Living Wright: Afternoon at Gilcrease Museum yields lots of new art favorites
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2013
2/28/13 at 4:56 AM
Go to Jason Ashley Wright's BlogOriginal Print Headline: Art adventure
Aside from a dear friend's wedding, another friend's memorial service and a couple of work-related fundraisers, I had never been to Gilcrease Museum.
So a visit to the museum, which boasts the world's largest collection of American West art and artifacts, easily earned a spot on my 2013 to-do list of 50 places I've either never visited or haven't seen in 10 or more years.
A gentleman at the entrance provided me with a map, which came in handy as I wove my way through the exhibits, the first of which was "Enduring Spirit: Native American Artistic Traditions," which offered a glimpse at works by native peoples from not only Oklahoma but also other regions of the country.
Among those items that gave me greatest pause were a display of beaded moccasins from various tribes, a bear claw necklace and the "Soulmates" wood carving by Jason Stone.
Apparently, I gave many items plenty of pause, as I mistakenly thought two hours was plenty of time to soak everything in. By the time I finished absorbing everything in the first exhibit, an hour had already passed.
Ideally, I would've arrived a couple hours earlier, making time for lunch at the museum's restaurant, which provides a gorgeous view of the Osage Hills. Next time, I look forward to trying the pumpkin soup with cilantro pesto ($3-$6) and the famous Remington buffalo burger ($10).
But on this burger-free trip, I ambled past hundreds of objects that begged closer inspection, from the Hopi and Western Pueblo figurines and Mississippian human effigy pipe to baskets, dance masks and beautiful acrylics on canvas.
Of course, I had to stop a few seconds longer to admire Tom Hunt's beautiful "Eagle and Bear Totem Pole" from the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation, as well as the gorgeous bronze "Eagle Rock Monument" by Kent Ullberg.
Other visual highlights along my visit were the hall of 24 Mexican masks (especially the Caiman and Diablo ones), Incan ear spools and a feather poncho from Peru.
My favorite Mexican painting in the collection was the vibrant "Market Place in Taxco" by Marquez - it just seemed to shine on the canvas.
In "Dreams and Visions: The American West and the Legacy of Imagination" exhibit (which runs through Aug. 25), I sat down to gaze at Thomas Moran's "Shoshone Falls on the Snake River," loving how he painted the light bathing the rock face in the background.
I wished I had more time to stay in the "Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey" exhibit. My Mamaw Walters, who was a painter, would've loved this, right down to Payne's ginger jar of brushes and pencils, and - my favorites - his "Bird House" sculpture and hexagonal table. Although paintings of his travels in Europe were amazing. (You have until March 24 to catch this exhibit, by the way.)
With a 15-minute warning announced, I hurried through Henry H. Cross' portraits of prominent figures of the West, then vowed to come back this spring to see the grounds - and have that buffalo burger, of course.
Gilcrease Museum boasts the world's largest collection of American West art and artifacts. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World file