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Art at Oklahoma State

Written by: Leah Brainerd

Photo: OSU Museum of Art

Located on Husband Street in the Historic District of Stillwater is one of the hidden gems of Oklahoma State University -- The OSU Museum of Art. This little-known building is not directly on campus, but it is free to all and is always thrilled to have visitors. In addition, there is something here for everyone from Andy Warhohl and his pop art to scenes of Plains Indians. In terms of texture, there are sculptures to see and videos to watch; showing more than simply canvases on walls and representing a wide variety of history and culture.

The current exhibitions show a range of art, featuring the paintings of Deol Reed and School of Architecture Professor Moh’d Bilbeisi. Sun Patterns, Dark Canyon is the collection from Reed and explores his successful career as a twentieth-century painter and printmaker. The exhibit brings to life scenes from New Mexico and highlights the left-behind religion and buildings of old catholic monasteries and cemeteries.

Photo: OSU Museum of Art

In addition, Vision and Visionary is the collection from Bilbeisi and focuses on international dimensions. The exhibit has over 70 works of various types of art including his masterful watercolors. These watercolor paintings are stunning drawings that show the versatility of art. This collection is not simply canvases with paint but ink and watercolor on paper that portray different cities and buildings from around the world. This art is not realistic, but it is set-apart and masterful and breathes new life into the viewer. Both of these temporary exhibits are different yet beautiful in their own ways, as are all of the exhibits at the Stillwater Museum of Art.

In addition to the temporary collections, the permanent art exhibitions feature works from George R Kravis II, a contemporary artist who has works on paper as well as canvases and sculptures. This collection has over 700 unique and interesting objects and cemented the idea of this museum’s focus on contemporary and modern art. There is also a collection gifted to the museum by Charles Little, who has a beautiful personal collection that focuses on the Plains of Oklahoma and the Southwest. With a love of art, Little frequently attended the Red Earth Festival, where he procured many of his pieces that were gifted to the museum. In addition to the aforementioned Doel Reed’s current exhibit, the museum has some works in the permanent collection as well that focuses on his landscapes from New Mexico. These eerie canvas oil paintings show the present scenes of ruins from New Mexico in a modern yet conservative way that has won him many fans in curators and collectors. Lastly in the permanent collection is the Leon Polk Smith collection with over 750 works over a course of 60 years. This abstract collection pioneered what is now ‘hard-edge’ painting and, since its debut at the Stillwater Art Museum, has helped renew interest in the artist. Each of these collections helps develop the museum, giving pieces new lives and culture to new college students.

Lastly, the public art sculptures around campus are each a part of the museum on a larger scale and are their own ongoing exhibit for those on campus to encounter art throughout their daily lives and busy schedules. Next time you want to see something exciting in Stillwater, head over to 720 S. Husband.

Photo: OSU Museum of Art


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