Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • What’s New at WestFest This Year?

    by Emily Hanawalt, festivals and markets intern | Jul 21, 2016
    Keenan Wade & Grace Adele of The Farmer and Adele

    The Eiteljorg is ecstatic to welcome the western swing band, The Farmer and Adele to WestFest this year. Hailing from Tennessee, the band, which includes Grace Adele on sock-rhythm guitar/song/tap tap tappin, Keenan Wade on mandolin/song/guitar, Carco Clave on Steel Guitar and dobro and Erik Alvar on Upright Bass, plays tunes that will keep your foot tappin’ and your hands clappin’ throughout their set. Dressed in western clothes from hat to boot, these entertainers will transport you back to the taverns of the western frontier. The group recently put out an album titled Into the Wide Open Sky, many of which they will perform at WestFest on Saturday, July 23.


    Additional links about The Farmer and Adele:!farmerandadele/cbp8

    AJ Silver

    Trick roping is defined as the art of twirling a lasso for entertainment or competitive purposes. Angelo Iodice, also known as AJ Silver, would define trick roping as his calling. Growing up in the Bronx, Angelo was inspired to learn trick roping when he went to a rodeo at Madison Square garden, a venue in which he recently was able to perform in, bringing his career full circle.  The National Cowboy Hall of Fame awarded Silver the Rodeo Act of the Year award and Silver has also given back by passing on his knowledge to future generations in projects such as The National Circus Project. We’re excited to welcome AJ Silver this summer.


    Additional links about AJ Silver, Trick Roper:

  • WestFest & the National Day of the Cowboy

    by Emily Hanawalt, festivals and markets intern | Jul 18, 2016

    This year, the Eiteljorg WestFest falls on the fourth Saturday of July, which is the National Day of the Cowboy. The non-profit organization that supports the National Day of the Cowboy hopes to “contribute to the preservation of America’s Cowboy heritage so that the history and culture… can be shared and perpetuated for the public good, through education, the arts, literature, celebrations, gatherings, rodeos, and community activities.” Click here to find out more on their website.

    This is similar to part of the Eiteljorg mission to “inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West.” The decision to have WestFest coincide with the National Day of the Cowboy on July 23 seemed like a natural choice. WestFest is about showcasing the diversity of the West and recreating an atmosphere that places visitors into the Old West through sights, smells and experiences while challenging some preconceived notions about all things Western. WestFest will include oxen, horses, a stagecoach, a chuck wagon, performances that paint a picture of a diverse West and more. As an added bonus, visitors can visit The Grand Canyon exhibit to enhance the feeling of being Outwest.

    Michael Smith performs at WestFest

    Some performers include, buffalo hunter John Switzer, black cowboy and storyteller Michael Smith, and buffalo soldier Kevin McKoy.  Other entertainment includes performances by western swing band, The Farmer and Adele and trick roper, AJ Silver. The Eiteljorg invites you to immerse yourself in Western art, history and music at WestFest, July 23. Come celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy with us!

  • As I Remember

    by Jennifer Complo-McNutt, Curator of Contemporary Art | Apr 15, 2016
    It is with fond memories and a heavy heart that I share with museum friends the passing of Rick Bartow, artist, father, friend and one of the most genuine people I have ever met. RIP Rick Bartow (December 16, 1946 - April 2, 2016).

    Rick Bartow

    The first time I met Rick Bartow (Wiyot) was in Portland, Oregon, at the Froelick Gallery in 2000. I was there to review work for the second round of the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. Rick and his friend, artist Joe Feddersen (Colville Confederated Tribes), were both there and had both been accepted into the Fellowship program. I had spent time with Joe before, but this was my first face-to-face meeting with Rick. Rick was modest. Joe was not. It was the beginning of what would be my great pleasure to experience, for years, the unrelenting rivalry and trickery of their friendship.

    At that time, the Fellowship program was very young and so were the three of us. Gallery owner, Charles Froelick, was a wonderful host, making introductions and eventually taking me into the gallery’s storage, where I saw Rick’s incredibly prolific body of work. Drawing after drawing; wood carvings large and small; heart-wrenching, blood-boiling transformations of animals and people--birds and dogs were all there; bears, coyotes peering out with teeth and glasses and colors. It was overwhelming. With hundreds of images and ideas racing through my head, I choose the work for the 2001 Fellowship exhibition, After the Storm.

