My personal favorite part of the art gallery experience is chatting with the artist about his work -- his inspiration, process and how he moves from an idea to a work of art.
I'm in a unique position because, as a writer, I often get the opportunity to talk to the artist at length and in depth about his work, usually before anyone else has seen it, so that I may accurately convey the experience on paper. Gallery goers, too, have the chance to chat with an artist at an exhibit opening, and artists typically welcome this, but with so many in attendance vying for that opportunity, those encounters are usually brief and fleeting.
But Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road, which, since June has hosted Rauschenberg at Gemini, an exhibition of experimental assemblages by renowned printmaker Robert Rauschenberg, is offering everyone the opportunity to get to know the artist behind the work on display.
On Saturday, Aug. 27, Philbrook will present Combined Impressions, an afternoon of celebrating the life, work and influence of Robert Rauschenberg, one of the 20th century's most important artists.
The event runs from 1-5pm and features special guests Mary Lynn Kotz, official Rauschenberg biographer, and Stanley Grinstein, co-founder of Los Angeles-based Gemini G.E.L., the lithography where Rauschenberg created art from 1967 to 2001. His work there, collaborating with Gemini printers, yielded more than 250 two- and three-dimensional objects, and 50 of them are on display at Philbrook now.
Topics for Saturday's event include the artist's life, print production and diverse collaborations with other artists, choreographers, and composers. The event is unlike any Philbrook has hosted before.
"We wanted to dig a little bit deeper into his life and his art and give people a little bit more about the 360 degrees of that as a companion to Rauschenberg at Gemini," said Jeff Martin, online communities manager for Philbrook. "We wanted to highlight as many areas of his work and life as we could in an afternoon."
Philbrook's Rauschenberg exhibit opened a couple of months after Brookside's Aberson Exhibits hosted a Rauschenberg show, and after it closes on Sept. 11, Norman's Fred Jones Jr. Museum will open a different Rauschenberg exhibit.
"There are several things happening with Rauschenberg, so we thought maybe this is a good chance to give people a little bit more insight into the artist's life and work," Martin said.
The day will include an interview with artist and Rauschenberg collaborator James Rosenquist via Skype, as well as a conversation with a member of New York's Trisha Brown Dance Co., with which Rauschenberg often worked. Tulsa Symphony Orchestra pianist Amy Cottingham will perform music by John Cage, who attended Black Mountain College with the artist.
Tickets to the event are $25 for Philbrook members and $30 for non-members. The event is presented in partnership with The Cunningham Dance Foundation, The John Cage Trust, and Gemini G.E.L. More information is at philbrook.org.
In the galleries
Artists of the Tulsa Girls Art School, which provides free art instruction to elementary school girls living in underserved areas of the city, are exhibiting their work at Circle Cinema, 8 S. Lewis Ave., now through Sept. 18.
Titled Raining Cats and Dogs, the exhibit features paintings of Circle Cinema patrons' pets, as well as painted umbrellas.
Circle Cinema issued a call to its patrons, asking them to submit photos of their pooches and felines for the girls to paint. Chuck Foxen, a gallery representative, said much of the work has already been sold. Sales of the girls' work benefit both the art school and the individuals.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale goes back to the organization, but most of it is put into an account that the student may use for art-related activities and/or supplies or college tuition.
More information about the organization is at tulsagirlsartschool.org.
Calls to artists
Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady St., has sounded two calls to artists. On Sunday, Aug. 28, from 2-4pm, TAC member artists are invited to submit one or two works for Compendium 25, the gallery's annual juried members' show, which this year celebrates TAC's 25th anniversary.
The exhibit is open to artists working in all media, and works may be of any size; although, the gallery may only accommodate a few very large works, so size may influence a juror's decision. Work dropped off on Sunday must be ready to hang. Artists will be notified Tuesday of selection.
Cash prizes will be awarded in categories like Best of Show ($150), Juror's Choice ($75 each) and Peoples' Choice ($100).
Compendium 25 opens Friday, Sept. 2 with a reception from 6-9pm and continues through Sept. 24. To inquire about membership, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 6-9pm or by appointment.
TAC Gallery is also seeking proposals for exhibitions in its gallery for the 2012-13 season. The call goes out to both established and emerging artists of all media with an emphasis on the contemporary. Artists need not live in Tulsa to qualify, and the call is also open to those interested in curating a themed group show.
Submissions are accepted annually from Aug. 1-Sept. 30, and more information about submitting is available at tacgallery.org/submissions.html.
Tulsa's Young Professionals is also seeking artists for its annual Next/Now Art Show. In its sixth year, Next/Now is an opportunity for young artists, ages 21-40, to exhibit work. This year's event is Oct. 24-28 at Aberson's Exhibits, 3524 S. Peoria Ave.
The exhibit is open to TYPros members working in any media. Membership to the organization is free. Submissions are due Sept. 27 and must be made via email. Artists should email an image of one piece, along with his or name, phone number, email address, title of the piece, media, price (if available for sale) and a 50- to 150-word statement of work. Artists may submit up to five pieces for consideration. A panel of jurors will select the work to be included in the show on Oct. 5.
For more information about TYPros and the Next/Now Art Show, go to typros.org.
The Jenks Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for its eighth annual Art on Main event, which is Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10am to 5pm. Artists of all media are eligible to apply. The deadline is Sept. 2, and information is available at jenkschamber.com.
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