Plains Art Museum will open Window on the West: Views from the American Frontier from The Phelan Collection on Thursday, January 31, 2008, in the William and Anna Jane Schlossman and Jane L. Stern galleries. Window on the West portrays the West as a newly-minted place rather than the West of the movies or the stuff of legend. These 60 paintings from the Arthur J. Phelan Collection were selected to give a historically accurate cross-section of what really happened in the expansion of the West. They depict the people who moved west from the Mississippi. They examine how the West was gradually transformed over the decades as the continent filled and the frontier receded and then disappeared.
Included are works by the greats: Frederic Remington, Carl Wimar, Alfred Jacob Miller, Karl Bodmer and John Frederick Kensett, as well as Lone Wolf who was perhaps the first academically trained Native American artist. However, this exhibition is unique in that it emphasizes the views of lesser-known men and women artists, personally recording what they observed in the newly-founded country.
“I use art as a way to try to visualize the past—it becomes my personal time machine. Let’s not take John Wayne’s West or the Indian aficionado’s West as the only West. There were many Wests,” says Phelan who became interested in the West in his graduate study. His collection is our “window on the west,” a balanced, historical view from the artists themselves. This exhibition was organized by The Trust for Museum Exhibitions, Washington, D.C.
Western Still-Life Painting with instructor Michael Dunn for adults 16 and older will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, January 10 through February 7. Participants will draw on inspiration from the exhibition. This will be an opportunity for beginners and an inspirational experience for seasoned painters to paint a western-themed still life. Pre-registration is required. The class costs $70 for Museum members and $77 for nonmembers.
Plains Art Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums. It is located at 704 First Ave. N., Fargo. More information is available at (701) 232-3821 or at www.plainsart.org. The exhibition is supported by Yellow Book, The Bob 95, KFGO AM 790 and by a grant from The FUNd at the Plains Art Museum Foundation. It is also made possible, in part, by major funding from members of Plains Art Museum, The McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Museum plans to significantly expand its programs through its “There’s a little artist in all of us” campaign. The “little artist” campaign will raise funds for the Creativity Center for Lifelong Learning which includes Fingerprints Interactive Education Gallery and working with Fargo Public Schools to build teaching studios. The campaign will also strengthen operations by enhancing the Museum’s endowment and visitor services.
Alfred Jacob Miller
The Lost Greenhorn,
oil on canvas,
18 x 24”