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  • Southwest Art magazine: Quest for the West® preview article

    by | | Aug 17, 2018

    In its September issue, Southwest Art magazine published this thorough preview story about the13th annual Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale, taking place at the Eiteljorg Museum on Sept. 7-8.  Please read the story at this link:
    Southwest Art - Quest article - September 2018.





  • Bloomington Herald Times looks at "Interwoven" and "The Reel West"

    by | | Jul 30, 2018
    The Bloomington Herald Times newspaper on July 29 published a lengthy article about exhibits at the Eiteljorg Museum, focusing on "Interwoven: Native American Basketry from the Mel and Joan Perelman Collection" and "The Reel West."  Read the article at this link:
    Bloomington Herald Times story 7.29.18





  • Announcing an exciting new acquisition: "The Golden Mountain, Arriving San Francisco, 1865"

    by James H. Nottage, vice president and chief curatorial officer and Gund curator of Western art, history and culture | Jun 20, 2018

    The Golden Mountain Arriving in San Francisco 1865
    The Golden Mountain, Arriving San Francisco, 1865, by Mian Situ, oil on canvas, 2003
    Museum Purchase with funds provided by the Eiteljorg Museum’s Western Art Society

    Covered wagons pulled by oxen and moving the essential belongings of hopeful travelers headed toward the setting sun is the common narrative of the 19th century westward movement. This storyline excludes the immigrant experience of many others who traveled eastward by ship to become undeniable contributors to the building of rail lines, gold mines and elements of commerce from San Francisco to the Black Hills.

    Artist Mian Situ (born in Canton, China, 1953) gained his formal art training in China and immigrated to the United States in 1987. Since then, he has become a highly regarded artist, devoting his work to portrayals of his rural native land and to expressing much of the Chinese experience in the American West. The Eiteljorg Museum is proud to announce it has acquired one of Situ’s best-known works and will feature it in the newly redesigned Western galleries that will reopen in November 2018. The Golden Mountain, Arriving San Francisco, 1865, is six feet high and 60 inches wide. In this 2003 painting, Situ has created a composition embracing a family in the center sunlight, the deck of the ship crowded with tired but hopeful individuals seeking opportunities in a land new to them.

    Artist Mian Situ working at his easel
    Artist Mian Situ, working at his easel

    When first exhibited at the Autry Museum at its annual Masters of the American West show in 2003, the painting received the Thomas Moran Memorial Award for best painting and both the Artists’ Choice and Patrons’ Choice awards recognizing its qualities as a significant accomplishment in the field. Now the eastward-moving work will find its permanent home in Indianapolis. The painting significantly adds to our growing holdings that help visitors understand the diverse nature of the art, history and cultures of the West.



    This article previously appeared in the June 2018 issue of Storyteller magazine. 





  • James Nottage retires after 50 years in Western museums

    by Bryan Corbin, Storyteller magazine editor | Jun 14, 2018

    James Nottage, Chief Curator
    James Nottage

    The curator who led the Eiteljorg Museum’s curatorial and collections efforts for the past 17 years is an authentic son of the West. James Nottage grew up in Laramie, Wyoming, and remembers as a small child meeting a turn-of-the-last-century Old West train robber, long since paroled and a larger than life character. “He had these extraordinary stories about robbing trains and going to prison; and that motivated my young imagination,” James said.

    That spark lit the fire of James’ love of the history and heritage of the West, which led ultimately to his 50-year career in museums. Since 2001, James has served as the Eiteljorg’s vice president and chief curatorial officer and as the Gund curator of Western art, history and culture. His management and creative vision led to important acquisitions such as the Helen Cox Kersting and Kenneth “Bud” Adams collections, and to exhibitions such as Guitars and Red/Black. He has authored and edited many Eiteljorg art publications and closely worked with artists, collectors, donors and scholars.

    As he retires from the Eiteljorg in June, James said what has been most motivating throughout his career was the opportunity to work on major projects involving the expansion or creation of museums: at the Kansas Museum of History early on, at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles at its founding, and then at the Eiteljorg during its 2005 expansion that doubled the size of the museum.

    “Being a curator is an opportunity to have some really important privileges,” James said, such as the responsibility to work with important objects and artworks and help people understand them. “It’s the kind of job where you have the opportunity to work with a range of people who can share your passions,” including artists, colleagues and also patrons who support the museum financially or with donations of art. “Of all the places that I’ve worked, the Eiteljorg is rather profoundly successful in relating to all sorts of people,” he said.

    Early museum years
    Knowing from a young age in Laramie that he would be a museum curator, James discovered the untapped scholarly potential of studying the West professionally. “As I went through early jobs, early college, it was clear that an emphasis on the study of America was always heavily weighted on the East Coast, and there is plenty of room to do things besides Pilgrims,” he said.

    He served in state historical institutions in Wyoming and Kansas, earning two master’s degrees along the way. In 1985, James and his wife Mary Ellen were the first employees hired by the new Autry Museum — where he was vice president and founding chief curator, she the vice president of collections. The museum was founded by Gene Autry, the singing cowboy, movie and TV star and baseball team owner.

    “He loved a good joke and a good meal and was very personable,” James said of Gene Autry in his later years. “The challenge anything, it was difficult for some people -- including myself -- to separate this well-known and regarded personality from just being an everyday person.  It was hard to have a restaurant meal (with him) and him not be interrupted all the time” by Autry’s fans.

    Eiteljorg.Museum.The Reel West.Exhibit
    Eiteljorg Museum exhibit The Reel West, with "Lone Ranger" costume items of Clayton Moore.

