Gilcrease Museum (and this Tour Sucks)

Hi.  I would like to report that work sucks donkey balls today. And yesterday.  I have had four cancellations, and only two sessions total.  That means that I have not even covered the cost of the hotel room.  Naturally, my least-favorite client has scheduled a session with me tomorrow at 9 AM (UGH), and I KNOW he will come through.  He is gross and barely tolerable, but at least he always tips.  He’s the guy who slobbers over every inch of my body outside my panties (“body worship,” they call it.  I call it “Being consentlly molested for cash.”). At least he always tips $100.

Anyway, I’m in this hotel room and I’m bored, so GUESS WHAT I’VE GOT FOR YOU?!?!  An ART TOUR!  Just what my 8 readers, all of whom are submissive pervy males, really want, I’m sure!

Let’s visit…Gilcrease Museum, a truly fantastic art museum dedicated to the artwork and history of the American West and American Indian culture located near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Now, I’ve been all over the US, and OK is the worst knuckle-dragging state in the Union.  I would rather live in Alabama.  Oklahoma is good for nothing except some of its WPA art in downtown Tulsa, its University, Gilcrease Museum, and lighteningbugs (I guess the BBQ is good, too).  Exempting the Indians, who did not deserve to be rounded up and sent to that shithole, the people are barbarians.  They do have a few touching Southern/semi-midWestern cultural habits, such as pulling off to the side of the road and blinking the headlights when a hearse goes by, and you’ll be offered to stay for dinner whenever you’re on someone’s property, even if it’s just to return a tool you borrowed, but, believe me, they’re barbarians. These people noodle, man.  Grown men wear overalls without t-shirts TO WORK. It is the only place in America I would never admit to being an atheist, outside of maybe the college campus.  Oh HELL NO.  It would be risky to even say I was Roman Catholic.

Moving on: Gilcrease Museum is a bastion of beauty, an oasis, in this cultural wasteland.

Gilcrease is a gem and a credit to everyone who works or has ever worked there.

These are some of my favorite pieces.  I’ve intentionally left out most of the Native American art I especially like because I don’t feel qualified to talk about it; I’m not educated enough about it to discuss it in an accurate and sophisticated manner.  I don’t want to be racist or fetishize it.

Click on any image for info about the artist, nationality of the artist (most are American, but a few are not), and more info about the artifact.

 

Colt Single Action Pistol
Colt Single Action Pistol

My kind of gun!  I love wheel guns (revolvers).  In my opinion, if you can’t hit something in 6 shots, you don’t deserve to have the gun. My first (and favorite, to this day) gun is a .32 Smith & Wesson long-nose revolver. It had a beautiful burled wooden grip, but I reluctantly had to replace it with a rubber grip I could keep firmly in my hand.   That is one thing  will still don’t understand about old handguns: why were the handles/grips so damn small? The handle was small for ME, and I’m a woman with small/delicate hands (though I’m tall).  My shooting instructor, a tall big man with big hands, found the grip inconvenient.  So, why did they make them so small?

 

Breaking Through the Line
Breaking Through the Line

My favorite painting in the museum.  It’s huge, and I must have stared at it for an hour.  The artist had a vision, and the kinetic energy captured here is amazing.  In the painting, up close, that soldier is pointing his revolver right at your head.  His eye is on target and his aim is true, even with the glove on.  You’re dead meat.  Kiss your ass goodbye.

 

Hunger c. 1919 by Walter Ufer
Hunger c. 1919 by Walter Ufer, American

This one is an enigma to me, but it’s powerful, even though it’s not the style I’m most attracted to. I see three interpretations: the enforcement of Christianity on Native Americans; the fact that they were intentionally starved after being “relocated” and denied their traditional ways of procuring food; and that a girl-child dying of hunger is among the most pathetic and defenseless (and, hence, heartbreaking, if you value women enough to give a shit) persons in society.  Also, note the statue of the Virgin Mary.  Is it ironical, or not?  I can’t tell.

Black Hawk and His Son Whirling Thunder c 1833 John Wesley Jarvis
Black Hawk and His Son Whirling Thunder c 1833 John Wesley Jarvis

I included this one because the portrait is magnificent, and the men look magnificent.  I bet you anything this is EXACTLY how the men looked.  It could be on their drivers’ license photos.

I love the names Indians gave themselves; so poetical.  My favorite name was a man called “Raven Blanket.”  What name could be more beautiful than that?

 

Girl's dress w/beaded yoke Lakota Sioux 1870 deep skin, beads, porcupine quills
Girl’s dress w/beaded yoke Lakota Sioux 1870 deep skin, beads, porcupine quills

Think about how many hours, months, maybe even years went into making this, even if the women of the family were sharing the work of making it while not attending to their other jobs and child-rearing. That entire blue top is beading. One bead at a time. And beads were not cheap.

 

George Washingtn c 1785 Jean Antione Hundon Culture: FRENCH
George Washingtn c 1785 Jean Antione Hundon Culture: FRENCH

I personally consider Abraham Lincoln to be the Father of our country, but President Washington is also our father.  He is more difficult to relate to: ill-tempered, intimidating at times, completely pragmatic, a true military man.  Intelligent, but unimaginative.  I’ve read his diaries. They are all brief, factual notes about important daily events and the weather.  Nothing speculative about them, no fancy prose, nothing emotional at all.

However, he had balls of steel.  The right man, at the right time.  God bless him.

ANNNND: he underwent a major change in perspective as he went through life: over the course of his life, he turned against slavery, and recognized it as an evil institution and an inherent threat to our Republic (and so it was, and have been its consequences). This guy owned tons of slaves and didn’t think twice about it when he was a young man.  When he was older, and wrote out his last Will and Testament about his property, he freed all his slaves.  When he said he was sorry he ever owned them, he meant it.

