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Oscar Jacobson Retrospective, La Cage Aux Folles, And Paul Medina's 'Enchanted Circles'

Feb 26, 2015

This weekend, the Oscar Jacobson retrospective opens at the Fred Jr. Museum of Art, OU Musical Theater opens La Cage aux Folles and Paul Medina releases his new book Enchanted Circles. These fine Oklahoma artists will inspire and remind you of the generations of multi-talented innovators our great state has, and continues, to produce.

Oscar Brousse Jacobson began teaching art at the University of Oklahoma in 1916, opened the OU Museum of Art in 1936, and directed the museum until 1952. This Thursday, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art opens a retrospective of his works with more than 50 paintings spanning 40 years. The exhibit also displays selected works Jacobson acquired for the museum.

Mark White, the museum’s curator and interim director explains that Jacobson dedicated his career to depicting the wilderness of the American Southwest, particularly Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona.

“He balanced a productive painting career with an inexorable desire to promote appreciation for and knowledge of world cultures in the new state of Oklahoma.”

Jacobson promoted the Kiowa five and other native artists, and brokered their entry into art markets and museums.  

The exhibit includes an olfactory installation by OU media arts professor Cathleen Faubert. Last year, she received an OVAC (Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition) Art 365 grant to explore scent representation and installation. For this show, she paired a scent with each of three Jacobson paintings: Medicine Park (1925), The Glass Mountains (1949) and Horse Thief Canyon, Oklahoma (1949). The expression of the essence of a particular work of art through the medium of another art form is referred to as ekphrasis. In this vain, Faubert modeled her work Aroma of the Uncorrupted after Jacobson’s style of painting.

“In the same way that Jacobson flattened forms, smoothed planes and generally reduced the landscape to basic patterns, the aromas are spare accords rather than overly populated complex formulas.”

The Red Tank, or Indian Pool, 1940, Oscar Jacobson
Credit FJJJMA

A special preview of A World Unconquered: The Art of Oscar Brousse Jacobson for museum members begins at 6:00 p.m. The public reception begins at 7:00 p.m. with a lecture by the curator. There will be a cash bar, complimentary food and music by the Crouse String Quartet. The exhibit continues through September 6. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is now free and open to the public during all regular hours of operation.

Jacobson’s previous residence at the corner of Boyd Street and Chautaqua Avenue is another piece of his legacy here in Norman. He designed and built the stone home with passive solar techniques in 1916. It is now the Jacobson House Native Art Center, open to the public ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The OU Musical Theater department opens La Cage aux Folles Friday evening for a two week run at the Reynolds Performing Arts Center. La Cage was the first openly gay-themed musical on Broadway and won six Tony Awards in 1983. The two lead characters, Georges, a cabaret owner, and Albin, his loving partner and top drag queen at the club, inspired The Birdcage, the 1996 film adaptation starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. La Cage aux Folles, loosely translated as “Cage of Queens”, is based on a 1973 French farce of the same name by Jean Poiret. Harvey Fierstien and Jerry Herman transformed the play into a vibrant musical.

The Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theater presents La Cage aux Folles
Credit Weitzenhoffer School

The hit song “I Am What I Am” became an immediate anthem and rallying cry for self-acceptance and pride. Along with Fierstein’s 1982 drama Torch Song Trilogy, the two productions significantly contributed to the sexual orientation tolerance movement of the 80s and 90s. It was, and continues to be, a big hit with audiences. La Cage was the first musical to run for more than 1,000 consecutive Broadway performances since Oklahoma, a full ten years earlier. The Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theater’s production features actor, author and dramaturg Shawn Churchman as director. Lyn Cramer choreographs the chorus line and individual numbers. A third OU faculty member, Paul Christman is the artistic director. The show goes on Friday and Saturdays nights and Sunday afternoons through March 8.

Monday evening, L.I.P., the Literature in Performance series at the University of Central Oklahoma, hosts a book release party with Paul Medina. The talented multi-media artist published his first book, Enchanted Circles, this month.

Enchanted Circles is a story that has been in my head for 20 years,” Medina revealed in an interview with Nathan Lee. “It is a magical adventure of a boy and his personal struggle to find a sense of belonging. It’s filled with sorcerers, magical beasts, and a journey that will take the hero into a captured village inside a magical cookie jar.”

Artist Paul Medina with his new book Enchanted Circles
Credit Paul Medina

The artist owned and operated Medina’s on Paseo, a hip, musky and art-filled café that closed after the late-90s peek of the queer, late-night coffee shop phenomenon in Oklahoma City. He has been actively creating paintings, sculpture and mixed media for the past 40 years. At the book release, an actress friend will read from the self-illustrated fantasy novella. Medina will discuss the artistic and authorial process, answer questions, sign copies of his book, and give away posters of illustrations from Enchanted Circles.

There is so much to do, see and experience in central Oklahoma, but only 168 hours each week. We’ll help you make the most of it. Our calendar of community events features many choices for arts and entertainment, along with information about educational, outdoors, personal development and volunteer activities throughout the week. You may submit your own event for possible listing in KGOU’s on-air and online calendar.

Next week, we’ll preview the upcoming Native Crossroads Film Festival, featuring interviews with the filmmakers and organizers.