Artist and Writer: John Brandenburg

February 10, 2010

OK Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship |

One of Oklahoma’s longtime artists is also one of art’s finest ambassadors. John Brandenburg, a Norman artist known for his use of vivid color and organic forms, has been writing reviews for art exhibitions, artists and galleries around the state for nearly 30 years.

A quick search on the Daily Oklahoman’s website yields nearly 2,500 articles written by John over the past quarter century, a clear majority of those focusing on art.

John’s impact on the state arts is evident. It is obviously appreciated as well.

“John Brandenburg’s contribution to the arts community is invaluable,” said Suzanne Tate, executive director of the Oklahoma Arts Council. “As a leading voice of art critique in the state, his writings have offered an objective perspective to artists as a catalyst for artistic growth. As a practicing visual artist, he understands the process of creation and his reviews have also inspired curators by recognizing how the Capitol Galleries and other exhibit venues strive to promote Oklahoma artists.”

Each week, Daily Oklahoman readers can expect thoughtful reviews by John in Sunday’s Life section. But what they may not understand is the amount of time and attention he devotes to each article. At the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, for example, a rolling chair awaits John’s arrival at each visit. John is known for spending hours studying individual works in exhibitions while scribbling notes and scooting across the room at his own pace.

It is his consistent attention to detail that enables readers to experience the wonderful and insightful imagery John’s passionate writing evokes. John uses language to repaint mental images for readers in order to help them understand the underlying depth of each exhibition and selected works.

With any fortune, Oklahoma readers and art enthusiasts will continue enjoying John Brandenburg’s works, both on canvas and in newspaper ink, for a long time to come. Oklahoma is a better place because of both.

Guest Blogger: Michael Bendure
Director of Communication, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
University of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition launches the Oklahoma Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship with a public panel February 20, 1-3 pm at the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art. In honor of the importance of arts writing to artists in our state and the community, we will highlight active arts writers in Oklahoma throughout the year.

Image: Janet Massad, John Brandenburg, & Annalisa Campbell enjoy the 12×12 Art Sale and Event.