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Special Exhibitions

Formed in Stone

Formed in Stone: The Natural Beauty of Fossils
July 4 through Jan. 4, 2015


The Sam Noble Museum hosts the temporary photographic exhibit Formed in Stone: The Natural Beauty of Fossils featuring an array of dazzling geometric designs on fossils dating from 80 to 455 million years old. The exhibit includes digital photographs magnified up to 60 times to reveal the hidden surface of each fossilized microorganism. Accompanying the image gallery are 12 diverse physical specimens, eight of which are from Oklahoma.

The fossils in this exhibit belong to the museum’s invertebrate paleontology collection, which contains around 1 million specimens from across the globe. This collection represents the combined efforts of paleontologists from the Oklahoma Geological Survey and the University of Oklahoma School of Geology and Geophysics.

Hungry Planet

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats
May 3 through August 31


Gain a global perspective on the food and the environment through spectacular photos from the award-winning book by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio. Visitors will meet ten families from around the world photographed in their kitchens with one week’s worth of food. They will discover surprising similarities and differences in how each family produces, shops for, and prepares their food. Some foods show up on almost every family’s menu, while others are unique.

The exhibition provides a thought-provoking analysis of worldwide food consumption in a way that is entertaining and accessible. The 40 color photographs, depicting everything from American drive-thru fast food restaurants to open-air kitchens in Mali, document the sharp contrasts and universal aspects of this essential human pursuit.



J. C. Black, Mother Earch, Father Sky and Yeis Dancers, 200. Fred and Enid Brown American Indian Art Collection, c.2010

Masterworks of Native American Art: Selections from the Fred and Enid Brown Collection
September 28 through January 5, 2014

The Native American fine arts movement of the 20th century represents a recent chapter in a long history of artistic expression by the indigenous people of North America. For thousands of years the Native people of North America have created fantastic works of art in stone, ivory, metal, horn, shell, plant material, plaster and clay that were often embellished with pigments and painted designs.

This Masterworks exhibition presents a selection of Native American paintings and drawings created over the past 50 years, from ca. 1960-2010. The movement into a new century provides an opportunity to examine patterns of formal continuity and change in the artworks themselves, and the motivations, events and circumstances that inspire and guide their creation.



Bob Kuhn: Drawing on Instinct
June 1 through September 8, 2013

Organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and curated by Adam Harris, this retrospective exhibit focuses on a selection of masterpieces from Kuhn’s work, displaying the relationship between predator and prey. The exhibit includes drawings from Kuhn’s childhood sketches of animals at the Buffalo Zoo in New York as well as sketches and paintings of wildlife in North America and Africa from later in his artistic career.

The museum’s collection displays 155 sketches and paintings, selected from more than 5,000 studies, and exhibits a compilation of Kuhn’s artwork until his death in 2007. Some of the sketches tie directly to finished works of art in the exhibit, but many are included to be appreciated on their own meritsSeeing this material together gives visitors a sense of the artistic process behind Kuhn’s masterpieces.

Beautiful Beasts

Beautiful Beasts: The Unseen life of Oklahoma Spiders and Insects
February 2 through September 8, 2013

Oklahoma photographer Thomas Shahan will take you there. Beautiful Beasts presents a series of Shahan’s immense color macro photographs alongside descriptions of where and how the photographs were made. The exhibit chronicles the photographer’s tireless search for arthropods, a venture that has made him into an outspoken advocate for education about the role they play in our lives.

Shahan’s up-close views of Oklahoma spiders and insects promise to forever change how visitors think and feel about these creatures. For more information about the exhibit, visit Sponsored by a grant from the Norman Arts Council.


Dancers & Deities

Dancers & Deities: Kachinas from the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection

September 21 through January 6, 2013

Dancers and Deities features an amazing selection of Native American Kachina created by master artists from Hopi and Zuni Pueblos. As deities Kachinas are important figures in the cosmology and religion of the Pueblo people of the American Southwest.

As masked dancers Kachinas are central in the rituals and ceremonies conducted to insure the rain and fertility necessary for a bountiful harvest. As dancers Kachinas become highly symbolic representations of the deities. In recent times Kachina carvings have become treasured artworks that exhibit deep cultural significance and creative ability. The Bialac collection includes works by dozens of significant artists and dates between 1950-2010, representing the full development of this art form and its commercial appeal.

Southwest Visions

Southwest Visions: Paintings from the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection
October 5 through January 6, 2013

Southwest Visions is built on centuries old traditions of painting on rock, earth and clay. Native artists from the Southwest region quickly adopted easel painting and developed a distinct style that helps to define contemporary Native American art. Including examples of the realistic style promoted by the Santa Fe Indian School in the 1930's and later responses to its colonial roots and aspirations, this exhibit presents a comprehensive suite of Southwest Native American paintings than spans the development of this important genre of Native American painting.