From Coast to Coast

SAAM's Director, Stephanie Stebich, has us looking West in our exhibitions and collaborations

A photograph of a woman standing in blue in an art gallery with a large painting behind her.

SAAM Director Stephanie Stebich in front of Thomas Moran's painting, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The West has always loomed large in the American imagination, as a subject for artists and an inspiration for new ideas. This fall, SAAM takes a closer look at the Western landscape in different exhibitions and different ways.

A black and white photograph of the Smithsonian Castle building with buffalos outside.

Buffalo graze on the mall in front of the Smithsonian ca. 1886.

The artist Chiura Obata, born in 1885, combined the artistic traditions of his native Japan with modern, Western sensibilities to create sublime renderings of the Grand Canyon, California, and other views of the American landscape. Chiura Obata: American Modern, opening at SAAM on November 27, is the most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date. You may recall we presented Obata's Yosemite in 2008, an exhibition of twenty-six works gifted to SAAM by his family. American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs, on view through October 14, includes the photographer’s iconic Wild West series of toy cowboys, gunslingers, and lawmen. Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists, opening October 11, presents Catlin's paintings from the early 1800s alongside works by twentieth-century Native American artists to explore a range of different representations of the buffalo and their impact on the lives of Native Americans. 

And while the West is on our minds and in our galleries, I am pleased to report we recently launched a new five-year collaboration—a multi-year, multi-institutional exhibition partnership made possible by the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative. It will enable us to share our collections with some of the fastest growing cities and states in the West. Selected artworks from SAAM’s collections will be going to the Boise Art Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City, and the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington. The American West Consortium will also create an exhibition jointly curated by all the partners that will focus on new perspectives in American art and will travel to the five museums before coming to SAAM in 2023.

So whether you’re East or West, we’re with you.  See you on the road and in the galleries!