TURC students curate exhibition of artworks by TU alumnus - The University of Tulsa
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TURC students curate exhibition of artworks by TU alumnus

When artist Daniel Lang (BFA ’52) passed away in 2013, he left a collection of his artwork to The University of Tulsa. These works have been housed with McFarlin Library’s Special Collections until 2021 when Associate Professor of Art History Maria Maurer and several Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC) students began to catalog, accession, and preserve them with an eye toward eventually curating an exhibition. Three years later, “Remembering Daniel Lang” became a reality.

Remembering Daniel Lang catalogues on a table in a gallery with framed artwork in the background

Maurer approached senior art history major Abbie Rogers-Lee to join the project in spring 2023 as TURC team members Morgan McCoy, Layla Roebke, and Tiara Woods were preparing to graduate.

“My first semester as a transfer student, I was incredibly blessed to have Professor Maurer reach out and connect me with the TURC program and the Daniel Lang project,” Rogers-Lee said. “After she told me about the project, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.”  Rogers-Lee joined alongside studio art majors Ash Murray and Claire Wintle.

The work began with cataloging Lang’s 250-plus paintings, prints, and drawings in TU’s archive. The team then researched Lang and the nostalgic trends of his work and exhibitions while taking steps toward installation. They created labels, cleaned artwork, collaborated with Third Floor Design to create the show’s catalog and visual identity, and began hanging the exhibition in the Alexandre Hogue Gallery.

The project culminated in the closing reception for “Remembering Daniel Lang,” where the current TURC team presented a curator’s talk on the project.

“The resulting show is a nuanced look at the art of a successful local artist that provided the students with the opportunity to take a collection of artwork from its entry into an institution to a full-fledged exhibition,” Maurer said. “I am immeasurably proud of the work they have done. It was a privilege to work with such talented undergraduate students.”

Tu students, faculty, and guests at the Remembering Daniel Lang opening

Rogers-Lee’s work on the project has allowed her to step further into the curatorial and museum directorial world and helped her connect with the artwork of a former TU art student.

“Handling the work of Lang was so surreal in every moment,” she remembered. “Each work seemed to represent all the memories and life that Lang was able to live and accomplish. I think Lang’s collection represents all the passions and abilities of TU’s community, and it was an honor to be able to interact with something that so strongly embodies life and fulfillment.”

Ultimately, the Daniel Lang project and TURC experience have given Rogers-Lee confidence in her knowledge and curatorial abilities.

“I think it can be daunting to envision the transition from an educational setting to professional one,” she said. “Programs like TURC allow for a bridge to provide hands-on experience and utilize the educational platform that has been built.”

Tu students, faculty, and guests at the Remembering Daniel Lang opening

Rogers-Lee encourages others to apply for the program. “The amount of opportunity provided is incredible,” she said. “Through my TURC project, I felt empowered to take on internships and be bold as I’m stepping into the workplace.”

Interested in participating in projects like “Remembering Daniel Lang?” Learn more about the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge today.