Community Engagement

Gallery Receives Donation From Newton Estate

Artist Gordon Newton donates artwork to Oakland University

A man wearing gloves, holding art

Dick Goody, director of the OU Art Gallery and chair of the Department of Art and Art History. (Photo Credit: Robert Hall)

Gloved hands holding a painting

Gordon Newton (American, 1948-2019), Putters on the green #7, 1992, mixed media, oil pastel, paint, varnish on paper, 11 x 22 inches. Gift of the Estate of Gordon Newton. (Photo Credit: Robert Hall)

A man looking at art

Dick Goody looks at Gordon Newton’s (American, 1948-2019), Bright Star, circa 1983, oil crayon on paper, approximately 16 x 20 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. S. Brooks Barron. (Photo Credit: Robert Hall)

Advancing Oakland

icon of a calendarSeptember 10, 2021

icon of a pencilBy Catherine Ticer

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A generous donation of artworks by artist Gordon Newton has recently been accessioned into the Oakland University art collection. Comprised of 12 original works, 11 on paper and one assemblage, the pieces are treasured additions to the gallery’s two other works by the artist.

Estate representatives Ed Fraga, Hazel Blake and Alan May chose OU as the recipient of the art, which received an enthusiastic welcome by the Oakland University Art Collection Accessioning Committee and Dick Goody, professor of art. Goody serves as chair of the Department of Art and Art History and director of the OU Art Gallery.

Considered to be one of Detroit’s greatest visual artists, Newton was a leading figure of the Cass Corridor art movement that dominated the Detroit art scene in the late 60s and early 70s. His work can be found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Detroit Institute of Arts, Cranbrook Art Museum and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

The Cass Corridor art era was, in Goody’s opinion, one of the most productive periods in the development of the visual arts in Detroit. The movement produced an incredible range of painting, drawing and sculpture influenced by the urban realities of Detroit in the late 1960s and its ensuing post-industrial decline.

Goody is proud that the Oakland University Art Collection will serve an important role in honoring Gordon Newton’s legacy as an artist who captured and reflected upon a particular aesthetic that rendered his time and place with a unique clarity and intensity. “Newton’s works powerfully represent the gritty engineering ethos of our industrial region,” he says.

The gift from the Gordon Newton estate aligns with the mission of the OU Art Gallery to grow its collection, which chiefly focuses on international artists with some important regional figures.

The gallery is committed to community engagement and growing new, diverse audiences. Organizing on average five exhibitions annually, its lecture series and special events draw large audiences throughout the year.

“The purpose of the gallery is to bring people and art together,” explains Goody. He is always looking for opportunities to introduce new students to the visual arts. “Our students are busy people; most are working and earning a degree at the same time,” he continues. “But here, students can drop in anytime to see the best in contemporary art by prominent artists in a very chill and informing environment, right on their doorstep.”

A very special art collection will be on display at the gallery this fall. Important pieces from the collection of Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., will welcome guests beginning in September. Covering a variety of mediums and artists, the collection expresses her personal commitment to important topics such as diversity, inclusivity and activism.

The collection, normally on display in Dr. Pescovitz’s home, will be taken out of its domestic context and exhibited at the gallery to create a meaningful experience for the entire community. Visitors will be touched by her appreciation for the importance of art in our society as they view pieces by renowned artists from across the globe.

“President Pescovitz is a champion for arts and culture,” says Goody. “I look forward to introducing and celebrating her collection with our visitors and patrons.”

The OU Art Gallery invites the community to visit its exhibitions or take part in the many lectures, performances, tours and special events taking place throughout the year. Visit OU Art Gallery to learn more.

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