“Allan Houser: On the Roof” celebrates the 100th anniversary of the renowned Oklahoma artist’s birth. Noted for his talents as a painter, draftsman, and sculptor, Houser’s groundbreaking work provided a new voice for the Native American artist. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art joins more than 10 museums and cultural institutions throughout the state in honoring his legacy.
“To participate in this unique state-wide recognition of our extraordinary native son is a privilege,” said President and CEO E. Michael Whittington in a news release. “Houser’s artistry is well known here in Oklahoma and across the country. It’s exciting that the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is able to present his lesser known abstract sculpture in our dramatic rooftop setting.”
The selection of Houser’s sculptures on view on the Museum’s Roof Terrace reveals how deftly he combined aspects of his Chiricahua Apache heritage with elements of European modernism. Influenced by artists such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, Houser experimented with the creative, conceptual possibilities of abstraction. “Seeking Embrace” and “Harmony” explore universal themes of humankind, while “Dawn” references the reclining figure of a woman. His interest in abstraction and representation meld in minimalist sculptures such as “Reverence” and “This Was Our Home.”
Born in Oklahoma in 1914, Houser was the first member of the Chiricahua Apache tribe born outside captivity after the tribe’s 28 years of imprisonment. After their release from Fort Sill, the family settled on a farm near Lawton, nd young Allan attended Boone Public School before enrolling at the Painting Studio of the Santa Fe Indian School in 1934.
Allan Houser achieved national and international critical and commercial success. Among his many honors, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1985 and received the National Medal of the Arts in 1992. Allan Houser died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1994.
While the exhibition is on view, the Museum’s roof terrace will be open during normal business hours, weather permitting. The Museum Cafe will be offering a boxed lunch option with admission to the museum to enjoy lunch on the roof terrace and viewing the Allan Houser exhibition. More information can be found at www.okcmoa.com.
More Allan Houser exhibitions and celebrations from participating museums can be found at www.OKHouser.org.
Also, my colleagues and I are working on a package of stories about the ongoing Houser centennial celebration that you can check out Sunday in The Oklahoman, on NewsOK and here at BAM’s Blog.