New Exhibition Drawn from Alabama Collectors Illustrates Value of Supporting Artists

While The University of Alabama operates in a limited capacity in order to stem the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff, the Paul R. Jones Museum is open by limited appointment only. Call the Jones Museum at (205) 345-3038 for more information.

To see a virtual tour of the exhibition, go to this page.

The Paul R. Jones Museum presents It’s Like That: Selections from the Collection of Rebecca and Jack Drake, March 6-April 24, 2020.

Works for this exhibition were selected by independent curator Paul Barrett who previously curated Purvis Young: Born in Liberty City, at the Jones Museum and A Harder Task Than Making Bricks Without Straw: Self-Taught Alabama Artists from the Collection of Doug McCraw at the UA Gallery, among others. “The Drakes have long championed art before the artists enjoyed widespread institutional support,” Barrett said. “Now their choices seem prescient. Gorgeous works by modern masters like Ed Clark and Stanley Whitney feel right at home with contemporary works by Toyin Ojih Odutola and Chris Clark from Alabama. There is a great deal to admire about the way they assembled their collection – and the ways they have shared their love of art with the public. I hope some of that will be evident when visitors see the show.”

Emily Bibb, curator of the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama, said, “This exhibition includes artists also represented in the Jones Collection, such as Dawoud Bey, Odili Donald Odita and Jimmy Lee Sudduth, as well as established and emerging artists not represented in the Jones Collection. By bringing these selections from the Drakes’ collection to the Jones Museum, we continue to expand the chorus of voices we present here in Tuscaloosa.”

Daniel White, director of the Paul R. Jones Museum, emphasized the collectors’ role in developing a relationship with the artist. “The Collection of Rebecca and Jack Drake brings to the Jones Museum a critical contemporary perspective on art,” White said. “This show also allows us to reflect on the idea of two people choosing works for their personal collection. To have Paul Barrett come in and guest curate was a natural choice for the Drakes. Paul has considerable knowledge of Rebecca’s and Jack’s collection. That makes this project a personal one for us, as Jack is a UA alum and a member of the Paul R. Jones Advisory Board, and we have built a relationship with Paul working on previous shows.”

Along with building a collection, White noted that art collectors like to build friendships with the artists they meet along the way. “They often prefer a personal connection with the artist,” he said, “not just a desire to own a painting, sculpture, or drawing. They want the back story to go with it, so the artwork can take on a new life for the collector both visually and personally, a memory of a relationship with that artist and the time spent with the artist in their studio.”

“Art collectors serve a vital role, and very often they bring exposure for artists that helps build an artist’s career. Jack and Rebecca, along with other noted Alabama collectors, have created a supportive proving ground for contemporary artists. Many who received support have risen to levels of success in the art world. That’s why I get excited when we have a show from collectors. There is always the chance of discovering a great back story behind the work of art.”

Image credit: Leslie Smith III, Dear Ed Clark: The Rite of Spring, 2016, oil on canvas, The Collection of Rebecca and Jack Drake, courtesy Leslie Smith III and Maus Contemporary. Used with permission.

The Paul R. Jones Museum is located at 2308 Sixth Street, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35401. Hours are Monday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and First Friday of each month, 12 noon until 8:00 p.m. For more information about this exhibition and all our programs, call 205-345-3038 or go to the website.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.