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Lectures and Presentations

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Lectures and Presentations

From 2000 to the present, all formal lectures have been funded by the generous support of the Merkel Family Foundation.

2023-24 – Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series: Monuments and Memory in the American West

Kirk Savage, Ph.D., William S. Dietrich II Professor, University of Pittsburgh, “Remembering the ‘Indian Wars’ East of the Mississippi: A Commemorative Paradox,” September 28, 2023, 5 PM

Chris Pappan (Osage, Kaw, Cheyenne River Sioux, and mixed European heritage), Visual Artist, “The Art of Chris Pappan and Acts of Visual Resistance,” November 16, 2023, 5 PM

Cynthia Prescott, Ph.D., Department Chair and Professor of History and American Indian Studies and Anthropology, University of North Dakota, “Pioneer Mother Monuments,” February 29, 2024, 5 PM

Scott Manning Stevens, Ph.D. (Akwesasne Mohawk), Associate Professor and Director, Native American and Indigenous Studies, “‘Hewn out of Rock’: Native America and Memorial Narratives,” Syracuse University, April 5, 2024, 5 PM



Native American Studies Capstone/Indigenous Truthtelling of Boarding Schools presentations by students of Farina King, Ph.D., May 2 and 4, 2023 9-11:45 AM

Visit with Librarian and Archivists of the Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 12-1:30 PM

Spencer Wigmore, Ph.D., Associate Curator, Amon Carter Museum of Art, workshop on developing exhibition “New Perspectives on Charles Russell,” Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 3 PM

Farina King, Ph.D. (Diné), Michael P. Taylor, Ph.D., and James R. Swenson, Ph.D., book talk on Returning Home: Diné Creative Works from the Intermountain Boarding School (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2021), Tuesday, February 23, 2023 at 3 PM

Shyanne Dickey and Kalenda Eaton, Ph.D., “Unveiling a Hidden History: Two Perspectives on the Exoduster Movement,” part of the Black Artists of Oklahoma Project (organized by Olivia von Gries and Robert Bailey, Ph.D.), followed by an opening reception of Black Artists of Oklahoma, Series 3: Shyanne Dickey’s Unveiling a Hidden History, OU Spotlight Gallery, Fred Jones Jr. Center, Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at 3 PM

Visit with Sid Richardson Director Scott Winterrowd and Director of Adult Programs Leslie Thompson, Friday, November 17, 2022


2021-22 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

"Intergenerational Practices of Activism"
Panel Discussion organized by artists Anita Fields (Osage/Muscogee) and Yatika Fields (Osage/Muscogee/Cherokee), and the Russell Center with Moderator Bineshi Albert
(Yuchi/Anishinaabe) and panelists Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria) and Amber Morning Star Byars (Choctaw/Chickasaw), April 7, 2022

"Documentary Solitaire: Experimental Filmmaking Amid Fire, Flood and Shrinking Habitat in the American West"

Lecture by Erin Espelie, Notable filmmaker, writer, editor and associate professor, Department of Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts and the Department of Critical Media Practices, University of Colorado, Boulder, February 17, 2022

"The Artist, the Painter and the Invention of the National Park: Carleton Watkins, Albert Bierstadt and the Birth of the Yosemite Idea",

Lecture by Tyler Green, Award-Winning Author and Critic, November 18, 2021



2019-20 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

"Another Frontier: Frederic Remington's East",

Mark Thistlethwaite, Ph.D., Kay and Velma Kimbell Chair of Art History, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, October 10, 2019

"When the Legend Becomes Reel:  Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington on the Hollywood Frontier"     

Dan Gagliasso, Writer, Director, and Film Historian, Los Angeles, September 12, 2019



2018-19 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

"Big-Outfit Cowboys in the 21st Century"

John Langmore, Photographer and Film Director and Writer, Austin, Texas, February 7, 2019


2017-18 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

"The American West in the Camargue: Film, Material Culture and Regionalist Primitivism, c. 1912"
Emily C. Burns, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, September 29, 2017



2016-17 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

"'Equal Parts Deadwood and Disney':  Tourism, Authenticity, and Popular Culture in Tombstone, Arizona"
Kara McCormack, Ph.D., Lecturer in the Humanities, Stanford University, November 17, 2016

"'Hold it Right There!' Moments in Time Through Early Texas Photography"
David Coleman, Ph.D., Director, The Wittliff Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, October 27, 2016



2014-15 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

“ADVANCE WORK: Art and Advertising in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West”
Michelle Delaney, Ph.D., Director, Consortia for the Humanities, Senior Program Officer, Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, April 9, 2015

"John Wayne, Cowgirl Cats and the New Golden Age of Westerns"

Andrew Patrick Nelson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Film History and Critical Studies, School of Film and Photography, Montana State University, Bozeman, March 26, 2015

"Madonnas of the Prairie:  Depictions of Women in the American West"
Michael R. Grauer, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and the Curator of Art and Western Heritage, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas, November 21, 2014

"A Portable Landscape: Frank Reaugh's Paintings of the Southwest"
Peter F. Mears, Curator of Art, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, November 7, 2014



2012-13 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

"Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O’Sullivan"
Toby Jurovics, Chief Curator and Holland Curator of American Western Art, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, March 28, 2013

"Contemporary Trends in Western Photography"
Becky Senf, Ph.D., Norton Family Curator of Photography at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and at the Phoenix Art Museum, February 21, 2013

“It’s About Time – to Rethink the Art of New Mexico”
Joseph Traugott, Ph.D., Curator of 20th-Century art at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, NM, November 8, 2012

“O’Keeffe in Abiquiu: Mid-Century Modernism in a Spanish Colonial House”
Sarah Burt, the Chan and Clara Ferguson Chief Curator of the C.M. Russell Museum, October 11, 2012



