Western Museum Directory
Highlights for the 2018-2019 exhibition season from museums across the country.
Aforgotten fact about the early artists of the American West is that many of them were immigrants. Thomas Moran, whose paintings of Yellowstone were instrumental in the declaration of the area as our first national park, was born near Manchester, England. The Tacoma Art Museum in Washington presents Immigrant Artists and the American West through June 14, 2020. “Immigration has been an issue affecting people in the American West since the region was first explored by Europeans. The 19th and 20th centuries saw the greatest surges of immigration to the West with people arriving from the north, south, east and west. Often in pursuit of better opportunities, immigrants have had a profound impact on helping settle and develop the West.” The museum continues the theme in its exhibition Places to Call Home: Settlements in the West on view through February 10, 2019. “For centuries people have congregated in specific places in the West to exchange goods, ideas and cultural practices. From Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and San Antonio to pueblos and towns, settlements in the West have a vitality that is represented in art.” The West was opened with the arrival of the railroad. Next year is the 150th anniversary of the “Meeting of the Rails” at Promontory Summit, Utah. The Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, celebrates the anniversary with the exhibition The
Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West from October 6 to January 6, 2019. Organized in partnership with Union Pacific, and drawn entirely from the collection of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the exhibition contains photographs and stereographs by Andrew Joseph Russell and Alfred A. Hart who documented the construction of the railroad. Photographic documentation of the West is the theme of Journey Through The Desert – The Road Less Traveled at the Palm Springs Art Museum in California, through November 25. Featuring the work of 20 American photographers, “This exhibition is not about the history of photography and how the themes of beauty and pictorial documentation have been interpreted through time. Instead, the selection seeks to examine the individual photographer’s distinct visions and unique journeys through the American deserts of the West.” The museum also presents Unsettled, October 27 through April 30, 2019. It contains the work of 75 contemporary artists “living or working in the Greater West. The exhibition’s fertile terrain is a ‘super region’ that runs from the top of Alaska, through the North American West, and all the way down to Central America, and the work created here explores the geography of vast frontiers, rich natural resources, diverse indigenous peoples, and the inevitable conflicts that arise when these factors coexist.” The Tucson Museum of Art in Arizona picks up on the theme of travel in its exhibition Travelogue: Grand Destinations and Personal Journeys, May 18, 2019, through September 29. “With the advent of the railroad and air travel, and a burgeoning middle class, tourists from around the world now travel freely and document their experiences in photography, paintings, and drawings. This exhibition focuses on works from various eras and genres from the Tucson Museum of Art’s permanent collection that identify specific landmarks as if created by travelers who encounter them with a new sense of discovery. Each work of art serves as a visual travelogue of the artist’s journey.”
North of Tucson, in Arizona’s capital, the Western Art Associates will mark 50 years supporting the Phoenix Art Museum with the new exhibition Western Art Associates: Celebrating 50 Years, which will present all 53 works acquired by the WAA and donated to the museum over the last half century. The exhibition, which opened September 15, will hang through spring 2019. It will feature important works from Maynard Dixon, John Coleman, Gordon Snidow, Walter Ufer, E. Martin Hennings and many others. Solo exhibitions of the work of historic and contemporary artists are always highlights of the exhibition season. Charles M. Russell: The Women in His Life and Art opens November 20 and runs through April 14, 2019, at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. “Best known for his portrayals of the American West as a man’s world, Charles M. Russell depicted a surprising number of women throughout his artistic career. While many of his images of women conform to the pervasive stereotypes and artistic trends of turn-of-the-century America, his representations were more nuanced and action-oriented than those of numerous contemporaries.” Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist will be shown at the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona, March 9, 2019, through September 1. She, along with Raymond Jonson, Emil Bisttram and others formed the Transcendental Painting Group in 1938, which was dedicated to portraying spiritual truths through abstract art. The exhibition “is the first survey of this obscure American painter in over 24 years.” Hedda Sterne was associated with a group of forerunners of abstract expressionism called “The Irascibles.” The Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, presents Hedda Sterne: Printed Variations through January 27, 2019. The exhibition explores “her aesthetic experimentations,” which “fluctuated between organic and geometric, figural and abstract, and painterly and graphic.” It draws from two series she produced with Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1967. The Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles presents On Fire: Transcendent Landscapes by Michael Scott through July 28, 2019. Scott explores “the fine line between the physical and the phenomenal in the Western landscape.” Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona, presents The West Observed: The Art of Howard Post through November 25. “A third-generation Arizonan, Post utilizes traditional Western themes in his paintings based on what he knows: ranching and the rodeo. Over his 30-year career, he has become one of the foremost contemporary Western painters of the 21st century.” The museum opens John Coleman: Bronze and Beyond December 14. The exhibition continues through March 10, 2019. Well known for his bronzes, Coleman also does paintings and drawings which will be in this exhibition. Coleman says, “I like to tell stories in my work using metaphors that help explain who we are and from where we came. Creating an object means little to me unless I can portray an underlying emotion or analogy.” As part of its Contemporary Voices series, the Georgia O’keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, presents Jo Whaley: Echoes, November 2 through February 24, 2019. The museum invited Whaley “to install her still life color photographs among Georgia O’keeffe’s
