The Norman Transcript

October 3, 2010

Goff work portrayed with 21st century technology

By Aaron Wright Gray
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — When Ghislain d’Humières, Wylodean and Bill Saxton director for the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, came to Oklahoma three years ago, one of the few things he knew about the state was Bruce Goff.

Since arriving and serendipitously moving into a home designed by Goff, d’Humières knew he wanted to pay homage to what he describes as one of the century’s most internationally respected architects.

“I want to show all the creativity of Bruce Goff,” d’Humières said.

Beginning Saturday, d’Humières will have that chance with the opening of the exhibit “Bruce Goff: A Creative Mind.”

d’Humières, who also serves as co-curator of the exhibit, said the exhibit features nearly 30 original drawings, some of unbuilt designs, four paintings by Goff and three-dimensional virtual reality tours of several of Goff’s projects. The videos were created by Skyline Ink Animation Studios and OU alumnus Brian Eyerman based on Goff’s renderings. To enhance the visual appeal of the videos, a 180-degree, full-peripheral “pod” was constructed in the center of the exhibit where up to 12 guests can become immersed in the world of Goff’s designs.

Four three-dimensional models of Goff structures, produced by the OU School of Engineering using cutting-edge printing technology, also will be on display during the exhibit.

Although d’Humières said he was skeptical of using modern techniques to visualize Goff’s works at first, through interviews with students and clients of Goff’s, d’Humières came to the conclusion that if Goff were alive today, he would be working with the newest of technology. d’Humières then made it his goal “to celebrate Mr. Goff’s creative mind with 21st century technology.”

The exhibit also features a portrayal of the Crystal Chapel done by fellow artist, FJJMA board member and Goff fan Ellen Sandor. The work is titled “Perfect Prisms: Crystal Chapel.”

“She looked into his world and got inspired,” d’Humières said. He noted that using her piece illustrates to guests how Goff is still impacting artists today. Especially notable is that he’s inspiring people not in the field of architecture, d’Humières said.

Goff was born a Kansas native in 1904, but moved to Oklahoma at just 2 years old. At age 12, Goff took an apprenticeship with a Tulsa architectural firm. By 15, he had completed his first project. In 1946, Goff came to Norman after accepting an invitation to teach at the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture. He quickly was moved to chairman and served in that capacity until 1955. Following his retirement, he went on to establish a private practice in Bartlesville, Kansas City, Mo., and Tyler, Texas, according to information from the FJJMA.

The exhibit will remain open until Jan. 2. It will then travel to the Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville.

Opening weekend activities begin at 10 a.m. Saturday with a morning symposium at the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall in the Catlett Music Center that runs until 12:30 p.m. Symposium speakers include Eyerman with “Music-Architecture-Animation,” Hans Butzer with “Seeds for a Pod,” Sidney K. Robinson with “Wright-Goff-and After,” Kay L. Johnson with “Creativity and the Organic Architecture of Bruce Goff,” Scott W. Perkins with “Bruce Goff and the Modern Organic Interior” and Mark A. White with “’Steadily to the Ideal-’ The Paintings of Bruce Goff.”

A box lunch at the OU Memorial Union is scheduled from 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m. Cost for the lunch is $15. The afternoon symposium picks up at 2 p.m. and runs until 4 p.m. with a panel discussion on “Bruce Goff and Followers.”

An opening reception will take place at 7 p.m. at the museum.

The festivities continue Sunday with a Goff landmark bus tour which will travel through the metro. The tour is already full.

The opening weekend is free and open to the public. Registration is required for the symposia by e-mailing Registration forms are available at as well.

Two related musical events will take place the week following the opening. “The Architecture of Music” will begin at 6 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Pitman Recital Hall in Catlett Music Center. The performance and discussion will feature Third Coast Percussion. The group will return the next day with a show at 8 p.m at the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall in the Catlett Music Center.

Other events affiliated with the exhibit are planned through the semester.

An exhibition catalog with information on Goff and his life, along with photos of his work and designs, is available at the gift shop at the museum.

Aaron Wright Gray 366-3533