"The Unchosen Ones: Portraits of an American Pastoral" at the OSU Museum of Art

  • Location:

  • Dates:

    April 18, 2023 - June 24, 2023

    Recurring weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

  • Address:

    720 S. Husband St.

    Stillwater, OK 74074

  • Phone:

  • Time:

    11 am - 4 pm

  • Admission:



The Unchosen Ones began on the sidelines of county fair animal contests in Minnesota in 2016 where R. J. Kern photographed fair participants and their non-winning animals. The exhibit encompasses a series of portraits of young people posing with the animals they have raised, cared for, and groomed for entry into a best animal competition, with dreams of the glory of moving on to State Fair victory. No victory is shown here, however. These animals and their young owners were not deemed champions; they came in second or third or not at all. Here, on the sidelines of the main events, these disappointed children and their beloved animals illustrate a small backstory, preserving a moment of failure, loss, love, and hope, as only photography can.

The Unchosen Ones continued beyond the initial project and between 2016 and 2021 Kern re-photographed many of his subjects. In some cases, the animal and its handler are photographed together again. In other cases, the child moved on and replaced the animal with some new pursuit; a tractor, a chicken, a fishing pole. Once a series about the love, pride, joy, and disappointment that comes with being passed over, The Unchosen Ones is now a record of the original sitters choosing how they will live the next part of their lives.

"The Unchosen Ones: Portraits of an American Pastoral" at the OSU Museum of Art