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Philbrook Museum of Art Selects Gluckman Mayner Architects for Downtown Expansion

TULSA, OK.- Two transformational gifts—the Eugene B. Adkins Collection of Native American and Southwestern Art and the George R. Kravis II Design Collection—combined with the support of the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), have spurred the development of a new satellite facility of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa’s historic Brady District. GKFF’s generous provision of approximately 30,000 square feet within the former Mathews Warehouse will house two distinct but interrelated initiatives. The facility’s first level will be dedicated to presenting modern and contemporary art and design. The second level will house the Adkins Collection & Study Center.

“We believe these initiatives will directly enhance the cultural life of our community and region,” says Philbrook director Randall Suffolk. “Their presence will strengthen Philbrook’s commitment to inclusivity and greatly expand our programmatic impact. In addition, it represents a mission-driven opportunity for this museum to lend momentum to our city’s revitalization efforts.”

The Brady District, an area of brick warehouses just north of Tulsa’s central business district, is already home to galleries, arts non-profits, and nightlife hotspots. In addition to the Philbrook space, the Mathews Warehouse will accommodate several other GKFF-sponsored projects currently in development. To that end, the GKFF has provided $18 million for the transformation, inside and out, of the entire Mathews complex into downtown’s latest cultural nexus. Another component to the downtown revitalization is an urban park designed by SWA Group of Sausalito, CA, an award-winning landscape architecture, planning, and urban design group who are known for creating exceptional spaces.

Says Ken Levit, executive director of GKFF, "We’re proud of the partnerships that we’ve forged to make downtown Tulsa not only a focal point for the arts, but a destination by transforming this exciting space at the Mathews Building into a center for artistic expression and education in the Brady Arts District."

Using the Adkins Collection and Philbrook’s own Native American art collection as cornerstones, The Adkins Collection & Study Center will focus on the exhibition and study of Native American art and will highlight important and related examples of Southwestern American and Taos Society artists from each collection.

The Adkins Collection comprises nearly 1,800 objects of the highest quality and is exceptionally well documented. The Philbrook’s own collection of Native American art is among the museum’s greatest strengths and is one of the best in the nation. Combined, these collections present one of the finest surveys of twentieth-century Native American art anywhere, supplemented by the Museum’s Lawson Library, containing 1,100 rare and out-of-print volumes focusing on Native American history and culture. The extraordinary synergy of these three collections will distinguish the center as a unique resource of international importance.

Since December 2008 Philbrook has received more than 250 works of twentieth- and twenty-first-century design from the George R. Kravis II Design Collection. The promised gift has provided Philbrook with a core collection of exceptional design material and established a vital new collecting area for the museum.

From American art deco and streamline to mid-century modern and contemporary, the collection includes objects reflecting the evolution and breadth of modern design. The gift includes objects created by many iconic figures in the history of international industrial design from 1900 to the present. From the 1930s and ’40s, the collection includes work by such designers as Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss, Peter Müller-Munk, Gilbert Rohde, Walter Dorwin Teague, and Walter Von Nessen. There are mid-century works by Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Russel Wright, as well as contemporary pieces by Shiro Kuramata, Philippe Starck, and Ettore Sottsass.

New York-based Gluckman Mayner Architectshas adapted the interior of the historic industrial structure to accommodate the Philbrook collections, with local firm Kinslow Keith & Todd directing renovations of the building’s exterior. Speaking of his firm’s sensitive design for the new interior, Richard Gluckman says, “The Mathews Warehouse exemplifies early twentieth-century American industrial architecture and is eminently suited for adaptive re-use as an arts venue. Our renovation respects the past, accommodates the requirements of the present, and anticipates the future.”

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