27 | Exhibit Revisit - The West as America

27 | Exhibit Revisit - The West as America

An Exhibit Revisit episode just in time for Thanksgiving. The time of year when we gather with family, eat too much food, and maybe think about our nation’s founding. So how about we discuss that here with a 1991 exhibit organized by the National Museum of American Art. "The West as America" went on to enrage Republican Congressmen and resulted in four large comment books filled with visitor feedback.

In this series, I’ll examine an exhibit that’s had a lasting impression on art history. Maybe it galvanized a movement or maybe it was too radical for its time. Whatever the outcome – the decisions made, the artists included or excluded – brought us to where we are today. 



Section 1 - Prelude to Expansion: Repainting the Past

Emanuel Leutze (1816-1868) paintings


Section 2 - Picturing Progress in the Era of Westward Expansion


Section 3 - Inventing “the Indian”

This section contained the three thematic types; the Noble Savage, the Threatening Savage and the Vanishing Race


Section 4 - Settlement and Development

George Caleb Bingham (1811–1879) paintings


Section 5 – “The Kiss of Enterprise” The Western Landscape as Symbol and Resource


Section 6 - “Doing the ‘Old America'” The Image of the American West, 1880-1920


Links / articles mentioned

Roger B Stein - Visualizing Conflict in “The West as America” - The Public Historian

Andrew Gulliford - Visitors Respond to “The West as America” - Montana Historical Society

Michael Kimmelman - Art View; Old West, New Twist at the Smithsonian - 1991 New York Times Review

Sharon Ann Holt - Controversy in Public History. Can We Move Beyond Relativism? - Rutgers

Stephen Aron - The History of the American West Gets a Much-Needed Rewrite - Smithsonian Magazine

The West as America - Exhibit Overview

28 | Destination: Art - Teotihuacan

28 | Destination: Art - Teotihuacan

26 | Black Mountain College

26 | Black Mountain College