2010-11 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

“The Way Out West: Desert Landscapes”
Michelle Van Parys, Author and Professor, Studio Art Department, College of Charleston, SC, April 14, 2011

“A Life in Pictures: Moment by Moment”

Kurt Markus, Internationally-Acclaimed Photographer, Kalispell, MT, January 27, 2011

“In the Remington Moment”
Stephen Tatum, Ph.D., Professor of English and American Studies, and Director of the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, November 11, 2010

Re-exploring the West, Recent Photographic Projects
Mark KlettRegents’ Professor, School of ArtHerberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, August 26, 2010



2008-09 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

“Photographer’s Double: The Historian as Photographer, the Photographer as Historian

Richard Steven Street, Ph.D., Photographer, Historian and Author, San Anselmo, CA, April 23, 2009

“The Art of Larry McNeil: Fly by Night Mythology
Larry McNeil, Tlingit-Nishka, Professor of Photography, Boise State University and Award-Winning Artist, Boise, ID, April 9, 2009

“Burning Man: On the Trail of Maynard Dixon
Donald J. Hagerty, Author and Art Historian, Davis, CA, February 19, 2009

“New Art Indigenous to the Soil”The Santa Fe Art Colony and Native American Fine Art
Suzan Campbell, Gund Curator of Western Art, History and Culture at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, IN, September 18, 2008



2006-07 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

“Telling the Truth: Three Photographers of the American West”
Jonathan Spaulding, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Museum of the American West, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA, April 5, 2007

“Staking a Claim in Custer County: The Homesteading Experience and the Solomon D. Butcher Photographic Archive (1886-1892)”
M. Melissa Wolfe, Associate Curator of American ArtColumbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH, February 22, 2007

“Thomas Moran and the Chromolithograph Controversy”
Joni Kinsey, Ph.D., Professor of American ArtSchool of Art and Art History, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, December 8, 2006

“White wanderers of the wilderness” Charles Deas’s Paintings of Trappers and Indians
Carol Clark, Ph.D., Professor of Fine Arts and American StudiesAmherst College, Amherst, MA, October 5, 2006



2004-05 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

“New Definitions for Western American Art in the Twenty-First Century”
James Ballinger, The Sybil Harrington Director, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ, April 28, 2005

“Exploring Charlie Russell’s Yarns”
Raphael Cristy, award-winning historian/actor, Albuquerque, NM, February 10, 2005

“Seth Eastman: Illustrating Native Life”
Sarah Boehme, John S. Bugas Curator, Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY, November 4, 2004

Red Cloud, Photography, and the Challenge of Native American Biography
Frank Goodyear, Ph.D., Assistant Curator of PhotographsNational Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, October 7, 2004



2002-03 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

“‘Keep Your Plant and Water It’: The Art of the Dallas Nine”
Sam Ratcliffe, Head of Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, and Lecturer, Department of History, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, April 29, 2003

“Wildlife Art: Kitsch or Kunst?”
Francine Carraro, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole, WY, February 13, 2003

“George Catlin in Indian Territory”
Joan Troccoli, Ph.D., Director, Institute of Western American Art, Denver Museum of Art, Denver, CO, November 14, 2002

“Why Bodmer? A Scientific Illustrator in the American West”
Ron Tyler, Ph.D., Executive Director, Texas State Historical Association, Professor of art history, University of Texas, Austin, TX, October 24, 2002



2000-01 Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series

“Object Lessons:  Connoisseurship and American Western Art”
Eric Widing, Vice President and Senior Specialist, American Paintings and Sculpture, Christie’s, New York, NY, March 1, 2001

“Collecting Vintage Charles M. Russell Postcards”
Joe Crosby, Collector and Chairman Emeritus of the Oklahoma Arts Institute, Norman, OK, December 7, 2000

“The Mountain Landscapes of Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran: Düsseldorf versus Turner”
Linda Ferber, Andrew Mellon Curator of American Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY, November 2, 2000

“Georgia O’Keeffe & the West”
Lisa Messinger, Assistant Curator of 20th-Century Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, October 5, 2000



1999-2000 Lecture Series

“Establishing an Oklahoma Landscape”
Steve Hill, Head of the University of Oklahoma Landscaping, April 20, 2000
Sponsored by Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment (IPE and OUr Earth), Norman, OK

“Apaches and Cutthroats: A Search for Native Western Trout” part of the series, “Working in the West: Four Contemporary Artists”
Don Longcrier, University of Oklahoma graduate, MFA, Painting, 1994, Norman, OK, December 2, 1999; held in conjunction with the exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Art of the American West,
August 28 – November 28, 1999

“Way Out West” part of the series, “Working in the West: Four Contemporary Artists”

Dan Kiacz, Brian E. & Sandra O’Brien President’s Professor, Printmaking, University of Oklahoma School of Art, Norman, OK, November 11, 1999; held in conjunction with the exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Art of the American West, August 28 – November 28, 1999

“Tracing History Through Cowboy Song”
Jana Fallin, Ph.D., Professor of Music, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, November 10, 1999

“Battleships, Pickups and Intrigues” part of the series, “Working in the West: Four Contemporary Artists”
Burt Harbison, University of Oklahoma graduate, MFA, Painting, 1993, Norman, OK, October 21, 1999, held in conjunction with the exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Art of the American West
August 28 – November 28, 1999

“Multiple Images of a Complex Nature: Landscape Photography of the American Southwest” part of the series, “Working in the West: Four Contemporary Artists”
Chad D. Smith, Assistant Professor, Photography, University of Oklahoma School of Art, Norman, OK, September 30, 1999; held in conjunction with the exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Art of the American West, August 28 – November 28, 1999