Few art collectors accumulate more than 5,000 works of art in their lifetime, and even fewer donate those works to an institution in order to strengthen education. Scottsdale, Ariz. attorney and collector James T. Bialac, who donated his massive collection of Native American art to the University of Oklahoma for this reason, will deliver a public lecture at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12 at the Fred Jones Jr. Art Museum.
Bialac will offer a walking tour of a recent installation, entitled James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection: Recent Acquisitions, in the museum’s Ellen and Richard L. Sandor Photography Gallery.
In 2010, Bialac officially donated its Native American art collection to the university. One of the largest private collections of contemporary Native American art ever accumulated, it originally contained 3,500 objects representing 128 tribes, including paintings, works on paper, sculptures, ceramics, and katsinam. Since bringing art to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Bialac has continued to acquire art for the collection, adding approximately 300 new works each year. This exhibition, presented until the beginning of June, presents a selection of works representative of the collector’s interests and his support for the museum’s initiatives.
“Mr. Bialac has been a steadfast supporter of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in continuing to grow its collection for the benefit of our patrons and the Indigenous art community,” said Heather Ahtone, James T. Bialac associate of the museum.
Curator of Native American and non-Western art.
“We have been able to support research in the field of contemporary Aboriginal art because of the depth and breadth of its collection. His visits are always highly anticipated by our museum patrons, and it is wonderful that he is willing to share his knowledge of the art he has collected over the past few years on behalf of the art museum.
Through the donation of her collections to OU, Bialac has helped provide new insight into Native American culture. Its collections are an important research resource for art history students, including graduate UO doctoral students. Native American art program.
As a lawyer, he has built strong relationships with many prominent artists through his legal practice and has served as a juror for many of the most prominent contemporary Native art exhibitions, including the Santa Fe Indian Market. His collection multimillion-dollar collection includes more than 5,000 works that represent Indigenous cultures from across North America, particularly the Southwestern Pueblo, Navajo, Hopi, many Northern and Southern Plains tribes, and the tribes of the southeast. It also includes approximately 2,600 paintings and works on paper, 1,400 katsinam and 200 pieces of jewelry depicting major indigenous artists.
Works from the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection are currently housed at several OU Norman campuses including the College of Law, College of International Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and the Bizzell Memorial Library; the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center at the OU Health Sciences Center; and the Schusterman Center in OU-Tulsa, where they serve as a major educational tool.
Bialac’s visit coincides with the receipt of an honorary doctorate, which he will be awarded at the university’s commencement ceremony on May 13 at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Bialac is honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters for his role as a dedicated collector of Native American art, which he generously shared with others, thereby advancing appreciation of the art form and scholarship in this domain both at OU and globally.
The gallery lecture on May 12 and the ensuing informal reception in the museum’s Sandy Bell Gallery are open to the public; admission to both is free.