Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top 10 Art Experiences of 2013: Julia Kirt

Even though I rarely wax nostalgic at the end of year, I have been blown away by robust arts experiences this year and wanted to record some. 

So, here is my Top 10 Art Experiences of 2013 list based on my limited traveling and natural biases toward the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s own activities. 
Wayne White Halo Amok installation at OKC Museum of Art
(photo by Amy Young)
Halo Amok: Wayne White at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art
With rare amusement and conceptual thoughtfulness, White’s site specific installation captivated area visitors. How can you not enjoy huge, interactive cowboy puppets in an art museum? Bravo to curator Brian Hearn for initiating this project. 

This ambitious exhibition (still up a few more weeks!) explores artwork created in México over the last two decades. Besides geography, intense intertwined political and social themes connect the work. The exhibition was as captivating visually as it was intellectually.

Risë Wilson speaking at Statewide Arts Conference
Risë Wilson at the Statewide Arts Conference:
Laundromat Project founder Risë Wilson served as a guest speaker for the Oklahoma Arts Council’s conference in Ardmore this fall. Besides bringing an uncompromising approach to racial and socioeconomic inclusion, Wilson introduced our state to paradigm-shifting concepts of public art and community action for artists. 

Representing Oklahoma at the kickoff for 2013
National Arts Advocacy Day
National Arts Advocacy Day
Uniting with arts supporters from across the country at our nation’s capital, I felt buoyed and reinvigorated to advocate about the importance of art. Americans for the Arts brings together a huge network of affiliated organizations focusing on art and health, education, community revitalization, economic impact and more.  Working together we can work towards public policy that encourages arts and cultural activities in all parts of our lives.

Peter Coffin: Here & There at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Coffin directly animated actual permanent collection objects, such as those by Pablo Picasso, Edward Hopper, Willem de Kooning and John Singer Sargent, with video and sound. Through widely varied, uniformly compelling works, Coffin opened up imagination related to art history, painting, and more. 

No photos allowed in the exhibition, so here's my
mom & daughter outside the Turrell exhibition
James Turrell: The Light Inside at the Houston Museum of Fine Art
In a word, the artwork and exhibition was sublime.  I happened to be in Houston when this opened, but I would have traveled far for this consummate experience of the large-scale light rooms and projections.

Truthfully, this whole list could feature the amazing thing that have launched or grown in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District, which creates a nexus of art of all disciplines and engaging public space.  A few of most wonderful thriving spaces this year include 108 Contemporary and The Hardesty Arts Center.  Also, Philbrook Museum of Art opened a new outpost in downtown Tulsa featuring splendid contemporary and Native American exhibitions.  Besides thoughtfully curated exhibition, the Museum is an approachable scale, easy to enjoy in an afternoon.

Curator Raechell Smith visits with Art 365 artist
Eyakem Gulilat in his studio
Art 365 artist studio visits
Visiting artists’ working spaces is one of the distinct honors of my work. Over the past year, I’ve joined guest curator Raechell Smith as she works with the Art 365 exhibition artists for the exhibition.  Each artist bravely dove into a year-long adventure—transforming their artwork dramatically in scale, concept and/or presentation.  We can’t wait to see the snapshot of their inquiries when the first iteration opens February 28, 2014 at Artspace at [Untitled] in Oklahoma City.
Ellsworth Kelly works on paper at the
National Gallery of Art, see quality images here.
Ellsworth Kelly: Colored Paper Images at the National Gallery of Art
Focused on molded handmade paper images, Kelly’s work opened my mind to the potential emotional and psychological aspects of geometric abstraction.  I spent longer in and contemplated this show longer than I have had the patience to visit any other exhibition in quite a while.

Charlotte Street Foundation curator-in-residence
Jamilee Polson Lacy with  Aaron Hauck
Focus OK-KC in at the Charlotte Street Foundation’s La Esquina Gallery in Kansas City
Culminating a multi-year partnership with the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, the Charlotte Street Foundation presented four Oklahoma-based artists alongside four projects by Kansas City-based artists.  Examining place, community and artists networks, the exhibition surpassed my expectations and reinforced our regional network.

And... I couldn't help throwing in this picture of my son's first violin recital at Cleveland Elementary. Thanks for OKC Public School & A+ Schools for infusing our schools with art.  
If you want to add your own Top 10 list, feel free to comment. Happy end of 2013! 

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