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Current Exhibits:



Harmless Hunter

Harmless Hunter: The Wildlife Work of Charles M. Russell
Jan. 31 through April 26, 2015

Paintings, sketches and sculptures from Charles M. Russell, one of the most popular and influential American wildlife artists of his time, are on display at the Sam Noble Museum. Organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming in collaboration with the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West, University of Oklahoma, this exhibit was curated by B. Byron Price, Director, Charles M. Russell Center and University of Oklahoma Press. Exhibit sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores.


A Forest Journey

A Forest Journey: How Trees Shape our World
Jan. 17 through May 3, 2015

This rich and inviting interactive exhibit is inspired by the Harvard classic A Forest Journey: The Role of Wood in the Development of Civilization by science writer John Perlin. It sheds new light on the history of the use of wood throughout the world, on forest products (from paper to lifesaving pharmaceuticals) and on the relationship between forests and the green house effect. The exhibit is a journey through time from modern day trees to their prehistoric counterparts. From deforestation and erosion, to fuel and product uses, A Forest Journey illustrates the diversity of needs and effects trees have environmentally, socially, communally and economically. Exhibit sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores.



Previous Exhibits:




RARE: Portraits of America's Endangered Species
Sept. 13 through Jan. 19, 2015

Well-known endangered species like bald eagles and sea turtles are showcased alongside more unfamiliar species including the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly and the Higgins eye mussel. In addition to highlighting those species most in danger, National Geographic’s RARE also celebrates endangered species making a comeback including the red wolf and the American alligator, which have both rebounded from the verge of extinction.

The exhibition is based on Joel Sartore’s book by the same title, which, like the exhibition, organizes the featured species by number of living populations remaining. The project’s message was made particularly poignant when one of the featured animals, the Columbian Basin pygmy rabbit, went extinct while the book was being produced. The exhibition also examines the history, purpose and effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Exhibit sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores. and a grant from the Norman Arts Council.



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, 2014

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.



Ramp It Up

Ramp It Up! Skateboard Culture in Native America
February 8 through June 11, 2014

Skateboarding is one of the most popular sports on Indian reservations, inspiring and influencing American Indian and Native Hawaiian communities since the 1960s. “Ramp It Up,” sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, features 20 skate decks, including examples from Native companies and contemporary artists, rare images and video of Native skaters. Highlights include a never-before-exhibited 1969 image taken by skateboarding icon C.R. Stecyk III of a skate deck depicting traditional Native imagery and 1973 home-movie footage of Zephyr surf team members Ricky and Jimmy Tavarez (Gabrielino-Tongva).

The exhibition features the work of visual artists Bunky Echo-Hawk (Yakama/Pawnee), Joe Yazzie (Navajo), Traci Rabbit (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) and Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo) and highlights young Native skaters such as 22-year-old Bryant Chapo (Navajo), 13-year-old Augustin Lerma and 10-year-old Armondo Lerma (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians).

As skateboarding continues to rise in popularity in Indian Country, Native skaters and entrepreneurs have combined core lessons learned from the sport — strength, balance and tenacity — with traditional tribal iconography and contemporary art to engage Native youth in their history and culture. “Ramp It Up” examines the role of indigenous peoples in skateboarding culture, its roots in ancient Hawaiian surfing and the visionary achievements of contemporary Native skaters. Skateboarding combines demanding physical exertion, design, graphic art, filmmaking and music to produce a unique and dynamic culture. “Ramp It Up” illustrates how indigenous people and tribal communities have used skateboarding to express themselves and educate their youth.



Sutton Banner

George M. Sutton: Exploring Art & Science
January 18 through April 20, 2014

When George Miksch Sutton arrived in Norman in the spring of 1952 to begin work at The University of Oklahoma, he was already an acclaimed artist, writer, explorer and teacher. His passionate interest in ornithology and the natural sciences had led him on several expeditions in the continental US as well as the Arctic north, Mexico and South America. By the time of his death in 1982, he had written 13 books, over 200 scientific journal articles and illustrated at least 18 books.

George M. Sutton: Exploring Art and Science features 75 watercolor paintings from George Miksch Sutton's Mexico, Arctic and US expeditions. Also in the exhibit will be personal items from Dr. Sutton’s life and travels, including the watercolor paint box given to him by his mentor, Louis Agassiz Fuertes in 1916 when Sutton was 18. The paint box was treasured by Sutton and accompanied him on every major expedition.

The exhibit will also include rare video of Dr. Sutton speaking about his art and how he painted some works direct from life.



Art of S+P

The Art of Sport + Play Experience
October 19 through January 26, 2014

Kevin Carroll’s first exhibition, The Art of Sport and Play, is a personal look at selected pieces of memorabilia gathered from Kevin’s travels around the world. The heart of the collection is a group of handcrafted balls created by children with found materials from their native lands. With a playful spirit, The Art of Sport and Play tells a story about the universal power of sport. Created for all ages, the exhibit shows that sport and play are common human denominators and equalizers. No matter where you go in the world sport and play is ever-present – we ALL PLAY + we ALL SPEAK BALL.

Acclaimed author of Rules of the Red Rubber Ball and What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?!, Carroll grew up in Philadelphia playing as many sports as he could find. He played whatever sport was in season – soccer, football, basketball, baseball – and the red rubber ball was always there. It became a powerful symbol of sport while he ran, chased, caught, kicked, bounced and threw balls. His passion for sports has led to a life of advancing sports and play as a vehicle for social change.




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.

Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History