary exhibitions open to the community, free of charge, year-round.
The public can get a sneak peek when the exhibition opens Monday, Jan. 11, and more than 124 works will go on sale at the party on Friday, Jan. 22. The evening begins with a VIP reception at 6:30, and the main event kicks off at 8 p.m. Young Patron tickets begin at $50.
From ceramics to CGI, painting to photography, fine metals to light-emitting diodes, this year's 24 artists span the gamut of media, attitude, traditions and technology. Kelsey Karper, a local curator, artist and project manager, and Julia Kirt, executive director of Oklahomans for the Arts, guest-curated the show.
"With the ArtNow exhibition now in its fifth year at Oklahoma Contemporary, Julia and I decided to bring a fresh approach by including only artists who have never been featured in this show before,” Karper said. “Oklahoma has an abundance of artistic talent, and we think ArtNow is a perfect venue to introduce audiences to new artists. Some of the artists are very early in their careers, while others have achieved significant recognition. Among the 24 featured artists you'll find a variety of media and styles and quite a few delightful surprises."
Read the full release and find information about the media kit here. (Jan. 11, 2016)
Kirkpatrick Foundation Presents $1 Million Check to Oklahoma Contemporary at 60th Anniversary Event
At a Nov. 17 event honoring the Kirkpatrick Foundation’s 60th anniversary, the organization presented a $1 million gift to Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center’s Capital Campaign.
Download the release here. (Nov. 23, 2015)
Shared Space Exhibition Features World’s Top Contemporary Photographers from the Bank of America Collection
Oklahoma City -- Metro-area residents and visitors can see works from the world's top contemporary photographers in Shared Space: Photography From 1987 and Beyond. The exhibition acts as a time capsule of our era, traversing our social landscape from 1987 to the present through photographs and videos curated from the Bank of America Collection and on loan from its Arts in Our Communities program. It opens with a reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 and runs through Dec. 18.
The noted artists included hail from across the globe, including the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Iran, Italy, Mexico and Switzerland. Their work has been exhibited worldwide, from MOMA, the Met and the Whitney to Tate Modern and Guggenheim Berlin, plus biennials in Venice, Sydney and Havana.
Art historian Louise Siddons will offer a gallery talk during the reception, at 6:30 p.m. “With the invention of photography, vision became global,” says Siddons, assistant professor and independent curator at Oklahoma State University. “In Shared Space, stunning images created by internationally renowned photographers make that global vision compellingly contemporary, distilling our everyday experiences of the landscape into powerful and thought-provoking works of art.”
Read more or download the release here. (Oct. 27, 2015)
Image: Sze Tsung Leong, Causeway Bay I, Hong Kong, from Cities, 2004, 2006. Color coupler print, edition 10, + AP. Bank of America Collection. © Sze Tsung Leong, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York.
Fun Fitness Coverage to Be Found at Midnight Streak 5K
OKLAHOMA CITY - Cover the intersection of the Oklahoma City arts and athletic community at Midnight Streak (http://bit.ly/OCACStreak), a 5K to benefit arts education.
The $35 race will weave through Automobile Alley, Midtown and Heritage Hills at 8 p.m. THIS Saturday, Aug. 15. Oklahoma Contemporary invites runners and non-runners alike to NW 11th and Broadway at 6 p.m., for kids' activities, the second piece of the community art project Journey, live graffiti painting, food trucks and more.
Photo, video and interview opportunities will be available throughout the event, 1146 N. Broadway Dr. Read more or download the release here. (Aug. 14, 2015)
Oklahoma Contemporary to Launch Public Campaign
OKLAHOMA CITY --‑ Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center will publicly announce its $26 million capital campaign at 6 p.m. Tuesday by unveiling renderings of an arts campus, planned for Midtown’s Automobile Alley, and honoring leadership donors whose gifts have taken the campaign to the halfway mark.Board President and Co-Founder Christian Keesee said the new arts campus at NW 11th and Broadway will allow Oklahoma Contemporary to greatly expand its mission of “art for all” through a wide variety of accessible arts education and arts experiences for children and adults.
Read or download the release here. (June 16, 2015)
Nepalese Staffer Uses Oklahoma Standard for Earthquake Relief
OKLAHOMA CITY ‑- The Oklahoma Standard knows no borders, even when those who need service and aid are more than 8,000 miles away. Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center staff accountant Deepa Ghimire, who left Nepal at 18 to continue her education in the United States, describes residents in her adopted home as “family caring,” people who “always try to help or help you reach the people who can.”
Ghimire, who organized a relief drive for victims of the recent earthquake in her home country, is asking for that help now.
The current aid list includes (in order of priority) tents; water purifiers, water-purifying drops and chlorine; thermal blankets; masks; and small flashlights. The organization is also taking monetary donations. Both can be delivered to Oklahoma Contemporary’s State Fair Park location, 3000 General Pershing Blvd., during regular business hours (9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday) through May 18.
Read or download the release here. (May 6, 2015)
Visitors Encouraged to Find Stories in Marfa Exhibition
MARFA, TEXAS – La Sombra del Zopilote has been built to tell you a story. The exact nature of the tale varies from visitor to visitor, exactly as Mexican artist Gonzalo Lebrija intended.
Every few minutes, a new group — Marfa locals and tourists alike —stops at History of Suspended Time. At the intersection of San Antonio Street and Texas Highway 17, a 1968 Chevy Malibu stands nose-first, inches from a reflecting pool. Lebrija says that the sculpture is the physical culmination of an earlier photo project, in which he dropped a classic car into a lake, capturing the instant just before the machine hit the water. The massive sculpture, subtitled Monument for the Impossible, is said to similarly stop time as it literally stops traffic. Download the release here. (April 14, 2015)
Showroom Opens Doors, Sets Scene for Organization’s Future
Showroom at Oklahoma Contemporary — four shipping containers, repurposed as an innovative two-story, 1,173 square-foot gallery located at NW 11th and Broadway — opens to the public with a ribbon-cutting and open house Thursday, March 26.
Designed by HSE Architects, the Showroom serves as the first step toward Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center’s future home on the 4.6-acre site, temporarily housing exhibitions, events and an art library. Read and download the release here. (March 20, 2015)
Exhibition Documents Decay of Rural Towns
Small Town: Portraits of a Disappearing America is open until May 2, 2015. Read or download the press release here. (Feb. 13, 2015)
Public invited to preview art installation for 26th annual ArtNow Gala featuring new works by 29 Oklahoma artists
Read or download the release here. (Jan. 15, 2015)
Oklahoma Contemporary Offers a New Venue for the Arts
Download or read the release here. (Nov. 13, 2014)
Oklahoma Contemporary Announces New Board Members
Read or download the release here. (Oct. 14, 2014)
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Midnight Streak Raises Money for Arts Education
Read or download the release here. (Aug. 28, 2014)
Oklahoma Contemporary Weaves Art Through Downtown OKC
Read or download the release here. (Aug. 25, 2014)
K. Yoland brings Border Land Other to Oklahoma Contemporary
Read or download the release here. (Sept. 18, 2014)
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center Opens Enrollment for Fall Classes
Read or download the release here. (Aug. 27, 2014)
Oklahoma Contemporary Names Architect Rand Elliott for New Building
Read or download the release here. (March 18, 2014)
Oklahoma Contemporary Names Donna Rinehart-Keever as Executive Director
Read or download the release here. (Feb. 26, 2014)
City Arts Center Releases New Name
Read or download the release here. (Feb. 18, 2013)