Stuart no-so-little

Four years and $13 million later, Norman’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art has much more to love, with the opening of its 18,000-square-foot Stuart Wing.

“We pretty much doubled the size. Of course, I’m not objective, but the inside looks stunning,” said Ghislain d’Humières, museum director, noting high gallery ceilings, oak flooring and state-of-the-art lighting.

To commemorate the project’s completion, the museum hosts a fourday gala of activities starting Thursday, including live music, artist demonstrations, storytellers, symposiums and — on Saturday and Sunday — free admission.

“It’s a great way to get the community together and celebrate with us,” d’Humières said.

Designed by Oklahoma City architect Rand Elliott, the Stuart Wing houses the $50 million Eugene B. Adkins Collection, deemed one of the most important private collections of Taos and Native American artists. D’Humières said when he first met with Elliott, “I explained to him what we needed. We told him, ‘It’s not about the outside, it’s about the inside,’ and he even managed to make the outside look fantastic.”

The Adkins installation, combined with the debut of “No Heaven Awaits Us: Contemporary Chinese Photography & Video” and the current “Robert Rauschenberg: Prints from Universal Limited Art Editions, 1962-2008,” both of which run through Dec. 30, demonstrates the sheer diversity of the museum’s collections, d’Humières said.

“Even many people who have been here before, 70 percent of what is exhibited, they haven’t seen before,” he said. “People walking through are amazed. Art is not dead. It’s breathing in all life, and it’s something you should take advantage of.”

Rod Lott

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