When people think of the American West images of cowboys, Indians, cacti, horses, and desert immediately follows. These images and thoughts are the focus of the upcoming “People in A Hard Land” exhibition.
Thanks to countless stories, movies, TV shows and other art forms, the West has developed a rigid persona in the mind of people all over the world. Some scenes in Western art have appeared so often and so powerfully they have become iconic. Some of these images include pioneers, cowboys and Indians.
Paul Anderson, curator of Southwest American art, has created an exhibition that tells the story of the people of the west. It showcases three shows over the course of five years. “People in A Hard Land” is the second of the three shows. It captures people of the Southwest and will display 80 works.
“The show is drawn from two collections, the BYU Museum Of Art collection and work from the Dianne and Sam Stuart Art collection, which is on generous loan to us,” Anderson said.
Both collections are intermixed throughout the show and together give a fuller view of western art.
“The exhibit contains four sections, which include, on the move, hard at work, western faces, and sharing a homeland,” Anderson said. “It will share with visitors for the first time ever publicly viewed, a Maynard Dixon painting, graciously donated to BYU by Elder John Groberg and his wife Jean.”
BYU already owned a large number of these paintings, many of which were donated to BYU by Mahonri Young, Brigham Young’s grandson. The era of the paintings generally falls between 1900 and the 1940’s, however there are a few that were done either before or after that time.
“The idealization of Western life, close to the land, simple and genuine, remains as one of the continuing wellsprings of the American Dream,” Anderson said.
The exhibition will be opening March 30, 2012 and will be shown through April 13, 2013. It replaces Wide-Open Spaces which closed on March 17.