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Museum Opens Philbrook Downtown on June 14th

May 16, 2013 (Tulsa, Okla.) On June 14, 2013, Philbrook Museum of Art—one of the most important and distinguished museums in the Midwest—celebrates the opening of Philbrook Downtown, a satellite space located in the heart of Tulsa’s vibrant Brady Arts District. The expansion enables Philbrook, Tulsa’s leading cultural institution, to showcase its notable collections while serving as the anchor of a burgeoning arts community in the city’s center.  
 
Designed by Richard Gluckman, principal of the New York-based firm Gluckman Mayner Architects, the conversion of the early 20th-century industrial warehouse contains three distinct but interrelated initiatives: the display of modern and contemporary art and Native American art, as well as a robust research and programming agenda. 
 
The first level fuses Philbrook’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art with a consistent presentation of innovative arts programming.  Exhibitions highlighting important work in conventional as well as new media and programs will focus on quality and inclusivity thus presenting artists of diverse influences, ethnicities, and genders. 
The second level focuses on the Museum’s exceptional Native American collection. Philbrook was awarded the high-quality, extensive, and well-documented Adkins Collection of Native American and Southwestern Art in 2007 (approximately 1,800 objects) making its collection of Native American art one of the best in the nation.  Combined, these collections present one of the finest surveys of 20th century Native American art anywhere. 
 
Adjacent to the exhibition space, the second level will also house The Eugene B. Adkins Study Center.  The Center integrates Philbrook’s outstanding artwork, special collections from the Museum’s H. A. & Mary K. Chapman Library, and Eugene Adkins’s personal archives. The Center will again position Philbrook at the forefront of this important dialogue regarding Native American art and culture since the Indian Annual juried competition served as a vital outlet for Native American fine art from 1949 to 1976.     
 
Two transformational gifts — from the Eugene B. Adkins Foundation and the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) – spurred Philbrook to develop this new satellite facility in Tulsa’s historic Brady District. The GKFF’s generous provision of 30,000 square feet within the former Mathews Warehouse is less than three miles from the original 23-acre Philbrook campus, which includes a historic home, modern museum complex, and pristine gardens.
 
Philbrook Director Rand Suffolk said, “Opening Philbrook Downtown marks a significant moment in our 75-year history. Not only have we created a new arts destination for domestic and international visitors but we have also established a vibrant forum for engaging dialogue, which adds further dimension to our organization. 
Philbrook Downtown will cultivate and engage new audiences as well as enrich the cultural fabric of our community.  Creating a space in this part of town lends to our mission by directly contributing to Tulsa’s revitalization efforts.” 
 
Suffolk continued, “Richard [Gluckman] embraced the concept of adaptive re-use to transform this warehouse location into a new platform of engagement. The space honors the integrity of the original structure while simultaneously creating a sophisticated urban environment for the presentation of exceptional objects.”  
 
Richard Gluckman added, “Our design endeavors to create a balance between the historic fabric of the building and the contemporary intervention. We achieve this by respecting the past, accommodating the requirements of the present, and anticipating the future. In designing spaces for art, balance and the relationship are maintained between the viewer, the artwork, and the space they occupy; no single element becomes the dominant component. We believe the viewer’s experience is enhanced by the resonance generated by the architectural space and the artwork that inhabits it.”
 
Inaugural Exhibitions
The Nancy E. and Peter C. Meinig Gallery encompasses approximately 3,800 square feet on the first floor and serves as a permanent home to the Philbrook modern and contemporary collection. The inaugural exhibition, Opening Abstraction, presents a selection of abstract works made after 1945 by both established and emerging artists including Clyfford Still, Arturo Herrera, and Rachel Whiteread. The majority of artworks on view is drawn from the permanent collection and includes recent acquisitions making their debut with this installation. 
 
Two smaller gallery spaces on the main level enable Philbrook curators to freshen the presentation with rotating exhibitions. The William S. Smith Charitable Foundation Gallery will open with an exhibition of work by first-generation abstract expressionist Adolph Gottlieb (June 14 – August 25, 2013), while the adjacent Irene and Sanford Burnstein Gallery opens with a show of influential 20th-century women artists who worked in the American Southwest and includes a seminal work by Georgia O’Keeffe titled Sirens of the Southwest (June 14 – November 10, 2013).
 
The second floor of Philbrook Downtown has three distinct spaces, including the 3,500-square-foot Jack and Ann Graves exhibition gallery for the Native American art collection, the Adkins Study Center, as well as collections storage. Skylights introduce natural light into the galleries and wood floors further soften the industrial setting. 
The opening exhibition, Identity & Inspiration: 20th Century Native American Art, features more than 150 works from the Museum’s collection. It represents a continuation of Philbrook’s commitment to exhibiting significant examples of works by important Native artists whose influence reaches far beyond their communities and their lifetimes. It highlights the artistic achievement of these individuals and explores some of the motivations influencing their creative processes. Rather than presenting the works geographically or culturally, the extraordinary breadth and depth of the collection allows Christina E. Burke, Curator of Native American and Non-Western art, to attempt a more nuanced and complex installation. The exhibition will highlight the evolution, as well as the reception and intent, of Native American art from 1900 to present. In other words, identifying the motivations and market forces that transformed this work from “artifact” to aesthetic objects of the highest regard. 
 
About Philbrook 
Philbrook Museum of Art, founded in 1938 and opened in 1939, has become one of the most distinguished and beautiful art museums in the central United States. The original campus spans 23 pristine acres and includes a 72-room 1920s villa designed in the Italian Renaissance style, a contemporary education wing, extensive formal gardens, and a shop and restaurant. The Museum’s collection represents a range of eras and cultures, from antiquities to the present, and features Italian masterpieces from the 14th through 18th centuries including those gifted to the Museum from the Samuel H. Kress Collection; art from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas; one of the finest surveys of Native American art in the world; decorative arts; works on paper; and a growing modern and contemporary collection. Philbrook organizes innovative exhibitions based on the Museum’s collections and offers a diversity of award-winning educational programs for children and adults.
Philbrook Downtown is the Museum’s satellite location in Tulsa’s vibrant Brady Arts District, which opened in June 2013. Designed by Gluckman Mayner Architects, the 30,000–square-foot modern facility is housed in a former historic warehouse. Philbrook Downtown showcases its unparalleled collection of 20th century Native American Art and serves as the home to the Museum’s modern contemporary art collections. For additional information, visit www.philbrook.org.
 
CONTACT:
Tricia Milford-Hoyt, 
Director of Communications
O (918) 748-5385 
M (407) 928-9868
TMilford@philbrook.org