Beyond Our Walls
It is often said of our namesake, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, that he brought the West to the world. Continuing that legacy, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West shares its own extraordinary object collection, exhibitions, and expertise beyond our walls with a national—and indeed international—audience.
From the loan of a few artifacts to complete traveling exhibitions, the Center takes the authentic stories of the American West on the road. We thank two museums in Georgia for hosting major exhibitions from the Center over the past winter. These objects are now on their way home to the Center of the West in advance of our own busy summer season.
VIDEO: Packing crates and trucks with irreplaceable museum artwork and artifacts is quite a feat! Take a look at our time lapse video loading just one of the trucks for the trip to Georgia.
November 3, 2013 – April 13, 2014
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West shared its extraordinary collection in a recent major exhibition in Georgia.
Go West! Art of the American Frontier from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West opened at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, November 3 and included a century of art—1830 to 1930—from the American West. Highlighting the role of visual images in defining the idea of the frontier in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the exhibition features more than 250 works of art and artifacts including paintings, drawings, sculpture, photographs, posters, frontier firearms, and objects from Native American cultures drawn from the Center of the West’s unparalleled collections. The exhibition closed April 13, 2014.
Together the objects in the exhibition showcased the exploration and settlement of the American West, and highlight the ways visual images and stories of explorers and legendary western celebrities like William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody continue to inform American identity and character today.
“The art from this time period was instrumental in shaping our perceptions of the American West,” says Mindy N. Besaw, The John S. Bugas Curator of the Whitney Western Art Museum at the Center of the West. “For example,” she continues, “whether visitors to Yellowstone Falls realize it or not, their view of the panorama was informed and shaped by 19th-century images such as Thomas Moran.”
The exhibition was co-curated by Besaw and Stephanie Mayer Heydt, the Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art at the High Museum.
Highlights of the exhibition:
- Artwork created for Buffalo Bill and his Wild West, including posters, photographs, and paintings of Cody, Annie Oakley, and Sitting Bull
- Majestic landscape paintings of the American West by artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas “Yellowstone” Moran
- Paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell
- Recreational frontier firearms and the advertisements that promoted them
- Objects crafted by members of Plains tribes, including a deer hide and porcupine quill war bonnet, a toy cradle, and exquisitely beaded moccasins
- Large plate photographs produced in the late nineteenth century by survey photographers like William Henry Jackson
The exhibition begins with early nineteenth-century representations of the West made by the artist-explorers who traveled with government surveyors to map the continent. Complementing these representational artworks are objects made by Sioux, Kiowa, and members of other tribes who interacted with the earliest frontier settlers.
Go West! demonstrates how these early representations and objects gave way to widespread perceptions of the West by the early twentieth century. Paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell portray so-called cowboy and Indian dramas, and populist paintings and advertisements for recreational firearms highlight the way in which the West became known as America’s playground.
America’s growing romance with the West in the 20th century can be attributed, in part, to the theatrics of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. A focus gallery examines the extraordinary union of popular culture and history in the Wild West show and the art that the shows inspired.
Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director of the High Museum, says, “The works of art come together to tell a complex but important story about the founding and expansion of the American West.” The High’s Heydt adds, “The exhibition strives to thoughtfully present visual representations from this period from multiple cultural vantage points. “Stories of the West not only continue to permeate American culture today, but also influence our contemporary values of opportunity and innovation.”
Go West! Art of the American Frontier from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is co-organized by the High Museum of Art and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The exhibition is made possible by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the James M. Cox Foundation, a Patron of the High Museum of Art, The Fraser-Parker Foundation and the Isobel Anne Fraser-Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment.
Today’s West! Contemporary Art from the Buffalo Bill Centerof the West
October 24, 2013 – April 13, 2014
Booth Western Art Museum
A second, smaller exhibition of artwork from the Center’s Whitney Museum traveled to the Booth Western Art Museum in nearby Cartersville, Georgia. Titled Today’s West: Contemporary Art from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the exhibition immersed visitors in the artistic developments occurring in western art over the past 50 years and continuing to evolve before our eyes. Showcasing 60 contemporary masterworks in a variety of media, Today’s West at the Booth closed April 13, 2014.
Highlight of the exhibition:
- Works by artists tied to the Institute of American Indian Arts including Fritz Scholder, T.C. Cannon, Allan Houser, Earl Biss, David Bradley, and Kevin Red Star.
- Art from members of the Cowboy Artists of America including Joe Beeler, T.D. Kelsey, Robert Lougheed, James Reynolds, and Robert Scriver
- The work of important living women artists such as Donna Howell-Sickles, Kathy Wipfler, Juane Quick-to-See Smith, Anne Coe, Linda Raynolds, and Carrie Ballantyne.
- Art by artists who push the envelope of the western art genre with abstract form, social commentary, photo realism, new materials, and borrowing from earlier artists or pop culture. These include Tom Palmore, Paul Pletka, Thom Ross, Bill Schenck, and Theodore Waddell.
Today’s West was made possible in part by a generous gift from Candace Alexander McNair, the Ron and Lisa Brill Charitable Trust, and official media partner GPB.
Albert Bierstadt (American, born Germany, 1830 – 1902). The Last of the Buffalo, ca. 1888. Oil on canvas, 60.25 x 96.5 inches. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Trust Fund Purchase. 2.60
The Strobridge Lithograph Company, Active Cincinnati, Ohio, 1847 – 1961. Col. W.F. Cody, “Buffalo Bill,” ca. 1908. Lithographic poster, four color, 57.25 x 39.375 inches. Gift of The Coe Foundation. 1.69.113
Thomas Moran (American, 1837 – 1926). Golden Gate, Yellowstone National Park, 1893. Oil on canvas, 36.25 x 50.25 inches. Museum Purchase. 4.75
Frederic Remington (American, 1861 – 1909), The Broncho Buster, 1895, bronze. Gift of G.J. Guthrie Nicholson Jr. and son in memory of their father/grandfather G.J. Guthrie Nicholson, rancher at Four Bear, Meeteetse, Wyoming. 7.74
Carl Rungius (American, born Germany, 1869 – 1959). The Mountaineers or Big Horn Sheep on Wilcox Pass, 1912. Oil on canvas, 60 x 75 inches. Gift of Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc. 16.93.1
Earl Biss (1947 – 1998). General Custer in Blue and Green, 1996. Oil on canvas; 39 x 30 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Israel of Aspen, Colorado. 18.00
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West also has, or will have, objects from its collections in the following exhibitions:
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through April 14, 2014
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York opens a major exhibition in December titled The American West in Bronze: 1850 – 1925. The Center of the West has contributed to the exhibition with Solon Hannibal Borglum’s (1868 – 1922) Buckey O’Neill, 1906.
The Center of the West’s Director Emeritus, Peter Hassrick, has been instrumental in the exhibition from research to fruition and contributed to the show’s catalog. The exhibition has already generated coverage in the Sunday New York Times, including references to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
Solon Hannibal Borglum (1868 – 1922). Buckey O’Neill, 1906. Bronze. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Trust Fund Purchase. 5.60
Frederic Remington (1861 – 1909). Coming Through the Rye, 1902. Bronze. Gift of Barbara S. Leggett. 5.66
- Musee du quai Branly, Paris, France, April 8 – July 20, 2014
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, September 2014 – February 2015
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, April 2015 – June 2015