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Tucson museum unveils Navy veteran’s artwork to the public

A 92-year-old long-time Tucson resident has accomplished a lot in his life — including serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II and then becoming a teacher — but he recently offered even more to the world.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Tucson says Robert Barber has been producing art since his teens, and he still paints and draws every day.

Barber received an undergraduate degree from the Minneapolis School of Art (now the Minneapolis School of Art & Design) and an MFA from the University of Minnesota, where he gained a deep, wide-ranging intellectual sophistication regarding art theory, history and practice, as evidenced in his vast trove of work.

According to an Arizona Public Media video, two curators from the museum came upon hundreds of pieces of Barber’s artwork in 2013 after opening the door to the former educator’s garage studio. The news outlet said Barber’s classical techniques are rarely taught in art schools anymore.

MOCA Tucson carefully selected and restored more than 200 pieces of Barber’s artwork, unveiling it to the public earlier this year. The exhibition is called “Robert Barber: A Retrospective,” and it will run through the end of May.

“Telling his story of art is a profound privilege, a great responsibility and a humbling honor for MOCA Tucson,” the museum’s website says.