Curating the West
What event (gallery show, museum exhibit, etc.) in the next few months are you looking forward to, and why?
One of the exhibitions I am most excited about seeing in the upcoming months is a T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America, at the Gilcrease Museum. T.C. Cannon was at the forefront of a “New Wave” of Native American art and one could easily argue that he is one of the most influential and important artists of the 20th century. A large portion of our collection is focused on Native American art, and it is nice to see a more modern approach that helps tell a different side of the same story. The staff at Gilcrease has agreed to host the Woolaroc staff in early August, and I will be taking full advantage of the opportunity to see their new exhibitions.
What are you reading?
I am currently reading Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. This book probes the murders of several wealthy members of the Osage tribe in early 1920s Osage County, Oklahoma. Something that particularly interest me about this book is that during this time and also in Osage County our own Frank Phillips was creating his lodge and museum retreat that later became Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve. Frank had a close relationship with many prominent members of the Osage tribe, and this book provides another important perspective to that relationship.
Interesting exhibit, gallery opening or work of art you’ve seen recently.
I recently attended the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s invitational art show and sale Prix de West. This year’s show was fantastic! There were well over 90 of the best artists in the country represented at the show. Having so much great art in one room can be overwhelming at times, but the way the museum staff handled the layout of the show created a very visually pleasing flow throughout the gallery. Great lectures this year by T. Allen Lawson and Andrew Peters coupled with the excellent demonstrations by Joseph Bohler, G. Russell Case, Bruce R. Greene and Sandy Scott made this event first class.
What are you researching at the moment?
At the moment I am researching the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch. It was an 110,000-acre cattle ranch founded by Colonel George Miller in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. Miller used a portion of this land to create the 101 Ranch Wild West Show which showcased some of the best Western performers and most well-known cowboys of its day. Woolaroc has a very robust collection of objects related to the 101 Ranch and we are looking at ways we can incorporate this into our permanent collection.
What is your dream exhibit to curate? Or see someone else curate?
That’s a tough one. I am a history major, so anything that pertains to that pique my interest. In the museum we talk about how our paintings show both the Native American and cavalry perspective of what happened at the Battle of Little Bighorn, and it would be interesting to me to expand on that thought through an exhibit.
One of the galleries at the Woolaroc featuring, at right, a massive William R. Leigh work, Navajo Fire Dance.