Hello fellow art fans!!!
My name is Albena Maslinkova and I will be posting regular blogs as the new Whitney Western Art Museum curatorial intern. Before I begin my summer adventure here at the Center, I would like to introduce myself as well as inform each of you about my incredible assignment.
My love for western American art was sparked by George de Forest Brush’s Indian and the Lily (c.1886), which I saw in one of my American art textbooks during my undergraduate career at the University of North Florida. Brush’s romantic portrayal and his subject matter automatically provoked my interest.
My deep appreciation for western American art lies in the notion that artist such as Brush, Joseph Henry Sharp, James Earle Fraser, and Frederic Remington, among many others, often presented Native Americans as noble and remarkable. Furthermore their representations suggest the diversity of the West during the nineteenth century, and truly speak to the region as a crossroads—where notions of identity, immigration, and agency converge.
I was born in a small town in Bulgaria, and in 1998 my courageous parents and I immigrated to America. This experience, assimilating to life in the United States, also informs my early fascination with nineteenth century western American art, because throughout its history, the United States and more precisely the West, has been and is a complex confluence of cultures.
As I continued to fall deeper into the mesmerizing abyss of western American art, I discovered that behind each brush stroke or inch of bronze, each artist has an incredible story to tell. Each of those stories seemed somehow related but until I personally made the journey West I could not fully understand the invisible connection I was personally sensing. Now that I am here in Cody, I see that this land, with its looming mountains, endless territories ahead, and incredibly resilient and welcoming people—these are what always drew me to the pictures I saw in my text books, and also drew artists to this place. Though incredibly changed, the West is as beautiful today as it was in the years of Remington, Sharp, Fraser, and Brush.
I received my bachelor’s degree in art history at the University of North Florida and currently I am in the second year of my master’s degree program in art history at Florida State University.
Over the summer, I will be working with the Whitney’s works-on-paper collection, which will entail researching, assessing, unearthing treasures from the vaults, and lastly, proposing thematic rotations based on my findings. Stay tuned for insights into my experience as I begin my incredible summer adventure of learning, exploring, and living in the spirit of the West!