Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

And Justice for Art: Book Traces State, Judiciary History through Native American Works

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

And Justice for Art: Book Traces State, Judiciary History through Native American Works

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Sistern comprises three pottery vessels created by Caddo artist Jeri Redcorn. They are dedicated to Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices Yvonne Kauger, Noma Gurich and the late Alma Wilson.

The black-and-red vessels grace the cover of Art of the Oklahoma Judicial Center, which includes photos and information on all 150- plus paintings, sculptures, pottery pieces, baskets and other works that Kauger played a key role in securing for the state court building.

Years ago, Kauger said Friday, after the book about the U.S. Supreme Court called The Brethren came out, she and Wilson, then the only two women justices on the state court, started referring to themselves as The Sistern.

Redcorn, who had researched and re-created the traditional process for making Caddo pottery, was commissioned to do a work for the Judicial Center. Kauger said the pots represent beans, corn and squash, as well as the three justices.

"We've tried to tell the story of the judiciary and of the history of the state through the art," Kauger said.

About 65 percent of the works are from the Oklahoma History Center. Proceeds from sales of the book will go into a fund for maintenance of the artworks.

"They let me poke through their caves and warehouses," Kauger said. "We went through every piece of art, piece by piece, to see what we wanted, and we took all the good stuff, believe me."

She points to three large paintings now showcased in a waiting area at the court that had previously been discarded.

Another 35 percent of the works were commissioned for the Judicial Center under the Art in Public Places Act.

"We've been able to restore pieces at the History Center that would never have been able to be shown, because they were in need of repair and restoration," Kauger said.

The justice said the History Center is unable to display much artwork.

"We think that Oklahoma artists are the best in the world, and that's what we showcase in this (Judicial Center) building," Kauger said. …

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