Western art remains hot. Just look no further than the success of art shows such as the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Prix de West and the Booth Museum’s For the Love of Art Gala. And the $11.4 million Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West has already earned international acclaim in less than two years.
Certainly, many art lovers visit our Top Art Museums of the year to admire the works of 19th-century masters, but these museums also understand that 21st-century artists are creating their own visions. The American West has always been about change, and these museums keep evolving to stimulate patrons—even those of us who can’t draw a stick figure.
Johnny D. Boggs recommends visitors to Santa Fe schedule a tour at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.
WESTERN SPIRIT: SCOTTSDALE’S MUSEUM OF THE WEST
A newcomer to the art scene
(opening in 2015), this 43,000-square-foot, two-story venue in Old Town has
quickly shot to the head of a talented pack of art museums. How? Well, the blend of history and educational programs is impressive, but you can’t beat the vision. As director Mike Fox says, “We are not a museum of objects, but a museum of ideas.”
WHITNEY WESTERN ART MUSEUM
You don’t get to see just an amazing collection of artists representing then and now, but the reconstructed studios of Frederic Remington and Alexander Phimister Proctor and Joseph Henry Sharp’s original studio provide insight into those Western visionaries.
BRISCOE WESTERN ART MUSEUM
San Antonio, TX
The upcoming “Ansel Adams: Distance and Detail Photographs
from the Bank of America Collection” (September 15-December 15) is exciting, but this museum is always tremendous. Psssst. Tuesday nights are free from 4-9 p.m.
TUCSON MUSEUM OF ART
While “Welcome to the American West!” highlights 200 years of Western art, we can’t wait to see “The New Westward: Trains, Planes, and Automobiles That Move the Modern West” exhibit (October 15-February 12).
STARK MUSEUM OF ART
Art museums across America must be envious of this spectacular collection of the works of George Catlin, Alfred Jacob Miller, John Mix Stanley, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, Charles Marion Russell and other 19th- and 20th-century masters.
C.M. RUSSELL MUSEUM
Great Falls, MT
Yes, there are great temporary exhibits on Glacier National Park artists and John James Audubon, but the focus is always on Charlie Russell, where you can step inside his log-cabin studio, built in 1903.