The mastermind behind some of the fan favorites of the Hogue’s new gallery. graphic by Conner Maggio

Masterpiece or mockery?

After three weeks of appreciation, the legitimacy of the prestigious new TU exhibit comes into question.

After the Alexander Hogue Gallery’s newest exhibit, titled “A Journey Through Time,” opened recently, the gallery staff noticed a mix-up. The exhibit was meant to be a survey of some of the hallmarks of art history, from the brushstrokes of Kandinsky to the paint splatter of Pollock.

On loan from Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas, this exhibit was a stroke of luck for the University of Tulsa to get their hands on. It’s a surprise the folks in Phillips Hall managed to grease the right palms for it to end up at the Hogue Gallery.

It turns out, however, that the University of Tulsa did not actually recieve this exhibit. About three weeks after “A Journey Through Time” went on display, a professor walked by and noticed something was wrong. Upon a second glance at “Untitled, 1916,” the latest in a series of works by Wassily Kandinsky, the professor realized the work looked different.

Instead of the fluid brushstrokes and crisp contrast Kandinsky is known for, a slightly more juvenile image could be seen. The professor eventually identified this as the work of a two-year-old.

The State-Run Media staff reached out for comment from this child, who has since been identified as the child of an art professor, but they did not receive a response. This child should be very proud of themselves; it is not everyday that someone’s finger painting and stick figures gets mistaken for a Kandinsky.

When the staff at the Hogue Gallery looked closer at the rest of the works on display, more inconsistencies began to jump out. It seemed that the entire exhibit had not been sent to them. All of the beautiful Rothkos and Pollocks that were supposed to be sent had been replaced with bizarre copies.

The headliner of the exhibit, a series of Jackson Pollock’s famous paint splatter paintings, had been replaced by a handful of drop cloths taken from the ceramics studio in Phillips Hall. Ceramics professor Dr. Brooke Verde, upon recognizing the mistake, stated, “Ahh! I was wondering where those drop cloths had wandered off to. I would like those back as soon as possible!”

Other swapped pieces included two color block paintings. Instead of receiving “White Painting [three panels]” by Robert Rauschenburg and “Yellow and Gold” by Mark Rothko, the Hogue received a completely blank canvas and a series of paint chips, respectively.

When these works were taken down, Damian Renner, a management major on campus, was heard remarking, “I just felt so close to the color white when I was looking at ‘White Painting’ and now, I just don’t know what to do. I don’t think I can truly appreciate that color anymore. Will anything ever let me feel that way again?”

The Hogue Gallery is still investigating where the missing paintings went, and Crystal Bridges is launching an inquiry into artwork assurance for the rest of their exhibits. The curators swear that they just put up the works that were shipped to them, but this might be the end of any relationship between Crystal Bridges and the Hogue Gallery.

Post Author: Hannah Robbins