Now, you can say that it is cowardly of him to wait until he was almost dead to free them…and you wouldn’t be wrong.  But, consider his circumstances: his slaves constituted about 80% of his total wealth.  Slaves were expensive, even back then–by the time the Civil War started, a healthy young male slave who could work outside was worth over $80,000 (yes, that’s $80k) in today’s dollars.  I have the literature; I can show you.  I used to teach this shit.

Anyway, Washington’s family predictably threw a shit-fit when they found out most of their wealth basically evaporated overnights.  That’s one reason he waited till he was almost dead.

Some of the former slaves stayed with the family, but they had to be paid average wages and “allowed” to live off the property, and they could get married to whomsoever they wanted, and their children were free and could not be sold.

Here’s a good book about the entire story, if you’re interested:

An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America, by Henry Wiencek 

 

Pony Express c 1924  Frank Tenney Johnson
Pony Express c 1924 Frank Tenney Johnson

I love this one for its drama and its beauty, an the way it perfectly captures what looks like (to me) as the very early morning–pre-dawn; see the fire or stove illuminating the inside of the Express stop?

They rode like demons; like something out of Greek mythology.  Tough job; tough men.  Pity for the ponies, though.

 

Buffalo Mother by William Robinson
Buffalo Mother by William Robinson

Is this watercolor or oil?  I can’t tell.  Anyway, it’s very moving, for obvious reasons. The wolves must be after the calf, because even an entire pack won’t go after a health adult unless they’re starving to death–buffalo are not docile or domesticated like cattle.  They are mean as hell and every time I hear about a tourist getting stomped on by a bison at Yellowstone Park for being a dumbass and trying to take a selfie with it, I laugh, even though that’s not nice.

They taste delicious, though.

Meats not Meat Till It's in the Pan c. 1915  Charles Marion Russell
Meats not Meat Till It’s in the Pan c. 1915 Charles Marion Russell

Man just shot himself a bighorn sheep and now he’s fucked (indeed, what a head-scratcher) because there’s no way in hell he’s getting it’s body off that ledge.  I’ve seen these animals in person.  They weigh up to 300 lbs and they’re as big as large ponies. I am sure the ghost of the bighorn sheep, while being bitter about being shot, is also laughing its ghost ass off at the hunter’s fuckup. Eventually, at least, the crows and scavengers will get to munch on him.

 

Sierra Nevada Morning c. 1870 Albert Bierstadt
Sierra Nevada Morning c. 1870 Albert Bierstadt

While I’m not the biggest fan of the Hudson River School–too Romantic for me–you really can’t go wrong with Bierstadt.

 

Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way c. 1861  Emanuel Gottleib Leutze  GERMAN
Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way c. 1861 Emanuel Gottleib Leutze GERMAN

The guy who painted this was a German.  As I’ve said in the past, the Western doesn’t belong to America.  The Western is a fantasy, a certain unique fantasy, and that is why it appeals to so many people across so many cultures.

This painting also perfectly represents the ideas of Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny,

This concluded my little tour of Gilcrease Museum.  Go if you’re passing through the state (and I do hope, for your sake, you’re only passing through.)  Enjoy some barbecue, too.


7 thoughts on “Gilcrease Museum (and this Tour Sucks)”

  1. Hi Margo

    No Winslow Homer. Too easy maybe. Love the Pony Express painting. Thanks for sharing.

    Take care of yourself…and stay fucking sober. I’m sure all of us worry.

    Mike

    1. Hi Mike! Sorry for the late response: I was traveling and didn’t have privacy.

      I’m a Winslow Homer fan, which is kinda interesting (to me, at least, lol) because I’m generally not attracted to watercolor. When it’s good, though, it’s GOOD, and he is one of the best.

      I left him out because so many of his paintings are maritime. He made many that are not, however, so perhaps I ought to edit the post. He really was a good artist.

      This is one of my favorites: http://www.winslow-homer.com/Canoe-in-the-Rapids.html

      It scares the shit out of me for some reason.

      Still sober, still hanging in there. I’m going back to the doctor today for a follow-up. I’ve started the Naltrexone again, and it’s a wonderful medication, but I get every side effect in the book, and until my body adjusts, it makes me sick as a dog. I couldn’t start taking it again until my esophagus healed because I knew it would make me vomit in the mornings (among other things). So, yeah, back to throwing up.

      I should be fine in a week. I’ve been through this with Naltrexone before. After the side effects stop, you’re just like normal, only not craving alcohol.

      Thanks for your comment. I always appreciate it when you comment, Mike.

      1. Hi Margo

        Here’s a funny story. I awoke last night around 2AM, out of a perfectly sound sleep and thought, “Damn is it Winslow Homer or Homer Winslow. She’s going to think I’m an idiot if I got his name backwards.” So I had to get up, go online and check it out. BIG sigh of relief. Strange how the mind works.

        Actually it was Frederic Remington I was thinking of. I haven’t thought about art much in a long time.

        Take care of yourself

        Mike

  2. Hi Mike;

    I’m AWFUL with names. When I used to teach, I’d download every student’s student ID photo and print it and cut it out and put it on a flashcard with their name & major on it, so that I could memorize their names within, say, the first MONTH. If I could have made them wear “Hello, my name is ________” stickers on their shirts, I would have.

    I’m not so good with faces, either, though, for some reason, I’ve improved a bit over the years.

    But I always, always remember a voice. If I ever had to attend a lineup to identify a potential criminal, the best way the cops could do it for me would be to blindfold me and have me identify him by voice.

    Looking up Frederic Remington. Thanks for the recommendation.

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