Museum organizers also added a public lecture, Matisse’s Windows, 6 p.m. Sept. 7. 

click to enlarge @MNAM-CCI/BERTRAND PRÉVOST
  • @MNAM-CCI/Bertrand Prévost

Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA) is extending its hours on Labor Day Weekend and the last two Sundays leading up to the end of the exhibit Matisse in His Time: Masterworks of Modernism from the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

“We’ve had an unprecedented number of visitors this summer,” Becky Weintz, museum director of marketing and communications, said of the public’s reaction to the sole North American exhibit, which features a collection of works by French painter Henri Matisse and other major artists of the 20th century.

Matisse was a leader in the 20th century Fauvism art movement and contributed to modern art in many ways. Fifty of his works, including sculptures, paintings, prints and drawings, are showcased in the exhibit. It also features an additional 50 masterworks from artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso and others.

Weintz said it has been great to see people traveling from neighboring states to see it, but also from as far away as California and Massachusetts.

Museum organizers also added a public lecture, Matisse’s Windows, 6 p.m. Sept. 7.

Lecturer and director of curatorial affairs Michael J. Anderson explained the museum holds lectures and public tours for all its exhibits. Even so, he also admitted the Matisse exhibit has been different.

“We learned pretty early on that people would want something else toward the end of the exhibition,” Anderson said about the public’s “thirst for more about Matisse.”

The venue nearly sold out during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and museum administration knew interest would likely peak as Matisse in His Time drew closer to its Sept. 18 closing date.

“We’re getting a lot of feedback that people love this exhibition,” he said. “We’re proud to have this in Oklahoma City.”

Anderson explained the recurring element of the window in numerous works is a good way to tell the artist’s story. The window motif opens the Matisse’s Windows lecture up to explanations on Fauvism and Matisse in addition to how his works were a precursor to cubism and modern art.

“So we can tell the story of art and Matisse’s story and what really makes him this unique figure in the history of modern art,” he said.

In addition, the lecture will reexamine Matisse outside the exhibit, Anderson said. Matisse in his Time focuses on the artist’s relationships with other artists, but the lecture explains how he’s the center of a number of art movements.

Anderson mentioned several of the artist’s paintings that prominently feature windows. He described one of the most important works at the exhibit, Matisse’s “Porte-fenêtre à Collioure” (“French Window at Collioure”), which was created at the beginning of World War I.

“It’s a very unique work,” he said. “[The window opens up to black and exemplifies] Matisse’s flirtation with cubism.”

Conceptualism is central to modern art, which emphasizes that the idea expressed is more important than perhaps an aesthetically pleasing result, Anderson said.

Print headline: Window of opportunity, Oklahoma City Museum of Art expands its hours and adds additional programming as its exclusive Matisse exhibit nears the end of its run. 

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