    Through the Autry Museum, James got to know many well-known entertainers — not only Gene Autry, but Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and Clayton Moore, TV’s Lone Ranger. “He was hugely personable and very kind. (Moore) always astounded me: I met him the first time and it would have been maybe a year later when I saw him again, and he greeted me by name and asked about my wife by name. He was an extraordinary individual in a lot of ways, so he kind of justified my childhood perceptions of the heroic Lone Ranger,” James recalled.

    West in the Midwest
    The opportunity for James to work on the Eiteljorg’s expansion drew the Nottages from L.A. to Indianapolis in 2001. Among the many exhibitions whose curation he led and managed, James cited Red/Black in 2011 that explored shared histories of Native Americans and African-Americans, focusing on their touching connections. “I think that’s the value of any museum. It’s not just that you might say, ‘We have a great painting or an object,’ but you can see for yourself and tell the public about how something connects with people’s real lives, whether it’s part of someone’s creativity, or an object that’s very telling about events in people’s lives.”

    Retiring as chief curator, James will continue to consult on the Eiteljorg’s Western gallery reinstallation and on a future exhibit. His wife Mary Ellen is retired executive director of the Indiana Medical History Museum. A music buff and collector, James is learning to play steel guitar, and retirement might afford more time for music and to finish personal book projects. The Nottages plan to remain in the area and attend Eiteljorg events.

    James said it’s been rewarding to see the Eiteljorg Museum mature and grow in terms of major acquisitions, educational programming, collections, publications and recognition among scholars and the general public. “There’s plenty of room for future growth. It’s a young institution with a good soul; it’s great to be a part of that.”



    Top Image Caption:

    James Nottage, vice president and chief curatorial officer and Gund curator of Western art, history and culture, is retiring after 17 years at the Eiteljorg, where he managed the museum’s curatorial and collections departments. He is seen here in the museum’s work area with the E.I. Couse painting, The Wedding. The 1924 oil painting was a gift to the museum courtesy of Harrison Eiteljorg.

    The James Nottage File:

    • Eiteljorg Museum: Vice president and chief curatorial officer, Gund curator of Western art history and culture, 2001-2018
    • Autry Museum of Western Heritage, vice president and founding chief curator, 1985-2001
    • Kansas Museum of History, supervisory historian, assistant museum director, curator of exhibits, 1977-1985
    • University of Wyoming Archives, archivist, 1976-1977
    • Wyoming State Museum, assistant curator, 1969-1975
    • Laramie Centennial Committee Museum, curator, 1968
    • BA and MA in American history and American studies, University of Wyoming, 1972, 1976
    • MA in history museum studies, Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University College at Oneonta, NY, 1975
    • Author, editor, lecturer, consultant with a focus on art, history and cultures of the American West


    Upcoming Events at the Eiteljorg Museum:

    Thursday November 8

    6:00 p.m.
    Special celebration in honor of James H. Nottage’s retirement.

    Friday November 9

    6:00 p.m.
    Preview of reopened Western galleries, for members.

    For reservations, contact mwhistler@eiteljorg.org or call 317.275.1316.

    On Eiteljorg.org
    For behind-the-scenes updates on the work of museum employees, read the Eiteljorg blog:
    http://www.eiteljorg.org/interact/blog/eitelblog/2018/05/29/hello-goodbye-longtime-employees-will-be-missed-new-employees-welcomed

     

    This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Storyteller magazine. 





  • Summer renovations will lead to fall reopening of Western galleries

    by | | Jun 06, 2018

    Wilson Hurley_October Suite, Grand Canyon

    Exciting changes ahead will enhance the public’s enjoyment and appreciation of the Eiteljorg Museum’s two main Western art galleries.

    The Art of the American West Gallery and the Gund Gallery, both on the museum’s first floor, are being renovated this summer, and the beautiful paintings, sculptures and other objects seen in them will be reinstalled. Exciting new acquisitions and interactive activities will help convey the history and meaning of the art, allowing visitors to have deeper and more exciting experiences.

    Since early May, the two galleries have been temporarily closed. Beginning on Saturday, June 9, a portion of the Art of the American West Gallery will be temporarily reopened so visitors still can experience some of their favorite Western art works on exhibit through Aug. 6, when it will temporarily close again.

    Renovations are timed so that the Art of the American West Gallery can house the 13th annual Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale, from Sept. 7 to Oct. 7. Once completed, the reinstalled Western galleries will fully reopen to the public in mid-November. Beyond familiar works, new acquisitions will be featured, including compelling works by African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic and Native American artists.

    With only a portion of the building under renovation and the rest of the museum open as usual, there still is much for visitors to see and do at the Eiteljorg this summer. The Reel West exhibit about Hollywood Westerns remains open, as are the Native American galleries on the second floor, the two new exhibits Interwoven: Native American Basketry from the Mel and Joan Perelman Collection and Harry Fonseca: The Art of Living, and the R.B. Annis Western Family Experience downstairs. The Museum Store and Museum Café are open for business, and enjoyable programming events are held at the Eiteljorg throughout the summer.

    To conveniently plan their visits around the changes, visitors can get the latest updates by checking the Eiteljorg’s social media — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — or its website, www.eiteljorg.org, or by calling Guest Services at 317.636.WEST (9378).

     

    Image caption:

    Wilson Hurley (American, 1924 – 2008)
    October Suite, Grand Canyon, 1991
    Oil on canvas
    Museum Purchase through the generosity of Harrison Eiteljorg


    This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Storyteller magazine. 

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