Cu­rat­ing the West

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

What event (gallery show, mu­seum ex­hibit, etc.) in the next few months are you look­ing for­ward to, and why?

Joe Scheuerle and his Re­mark­able In­dian Gallery is an ex­hibit at the Mon­tana His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety fea­tur­ing the re­mark­able Amer­i­can In­dian por­traits by artist Joseph G. Scheuerle (18731948). It runs from Septem­ber 2018 through De­cem­ber 2019. Scheuerle made many vis­its to In­dian reser­va­tions in Mon­tana and across the West where he painted ex­cep­tional por­traits from life. At the same time he pro­vided fas­ci­nat­ing whim­si­cal sketches and com­men­tary on the back that pro­vide an in­valu­able ar­chive and in­sight about the lives of the peo­ple who be­came his life­long friends. While rec­og­nized by his friends and col­leagues for his artis­tic skills, Scheuerle never re­ceived the ac­claim given Charles M. Rus­sell and Joseph Henry Sharp. To­day, how­ever, our knowl­edge of Plains In­dian life is greatly en­hanced by Scheuerle’s ex­cep­tional art.

What are you read­ing?

I’ve just cracked open the beau­ti­ful book Al­bert Bier­stadt: Wit­ness to a Chang­ing

West, edited by Peter H. Hass­rick with con­tri­bu­tions by Arthur Amiotte, Emily C. Burns, Dan Flores, Laura F. Fry, Karen B. Mcwhorter and Melissa Spei­del.

In­ter­est­ing ex­hibit, gallery open­ing or work of art you’ve seen re­cently.

One of my fa­vorite places to visit is the Black­foot Path­ways: Sculp­ture in the Wild, lo­cated in Lin­coln, Mon­tana. It is a sculp­ture park fea­tur­ing amaz­ing works by na­tional and in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned artists, cel­e­brat­ing the rich cul­tural, en­vi­ron­men­tal and in­dus­trial his­tory of the Black­foot Val­ley. The park fea­tures many won­der­ful sculp­tures, in­clud­ing Tree Cir­cus by Pa­trick Dougherty, Chris Drury’s Pon­derosa Whirlpool, Jaakko

Pernu’s Pic­ture Frame, and

Alan Couni­han’s House of

Sky are some of my fa­vorites. The sculp­ture park is free to all visi­tors. (Full dis­clo­sure, I serve on the board of the BPSW, but am not in­volved in the cu­ra­tion of the art in any­way.)

What are you re­search­ing at the mo­ment?

I’m cur­rently re­search­ing the life and work of Volde­mar Pod­der, a refugee from Estonian, who set­tled in Butte, Mon­tana, after World War II. He worked the rest of his life in nearby Warm Springs, the state psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal. His col­lec­tion of unique and provoca­tive “out­sider art” paint­ings will be a sub­ject of an upcoming ex­hibit at the Mon­tana His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety (ten­ta­tive launch date for 2023).

What is your dream ex­hibit to cu­rate? Or see some­one else cu­rate?

Soon I will be cu­rat­ing my dream ex­hibit on Man’s Best Friend that will ex­plore the long his­tory of Mon­tanans and their re­la­tion­ship be­tween our ca­nine friends. The ex­hibit will fea­ture art, pho­to­graphs and his­toric com­men­tary. I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to work­ing on this fun project!

The Mon­tana His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety in He­lena, Mon­tana.

A Charles M. Rus­sell oil paint­ing hangs on the wall at the Mon­tana His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

Jen­nifer Bot­tom­lyo’looney Se­nior Cu­ra­tor Mon­tana His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety He­lena, MT, (406) 444-2694 mhs.mt.gov

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