Museum opens American Indian art exhibit featuring curator's pieces

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma has opened an exhibition featuring several pieces of American Indian art from the personal collection of one of the museum's former curators.

"Spirit Red: Visions of Native American Artists from the Rennard Strickland Collection," includes about 100 works from Strickland's private collection, said museum spokesman Michael Bendure.

Strickland was adjunct curator of Native American art at the museum in the mid-'90s, said Gail Kana Anderson, the museum's deputy director. Strickland left the university to teach law and recently returned to his home state, deciding the museum could best display his impressive collection.

"I think he wanted it near and knew it would have a good home here," Anderson said.

The exhibition contains a diverse blend of artistic forms, including Navajo textiles, beadwork, paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics, she said, adding that the works were created with "a variety of styles, including realism, abstraction and contemporary humor."

Most of the collection's artists are from Oklahoma, many personal friends of Strickland, who has Osage and Cherokee ancestry, she said.

"This is one of the things that makes the collection so special ... many tribes are represented, even ones not in Oklahoma," Anderson said.

Strickland's donation adds to the museum's tribal art collection, which Anderson called "one of the most substantial collections in the country."

The exhibition is on display through Sept. 13, at which point it will be put into storage until 2011, when the museum, 555 Elm in Norman, debuts a new permanent collection of American Indian art.

Museum admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children between 6 and 17. Children under 6 and OU students are admitted for free. For more information, call 325-3272.

"?Will Holland

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