Skip to content

Oakland Museum of Art

Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest

April 29 - August 20, 2017

Painting by Roy De Forest titled Springtime in Canary Flats 2006

Roy De Forest, "Springtime in Canary Flats," 2006

Press Release

(OAKLAND, CA) December 16, 2016—The Oakland Museum of California will present Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest, a special exhibition designed to simulate an adventurous exploration of the artist’s dream-like and sometimes humorous works. Opening in April 2017, the exhibition will feature over 50 large, colorful paintings and sculptures, including many works on loan from world-renowned institutions including SFMOMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Works featured in the exhibition span De Forest’s career as a notable California figure in an artistic genre often called Funk art or Nut art. His vibrant works present playful visions that invite us on a trip into rich and colorful alternative worlds.

Audio recordings at four listening stations throughout the exhibition will guide visitors on imagined journeys deeper into the landscapes of individual works, led by an array of colorful personalities ranging from a dog trainer to a dream analyst and a sword swallower. Also within the exhibition, an “imaginary worlds” hands-on space invites visitors to manipulate brightly colored felt shapes and patterns inspired by De Forest’s artworks, adding them directly to the surfaces of the room to create their own dreamscape. The exhibition will be organized into thematic sections, including an Introduction, Horse of a Different Color, Down the Rabbit Hole, Patchwork Daydreams, A Walking I Will Go, Flashback, Heart of Darkness, and All Aboard Down the River.

“Of Dogs and Other People is bold, colorful, imaginative—an exhibition where art can serve as an escape or create an alternative reality,” said OMCA Associate Curator of Painting & Sculpture Christina Linden.

“OMCA is a place to experience wonder and delight, and we hope that this exhibition will provide visitors with the opportunity to tap into their creativity, playing in the tactile immersive felt room and also considering the multiple perspectives from which De Forest’s works can be viewed in order to inspire their own journeys of the imagination.”

De Forest was an influential American painter and sculptor who was involved in the Funk art or Nut art movements within the Bay Area and California, a genre made famous by artists in the 1960s in the San Francisco Bay Area, including De Forest, Wayne Thiebaud, William T. Wiley, and Clayton Bailey. He began his career as a lecturer for the UC Davis Art Department in 1965 and eventually earned a position as fulltime professor in 1974. Much of his work later in his career was inspired by his surroundings while living in Port Costa, California.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with the Oakland Museum of California to highlight Roy De Forest’s works,” said Guest Curator Susan Landauer. “His unconventional style of painting is so profound—he’s an extremely important figure in American art. The exhibition offers a great variety of his works, from the humorous and serious to the whimsical and wondrous.”

The exhibition will be on view in the Oakland Museum of California’s Great Hall from April 29 through August 20, 2017. Roy De Forest: Of Dogs and Other People is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oakland Museum Women’s Board.

Back To Top