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"Bruce Goff: The Drunken Boat"
2005-08-12 until 2005-09-25
Price Tower Art Center
Bartlesville, OK, USA United States of America

Bruce Goff (b. Alton, Kansas 1904; d. Tyler, Texas 1982) was one of the most creative American architects of the twentieth century. Over his career, he realized over hundred structures built in over fifteen states. In the 1950’s with Goff as the head of the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture, the school was recognized for having one of the nation’s most innovative, avant-garde architectural practices. Goff’s daring spirit came by approaching any situation as a “continuous present.”

As Goff would put it: “No matter how many buildings you have built, if you think of each one as a new experience…you find that you are always doing something strange and new and different. Sometimes you look at it and wonder, did that come out of me?” Goff approached other disciplines, such as painting and music, with the same attitude. His paintings often engaged free-association and the unpredictable exploration of shape and color. However, for him ideas, not forms, were the best starting point for any structure. He would find ideas and inspiration in a variety of sources including modern European art and music (especially Debussy), and the arts of Japan and Southeast Asia. For the painting series The Drunken Boat (Le Bateau ivre) he took inspiration in the poem with the same name by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891). Arthur Rimbaud wrote the first manifesto of modern poetry and declared that the poet should always inhabit the bottomless abyss of the unknown. Goff’s The Drunken Boat inhabits the unknown. The paintings are exhibited in their entirety to the public for the very first time. The twenty-five watercolors and titlepiece, painted over a fifteen year period beginning around 1953, were completed at the behest of Joe Price, Goff’s greatest patron, and depict a theme dear to Price, the sea. Accompany Goff in his voyage for freedom of expression in the exhibition Bruce Goff: The Drunken Boat shown at Price Tower, where he had his offices from 1956-1964.

Bruce Goff: The Drunken Boat was organized by Price Tower Arts Center from the collection of Etsuko and Joe Price, and made possible in part by ConocoPhillips, the Oklahoma Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


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