paintings to open a new perspective on the legacy of constructing modernist compositions. Combining techniques of painting and theater, Whaley suspends time and reason in a dramatic process of crafting photographs in her studio.” The Tucson Museum of Art presents Harold Joe Waldrum: Las Sombras July 14, 2019 to September 29. “Harold Joe Waldrum (1935-2003) was a painter, etcher, photographer, author, and teacher, as well as an activist for the preservation of historic churches. His work is full of vibrant color and powerful geometric lines. Fueled by a critic’s remarks about work he created in the late 1970s being ‘New York paintings,’ Waldrum sought to depict the quintessential New Mexico image and chose to paint the back of the church at Los Ranchos de Taos, focusing on the dramatic adobe architecture and deep contrasting shadows found in the Southwest.” The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, has invited two prominent landscape painters to be featured artists in the 2018 Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium. The exhibition East/west Visions: Scott Christensen & Quang Ho opens October 25 and continues through January 20, 2019. The exhibition highlights “both the similarities and differences in their styles.” Group shows show the breadth of art of the American art of the west throughout history. The Monterey Museum of Art in California presents Into the Light: California Women Painters, through December 15. Artists featured include Anna Althea Hills, E. Charlton Fortune, Grace Carpenter Hudson. Eugenia Frances Mccomas, M. Evelyn Mccormick and Bertha Stringer Lee, among others. The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe will show Gennext: Future So Bright through November 25. The exhibition “examines the future of New Mexico’s traditional arts, including artists who work with traditional materials or are inspired by historical techniques. Each artist is rooted in tradition, but has introduced their own unique element, exploring new materials such as street signs, stencil work, or new themes such as politics or indigenous imagery.” The National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, presents Living Legends: Discovering the Masters of Wildlife Art November 3 through August 25, 2019. “This exhibition is dedicated to recognizing the strong tradition of contemporary wildlife art that continues to thrive today. Artists like Robert Bateman, Tucker Smith, Ken Carlson, and Ken Bunn, among others, have been key players in the history of this Museum and in what many people think of when they think about wildlife art.” At Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum New Beginnings: of the West, An American the exhibition Story of Romantics opens October and 16 Modernists and continues in the through West September 22, 2019. Drawn from the Tia Collection, the exhibition offers a fresh perspective on the development of the art of the American West. A number of museums continue their traditional group exhibitions and sales. Quest for the West Art Show and Sale continues through October 7 at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis. Quest for the West “has generated more than $12 million in art sales since its inaugural year, 2006.” The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City will host the 47th annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition & Sale June 7, 2019 through August 11. The “invitational art exhibition of more than 300 Western paintings and sculpture by the finest contemporary Western artists in the nation with art seminars, receptions, and awards.” Masters of the American West Art Exhibition and Sale will be at the Autry Museum of the American West, February 9, 2019, through March 24. The exhibition “features paintings and sculptures by 70 contemporary, nationally recognized artists. New artists for the 2018 Masters included Tony Abeyta, Thomas Blackshear, Scott Burdick, Glenn Dean, Sue Lyon, Mark Maggiori, Eric Merrell, Dan Ostermiller, Kevin Red Star, and Mateo Romero.” Cowgirl Up! Art from the Other Half of the West Museum, opens March at 29, Desert 2019, Caballeros and continues Western “Cowgirl Up! through spotlight May squarely 12. on women’s turns voices the and perspectives, understanding serving of the up American a new, deeper West.”
Ernest Blumenschein (1874-1960), Portrait of Taos Indian, ca. 1929, oil on canvas. Tia Collection, Santa Fe. From New Beginnings: An American Story of Romantics and Modernists in the West at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.
Gordon Snidow, Turning Out a Tough Customer, 1977, watercolor, 255⁄8 x 28½". Museum purchase with funds provided by Western Art Associates, 1977.240. From Western Art Associates: Celebrating 50 Years at the Phoenix Art Museum.
Mian Situ, The Entrepreneursan Francisco, 2006, oil on canvas, 44 x 54". TacomaArt Museum, Haub Family Collection, gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.126. From Places to Call Home: Settlements in the West at the Tacoma Art Museum.
Howard Post, Waiting Their Turn, 1992, oil on canvas, 48 x 60". Courtesy Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ. From The West Observed: The Art of Howard Post at Desert Caballeros Western Museum.