Guitar heroes

Gallery Hopper: Where to see art in Tulsa this month.



Photo courtesy of Kelly Kerr

Kelly Kerr can talk shop. A photography instructor at Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee, he usually has plenty to say, but when a group of guitar players invades his studio, he’s not all that interested in discussing guitar technique.

“There was this one day where everyone wanted to talk guitars,” Kerr says of the guitarists he recently photographed for his new exhibition. “I was kind of like, ‘Hey! You guys are here for me. Remember me? I’m over here in the corner. Let’s take some pictures!’”

It’s a good thing he broke up the chit-chat because take some pictures they did. Over the past few months, Kerr has photographed 38 Oklahoma guitarists as part of his exhibition “Axe Men: The Sons of Lumber,” on display at Ida Red Boutique, 3346 S. Peoria Ave., until the end of the year.

After a long career in photojournalism, Kerr left his position at the Tulsa World to teach and, as he puts it, “help the next generation.” His new schedule allows him more time to pursue artistic projects. “Axe Men” is his fourth photography show in the past two years since he made the switch. 

Some things, though, haven’t changed, such as Kerr’s passion for the music scene.

“It always seems to kind of come back around to music,” he says. “That’s one of my loves.”

During his stint at the Tulsa World, Kerr says his band photography was always high-drama, featuring costumes, pyrotechnics and the occasional fake rainfall.

For “Axe Men,” Kerr says he wanted the portraits to be more about the personalities of the guitar players and their instruments and less about his ability to manipulate the images with fire, water or other classical elements. Each black-and-white photograph was shot on the same background with the same lighting at the same location.

“I really just wanted to kind of pay tribute to the really high quality and diversity of guitar players we have in this town,” Kerr says. “It turned out to be even more diverse and amazing than I had even given it credit for at the time.”

The show spans three generations of guitar players, including some musicians Kerr calls the unsung heroes of Tulsa. Those featured in the project include Tommy Tripplehorn, Steve Pryor, Adam Lopez, Paul Benjaman and Hank Hanewinkel III, among others.

When asked whether he wants to learn to play the guitar, Kerr says he’d love to, but “it seems in all my spare time, I have a camera in my hand.”

If, however, that were to change, he knows exactly what sheet music he’d dig up first.

“Believe it or not, I would probably learn a bunch of John Denver songs,” he says.

Kerr is not the only photographer in town who is on the lookout for guitar players. 

Also this month is the opening of photographer Jeremy Charles’ exhibit “ROCK CITY II.” The show, comprising promotional band portraits, follows Charles’ previous exhibit, “ROCK CITY,” which debuted in 2008.

“Even though I do a wide range of commercial work, I consider myself a music photographer first and foremost,” Charles says. “That’s where I find unending inspiration.”

Charles’ show will kick off at Shades of Brown, 3302 S. Peoria Ave., with an opening party from 6-8:30 p.m., Dec. 9.

Coincidentally, Kerr and Charles have collaborated on projects in the past, such as the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice’s 2010 project “This Machine,” through which the pair photographed — guess who — musicians.

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March 2019

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
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More information

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As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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Cost: 175

Where:
Spotlight Theatre
1381 Riverside Drive
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View map »


Sponsor: Crayons Improv
Telephone: 918-557-5616
Contact Name: Nicole
Website »

More information

The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park,...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

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Cost: 7-14

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J.L. JOHNSON STADIUM
7777 S Lewis Ave
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Various
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Sponsor: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust
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Contact Name: Jeremy Stevens
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More information

The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park,...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

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Cost: $10

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Sponsor: Yuchi Language Project
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Cost: 7-14

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J.L. JOHNSON STADIUM
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Website »

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Cost: $22-$44

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