Curating the West
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.