Bierstadt to Warhol: American Indians in the West

 

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Embedded in the works are deep layers of meaning that ask the viewer to not only understand the importance of the work in its historical context, but also to consider the intentions of the artist.

From an essay by Donna Poulton, curator of art of Utah and the West at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

Bierstadt to Warhol: American Indians in the West, is an ambitious exhibition comprising more than 100 oil paintings, sculpture, and works on paper drawn primarily from the Diane and Sam Stewart Collection. It examines depictions of American Indian identity (by both natives and non-natives) in a diverse array of styles, from the traditional European schools to Modernist abstraction and conceptual renderings of cultural motifs. Subject matter focuses on the Pueblo people of Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico but other important portraits of American Indians are also included. Artworks range in tone from the romantic and ideal to the utterly real, sometimes taking on sensitive subject matter that is often inherent to contemporary American Indian identity. This exhibition negotiates the devices and implications of portraiture as a historical genre, to show that a portrait can either fashion a mythologized persona or an authentic personal dynamic that speaks to lived experience. The exhibition runs through Aug. 11. Find more information here.

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