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Molly Murphy Adams

CAS alumna Molly Murphy Adams’ beadwork featured in 'Killers of the Flower Moon'

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 |

Artist, scholar and College of Arts and Sciences alumna Molly Murphy Adams recently lent her expertise in art, history and research to the set of Martin Scorsese's 2023 film "Killers of the Flower Moon." 

Murphy Adams' intricate beadwork is worn in the movie by actors representing Osage tribal members. Although she herself is Oglala Sioux, Murphy Adams did extensive research on the Osage Nation in order to create yards of beaded fabric. Renowned for her sculptural contemporary beadwork that harmonizes Western styles with indigenous aesthetics, Murphy Adams added "Killers of the Flower Moon" to her 20-plus years of artistic exhibition. 

"I felt a deep motivation to have the art I was making reflect all the parts of my own personal history and narrative,” said Murphy Adams, whose artistic journey started by drawing inspiration from her childhood and community. “Many people assume I solely work in indigenous narratives, but I use a wide range of topics, methods and materials, challenging the conventional perception of indigenous art forms."

At the core of her artistic process lies rigorous research into historical forms, a necessity due to the limited inclusion of indigenous aesthetics in conventional art history. Murphy Adams sought diverse sources to ground herself in the history of beadwork traditions, adopting an art history filter to navigate biases and perspectives. She also received her master's in art history at Oklahoma State University in 2023, opening doors and elevating her research.

Murphy Adams’ research for "Killers of the Flower Moon'' involved museums, historical examples and photographs to create a strategy that honored community preferences while considering materials, time constraints, and weight and wear. She also collaborated closely with Julie O'Keefe, OSU alumni, Osage tribal member and lead consultant for the tribe and movie production. 

“The process involved several stages of back and forth. The vision filters down from director, writer, storyboard and production to costume development,” Murphy Adams said. “Costume development then utilizes consultants like O'Keefe to source appropriate makers for specialized items like the beaded War Mother Blankets and historic clothing I reproduced. … We go back and forth with edits and changes and come up with an approved version.”

Alongside her recent Hollywood achievement, Murphy Adams did a solo exhibition of her work at the Missoula Art Museum in her hometown of Missoula, Montana, at their scholarly symposium. 

“To be able to present on the importance of indigenous art history to all these students representing so many stages of my own life was deeply satisfying,” Murphy Adams said. “I felt like all the threads of my wish list were coming together — my art career, scholarship and adding to the art history discipline."

To learn more about OSU alumni who worked on "Killers of the Flower Moon," check out this article about theatre graduate Amy Higdon and this story in Harpers Bazaar. 

Story By: Allie Putman, CAS graduate assistant |

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