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Wildlife in Contemporary Art Exhibit Now Open at Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art


Wildlife in Contemporary Art Exhibit Now Open at Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art



June 7, 2024

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NORMAN, OKLA. – The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma recently unveiled “Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art,” an exhibit organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The exhibit, running through Sept. 22, explores how contemporary artists use animal imagery to address humanity's interconnectedness with the natural world.

Comprised exclusively of works from the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s permanent collection, the exhibition features a wide range of media divided into four thematic sections: tradition, politics, science and aesthetics. The themes act as overlapping chapters, investigating how animal imagery is used to tackle human concerns.

“We are delighted to present this series of work in a new, thought-provoking way. I hope that visitors consider these themes in other works of art to explore our interconnectedness with wildlife,” said Tammi Hanawalt, Ph.D., curator of art at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

The exhibition’s title, “Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art,” is a play on Charles Darwin’s concept of natural selection from his work, On the Origin of Species. Darwin’s ideas influenced the development of wildlife art in the late 1800s, with artists beginning to depict animals in natural habitats. The artists in the exhibit represent another stage in the evolution of animal art, portraying animals in alternative, often unnatural spaces more closely linked to civilization than wilderness.

“The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is proud to partner with the National Wildlife Museum of Art and Art Bridges to bring this exhibition to the community. The subject matter is relatable and compelling, appealing to audiences of all ages,” said Thomas Brent Smith, Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

On Saturday, June 29, from 5-6:30 p.m., dance and visual art will merge with the exhibition as a backdrop. Students ages 14 to 20 from the OU School of Dance Summer Intensive program will perform a piece inspired by the exhibition and choreographed by Raúl Tamez, director of La Infinita Compañía. The free event starts with a performance at the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center, followed by an immersive experience at the museum.

On Saturday, Aug. 10, from 1-3 p.m., the public is invited to celebrate the exhibition with live music, refreshments, hands-on activities, a scavenger hunt and more. The event is free.

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, located at 555 Elm Ave. on the OU Norman Campus, is closed on Mondays. Regular hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For accommodations, phone 405-325-4938.

“Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art” is organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art with support from Art Bridges.

Learn more about the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.


Gillie and Marc. Gillie (Australia, b. England, 1965) and Marc (Australia, b. 1961), "The Last Three Stood Proud and Tall," 2018. Bronze. 79×79× 37 inches. Gift of the 2018 Collectors Circle, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Gillie and Marc. M2018.054 

About the University of Oklahoma:

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit

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