    The show included Fox Spirit (2000), which the museum later purchased for our permanent collection. I probably heard Rick tell the story of this unforgettable piece a thousand times. He called the taxidermy fox that is the foundation of Fox Spirit, “Mickey the dog.” Rick rescued Mickey from the trash at his home and assigned it to a shelf until it started to shed. In an attempt to save Mickey, he bound the fox and later spray painted it after it continued to disintegrate. He told me that when he painted the fox’s eyes white, he “knew it was art”—no longer “Mickey the dog” but Fox Spirit. The identifiable moment when this piece became art has always been a point of great interest for me and an insight to share with others. One more thing: The characters written on cardboard and wrapped on the fox’s leg have been translated as “one soldier” and “ramen noodles.” The mystery of those words remains.


    Fox Spirit, 2000
    Mixed Media
    Collection Eiteljorg Museum

    Rick’s work has a way of taking his audience to the precipice of our strongest feelings about our families, friends, ourselves and the mysteries of our lives. Rick’s first wife died in 1999, shortly after he created a self portrait. I remember taking 28 + 13 Selbst (1999) to the museum’s Collections Council for approval of the purchase. Comments included the power of the piece and how hard it was to look at. I believed then as I do now, some works are meant to be preserved by museums because they are so heart-wrenching, too honest for hanging over the living room sofa.


    28 + 13 Selbst, 1999
    Pastel, graphite, charcoal
    Collection Eiteljorg Museum

    When artists arrive for Fellowship weekend activities they are transported to their hotel in a “limo.” Most of the time the “limo” experience is really a shared ride in a large vehicle. For some reason, in 2001, Joe got a real stretch limousine and Rick was relegated to the average experience. Oh boy, that fueled the fire! And I never heard the end of it. But that did not diminish the great fun we had during the celebration. We were lucky enough to have a local gallery host a pre-opening “jam” with Rick and friends. We enjoyed great sounds on an unusually sunny November day.

    From left to right, John Domont, Kim Gradolf, Rick Bartow, John Vanausdall

    As a very generous act of friendship, in 2007, the Froelick Gallery and Rick donated to the Eiteljorg a maquette (small model or study in three dimensions) that illuminates the responsibility of raising a child. It is a beautifully-symbolic work that acknowledges young men who are incarcerated and their inability to provide for their families. It extols the importance of all parts of the community that support and build families. Rick’s daughter, “Wee Lilly Malcolm-Bartow,” peeks out of a basket; the moon and the sun; the coyote and “humblers,” birds who make us behave; salmon and masks come together to illustrate the balance and circle of life.

    Recently, while visiting Portland, I saw another body of Rick’s work that was large and magnificent and bold—even after his recent stroke. Nothing will ever take the life from this artist’s work. I was thinking this week how profound Rick’s legacy is and how each of his works is alive—not just like one describes the beautiful movement of an artist line or brilliance of color, but alive like a deep breath. Of all the artists we exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum, Rick’s work reaches young and old, happy and sad, those who know a lot about art and those who don’t. It is genuine and authentic.

    Prior to his passing, Rick made another generous donation to the museum of work that represents his interests and ability in transformation—work that I have only seen today and have only begun to process. Here are a few examples.  


    Guard Dog, 1996
    Pastel, Charcoal
    Collection Eiteljorg Museum

    Grandmother Mouse
    Pastel, Charcoal
    Collection Eiteljorg Museum

    Coyote Chant, 2004
    Charcoal, Pastel
    Collection Eiteljorg Museum

    In my office I have two notes from Rick with drawings of birds and dogs. I look at them nearly every day and occasionally reread them. He was always grateful—grateful for the season and the day—and talking about animals and birds he had seen. Rick was always writing about the work--his work, your work and how it was going; what was new and coming up in his musings; what he was excited to see.

    As I talk to colleagues and friends and we acknowledge this great loss, the thought of Rick Bartow’s great legacy continues to inspire me. I keep thinking, the spirit of Rick lives on so vividly in his work, he has finally and truly transformed.

