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Leon Polk Smith: Back to Oklahoma

May 31, 2016 - September 2, 2016


This exhibition was drawn from a recent gift of works on paper to the museum from the Leon Polk Smith Foundation. A native of Oklahoma, Leon Polk Smith (1906-1996) moved to New York in 1945 where he pioneered a style of geometric abstraction that laid the foundation for Minimalism in the 1960s. Better known for his paintings, Smith created approximately 2,000 unique works on paper throughout his career. Their sheer number testifies to their significance to him.


Never widely exhibited or studied, the drawings provide a more complete picture of Smith’s development and working habits. The 30 works in the exhibition survey his art from his early figurative work and his testing of different European modernist styles to the pared-down, hardedge abstractions that were refined over the remainder of his career. Leon Polk Smith: Back to Oklahoma showcased a selection of Polk's paintings and drawings that were created throughout his career. An opening reception was held on Tuesday, August 16, 2016.


Arlette Klaric, Ph.D., Associate Chief Curator and Curator of Collections, OSU Museum of Art

Explore Ada

Click here to watch an episode of Explore Ada about the life of Leon Polk Smith (produced by DustBowl Films and the City of Ada).
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