Show Preview | Cowboy Crossings

Oklahoma City, OK
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, October 15-December 31

Tim Cox, For Bragging Rights, oil, 24 x 36.

Tim Cox, For Bragging Rights, oil, 24 x 36.

This story was featured in the October 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  October 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Many lovers of art evoking America’s Old West may consider greats like Frederic Remington or Charles M. Russell to be the first who truly evoked the cowboy and ranching life in exalted aesthetic form. But an exhibition opening to the public at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum on Saturday, October 15—and debuting two days earlier with a roster of ticketed preview events—makes it clear that the roots of cowboy art not only spread far wider and deeper but also thrive today in abundant and varied forms.

The aptly entitled Cowboy Crossings, which celebrates its fifth year in this form, brings together two complementary events: the 51st annual sale and exhibition of the Cowboy Artists of America, which dedicates itself to perpetuating the culture of western life through fine art, and the 18th annual sale and exhibition of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association, a group that aims to preserve and promote the practical arts of saddlemaking, bit and spur making, silversmithing, and rawhide braiding and their roles in cowboy culture. Exhibiting members of both organizations are on hand to mingle with collectors over dinner at Oklahoma City’s Petroleum Club on Thursday, October 13, and during an exclusive preview the following evening. They are also on hand in the museum to delight opening-day visitors with such events as an autograph party at 9 a.m. and demos by select artists at 1 p.m. That evening, all works are available for sale through a fixed-price drawing beginning at 6:30 p.m., followed by a celebratory dinner and awards presentations.

It all adds up to three days that many attendees—artists, museum staffers, collectors, and the general public alike—find profound. “The quality and diversity of perspectives exhibited is indicative of how vast and relevant the West is to everyone today,” says Steven Karr, the museum’s president and CEO. “The combination of working art and fine art enables everyone to find their part of the West.” Don Reeves, the museum’s curator of cowboy culture, agrees, noting that many people seeing the show for the first time—particularly the 50 functional pieces from 15 active and emeritus members of the TCAA, on display until New Year’s Eve—will likely come away with the realization that “American and western arts go well beyond traditional paintings and sculptures.”

The same sense of variety is found among the almost 100 paintings, drawings, and sculptures shown this year by 23 active and emeritus CAA members, with works ranging from T.D. Kelsey’s energetic bronze rodeo and wildlife sculptures to highly realistic oils of contemporary ranching life by Tim Cox to the sleek, dignified bronze and stone sculptures in which Oreland Joe expresses the strength and dignity of his American Indian heritage. Concludes oil painter R.S. Riddick, whose term as CAA president ends this month, “We’re a diverse group of artists who say things in our own ways but have found ourselves falling together through our shared dreams, visions, love, and appreciation of the West.” —Norman Kolpas

contact information
405.478.2250, ext. 219
www.nationalcowboymuseum.org

This story was featured in the October 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  October 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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