Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Quest for the West artist Gerald Balciar

    by The Eiteljorg Musem of American Indians and Western Art | Aug 16, 2016
    Balciar 2016a
    Gerald Balciar

    Born 1942 in Medford, Wisconsin; lives in Parker, Colorado

    Guardian Angel
    2016, bronze, edition of 45, 12 x 15 x 12 inches

    In this sculpture I wanted to show how protective a mother duck can be of her brood. I remember as a kid sneaking up on a small slough no bigger than a puddle by the river with a hen and about a dozen ducklings. I made a dash into the water, thinking, “I am going to catch a baby duck.” The hen flew off and all the ducklings dove under water. I still don’t know to this day how that mother duck saved her family, because I waited for them to surface and they never did.

    LIKE MANY artists, Gerald Balciar’s fascination with art began when he was a young boy. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, he was fascinated by the wild animals in the woods near his home and taught himself how to sketch them. In 1964, after learning to work in clay, he cast his first bronze. He later began to carve in stone as well.

    Balciar’s empathy for animals, enhanced by careful research and occasional work from live models, forms the basis for his sympathetic portrayals of wildlife, which are admired by zoologists and wildlife advocates. His creations range from small works to monumental installations. His largest marble is Canyon Princess, an 18-foot, 16,000-pound cougar carved from a single block and installed at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. In order to have the marble he prefers, he stores a huge supply near his studio and on land he owns near a quarry.

    Notable Awards and Achievements

    2014       Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Eiteljorg Keepsake
    2012       Autry Museum of the American West, Masters of the American West, Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation Sculpture Award
    2009       Society of Animal Artists, Award of Excellence
    2009       Montana Historical Society, Western Rendezvous of Art, People’s Choice Award
    2007       National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Prix de West, James Earl Fraser Sculpture Award
    1999       Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, William E. Weiss Purchase Award
    1991       National Academy of Western Art, Prix de West, Gold Medal
    1990       National Academy of Western Art, Prix de West, Nona Jean Hulsey Rumsey Buyers’ Choice Award and Silver Medal
    1985       National Academy of Western Art, Prix de West, Purchase Award and Gold Medal 


    Allied Artists of America
    Society of Animal Artists

    Gallery Representation

    Astoria Fine Art, Jackson, Wyoming
    Big Horn Galleries, Cody, Wyoming, and Tubac, Arizona
    Broadmoor Gallery, Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Knox Galleries, Beaver Creek, Colorado
    Sorrel Sky Galleries, Durango, Colorado, and Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Whistle Pik Galleries, Fredericksburg, Texas

  • 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.

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