    Bob Hicks wrote a thoughtful story about Rick in Oregon Arts Watch:

  • Historians, artists, an outdoorsman and others help bring The Grand Canyon to life

    by Alisa Nordholt-Dean, public programs manager | Mar 19, 2016
    Whether you’re an art aficionado, history buff or a geology enthusiast, The Grand Canyon programming offers something for the entire family.

    Always wanted to be a Park Ranger? Pick up a Junior Ranger guide and earn your honorary ranger pin. Take a selfie in the photo op area; watch a film and share your own Canyon stories. On weekends, meet an Eiteljorg Ranger and hear tales of the canyon, ask questions and be inspired.

    Visit on opening day or the second Saturday of each month (March 26, April 9, May 14, June 11 and July 9) and enjoy exciting guest speakers and performers along with more ways to experience The Grand Canyon. Question a curator; create rock art; design a postcard; watch an artist at work; build a coiled clay pot; join a photography walk; learn about Canyon geology through art and so much more.

    Curt Walters painting  Moran Pt, Grand Canyon 6-2-2010
    Curt Walters painting Moran Point, Grand Canyon, in 2010. Photo by Tom Alexander Photography.

    Interested in art? On March 26, renowned impressionist landscape artist Curt Walters will talk about running the river, how the Canyon inspires his work, and his passion for conservation. Distinguished landscape painter and teacher Peter Nisbet will talk about his work and love of the Canyon on May 14 and lead a workshop for local artists on May 12 and 13.  

    Interested in people? On April 9, Hopi artist and musician Ed Kabotie will share the history of the Canyon from a Tewa/Hopi perspective, and author Stephen Hirst will discuss issues currently facing the Havasupai who live in the Canyon.

    Dave Edwards Rowing on the Colorado
    Dave Edwards rowing on the Colorado River.

    Interested in photography and adventure? Outdoorsman, photographer and Grand Canyon river runner extraordinaire, Dave Edwards, will share stories of running the Colorado River through the Canyon on June 11.

    Interested in history? On July 9, Linda Kuester will share the story of her mother, Ruby Jo Cromer, an Indiana farm girl who became a Harvey Girl in Arizona in the 1940s.

    Click here for a detailed program listing.

  • Curators' Canyon research takes them to the edge

    by Hyacinth Rucker | Mar 19, 2016

    On a cold mid-November morning in 2015, curators James Nottage, Johanna Blume, Ashley Holland and Scott Shoemaker walked to the edge of the Grand Canyon to watch the sunrise. That moment—a chance to experience a natural wonder that has inspired millions through centuries—prefaced two days of intensive study with the National Park Service, uncovering items, histories and stories to present in the Eiteljorg’s The Grand Canyon exhibition.

    Curators at Moran Point, the Grand Canyon. Left to right, James Nottage, Johanna Blume, Ashley Holland and Scott Shoemaker.

    The curators’ trip is just one example of the two years of preparation and planning that goes into each exhibit at the Eiteljorg. Previously, the museum conducted a survey of audience expectations and needs, and our curators reviewed collections at other museums and libraries, studied art and artifacts and conducted historical and other content research. Data gathered from these varied sources inform the development of our programs and exhibitions.

    Digitization enables Eiteljorg exhibit teams to do extensive research remotely. But there’s no substitute for visiting art collections and historical sites first-hand. To develop The Grand Canyon, our staff studied books, documents, art and artifacts at institutions from California to New York before ultimately traveling to the south rim of the Canyon itself. Their travels included stops at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Museum of Northern Arizona to survey Native American baskets, pottery and other artifacts, along with paintings, photographs and manuscripts. The Cline Library at the University of Northern Arizona was a rich repository of photographs, documents and other references.

    And through the cooperation of the National Park Service, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, we incorporated many special objects into The Grand Canyon exhibition.

    For Scott Shoemaker, the Eiteljorg’s Thomas G. and Susan C. Hoback curator of Native American art, history and culture, the Canyon trip was a first-ever journey to the American landmark and an invaluable experience. “Even in-depth reading about the Grand Canyon does not do it justice,” he said. “Being there tied together the Canyon’s layers of history and the stories of the peoples who are a part of it. It helped me understand the breathtaking magnitude and beauty of the space. It really made the depth of time and place tangible.”

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