4

The Phoenix Art Museum's "The West Select" Seeks to Redefine The West

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

If you are already a regular at some of the many Western-themed galleries in Old Town Scottsdale, mosey on over to the Phoenix Art Museum this month to check out the museum's second installment of the annual exhibition The West Select. And seriously, don't forget your cowboy hat.

See Also: - The Phoestivus Market Brings Local Crafts, Beer, and a Phoestivus Pole to Downtown Phoenix in December - A Collection of Handmade Native Fashions for Anyone's Wardrobe

The West Select series came about last year as a replacement for the Cowboy Artists of America exhibition that had taken place at the Phoenix Art Museum for 37 years prior to its relocation to Oklahoma City in 2011. The museum split with the group of artists who formed Cowboy Artists of America due to declining ticket sales and a divergence in vision for the potential of the show.

As the museum's new annual exhibition of the same genre, The West Select is tailored to incorporate a wider range of artworks that could bring new meaning to Western American art.

The exhibition includes works by 33 artists well-established in the field of contemporary Western American art including William Acheff, Merrill Mahaffey and Ed Mell. This year's iteration of the show, which doubles as an art sale, includes nearly 100 pieces of various media -- from photographs to bronze sculptures. The subject matter is basically what you would expect for such a truly genre-driven exhibition (Think: cowboys, horses, and barns), but there are few stand-outs that take a different approach to defining 'The West'.

For instance, Dean Mitchell's watercolors are incredible in terms of technique, but they also differentiate themselves thematically, conveying a heavy sense of desolation. His images of abandoned buildings beg us to give pause and reconsider some of the stereotypes of the genre.

Similarly, the selection of work from well-respected photographer Jay Dusard explores an abstract side of the landscape that is hardly identifiable as Western at all. (Though Dusard does also have a strong history of work more typical to the genre).

Overall the exhibit is still probably best-suited for those already drawn to Western art, but if you find yourself at the museum over the next month, it's worth a walkthrough even if you aren't typically a fan of cowboys and horses.

The West Select: A New Western Classic is on view at the Phoenix Art Museum through December 31st. Visit the Phoenix Art Museum's event page to learn more about the exhibition or take a look at the Men's Art Council price guide if you are interested in purchasing any of the art.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.