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Saxon Lecturer to Discuss Bruce Goff and Experimental Architecture


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                

CONTACT: Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701

NORMAN — Architect, curator and educator Aaron Betsky will discuss “Bruce Goff and Experimental Architecture” at the Wylodean Saxon Memorial Lecture, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 8, on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus.

Betsky’s visit launches the exhibition “Bruce Goff: A Creative Mind,” which opens to the public Oct. 9 at OU’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The exhibition brings Goff’s previously un-built designs to life through a combination of original drawings, paintings and detailed three-dimensional virtual reality tours. In addition, 3-D models give viewers the ability to look from the outside in at some of Goff’s work.

“Aaron Betsky has earned international recognition as an outstanding architect, curator and teacher,” said OU President David L. Boren. “He leads public discourse nationally on the relevance of art and the environment to achieving successful architecture. Mr. Betsky draws on a background that includes study with Yale educator Vincent Scully, who has been honored nationally as one of the country’s leading architectural historians.”

Betsky is the director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, the oldest art museum west of the Allegheny Mountains. In his capacity there, he oversees public programs and exhibitions based on a collection of more than 60,000 works of art.

Previously, Betsky was the director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, from 2001 until 2006. During his tenure, he increased the museum’s budget and quadrupled the volume of educational activities. In addition, he launched an international traveling exhibition program that doubled the number of visitors to exhibitions and widened the overall exhibitions program to include art and design along with architecture.

Betsky also served as curator of architecture, design and digital projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from 1995 until 2001, and served as director of the 11th International Architecture Biennale Venice in 2008.

He is the author of a dozen books on architecture, design and art, and is in the process of preparing his collected essays for publication and writing a critical survey of modernism in design, both forthcoming in 2011.

A native of Missoula, Mont., Betsky lived in the Netherlands for several years before attending Yale College and the Yale School of Architecture. He is active as a critic, blogger, jury member and visiting design professor.

The lecture will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Mary Eddy and Fred Jones Auditorium on the lower level of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave.

The Wylodean Saxon Memorial Lecture is funded through a generous gift from Mrs. Saxon’s husband, Bill D. Saxon, an OU alumnus and longtime benefactor. The gift, announced in 2005, was made in memory of Mrs. Saxon, who died in October 2003, and included an endowment for the directorship of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

Wylodean Cornelison Saxon was a lifelong student of the arts. Her appetite for knowledge about art and art history took her to museums all over the world, but her heart always stayed close to Norman, the community where she was born and raised. This dedication was reflected in her ongoing participation on the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Board of Visitors.

Seating for the lecture is limited. For more information, reservations or accommodations on the basis of disability, call the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at (405) 325-3784.

The Goff exhibition is a collaboration between the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville and the OU colleges of Architecture and Engineering, with animation and 3-D renderings created by Oklahoma City’s Skyline Ink Animation Studios.

Goff, an architectural prodigy whose first design project was created at the age of 15, was chairman of the OU School of Architecture from 1947 to 1955. In his honor, the OU College of Architecture sponsors the Bruce Goff Chair of Creative Architecture Lecture series.

Among Goff’s works is the Ledbetter House of Norman, which was gifted to the university by OU alumnus Roy T. Oliver in 2007. The house was commissioned by H.E. and Lois Ledbetter in 1947 and completed in 1948. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, it incorporates natural forms with modernity in Goff’s mission to bring harmony between geometrical shape and natural form.

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