Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art opens National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West

. September 30, 2013

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art presents National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West an exhibition on view September 28 – December 31, 2013. The exhibition includes photographs by Sam Abell, Ansel Adams, William Albert Allard, Edward Curtis, David Alan Harvey, William Henry Jackson, Sarah Leen, and Joel Sartore, among many others.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah, 2008. © Jim Richardson/National Geographic Stock.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah, 2008. © Jim Richardson/National Geographic Stock.


Throughout its 125-year history, National Geographic has published photographs of the American West that both support and defy romantic notions of the land and its peoples. In this special exhibition, wide open spaces, spectacular rock formations, and the cowboy life are examined alongside struggles for limited natural resources, Native American cultural continuity, and new energy sources. Drawn from the significant holdings of the National Geographic Archive, “National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West” offers a broad understanding of a region that has long captivated photographers.

Organized into four sections, the exhibition focuses on a different aspect of the American West and its importance to our national identity. “Legends” portrays some of the cowboys, Native Americans and landscapes that define the vast area. “Encounters” showcases the interactions among the people of the West, visitors and wildlife. “Boundaries” features places where endless skies, boundless plains, and dramatic mountains meet natural and manmade limits. “Visions” explores the growth of the American West and where its story may go in the future.

Taken together, these images form a sort of cultural commons for popular understanding of the region. While its editorial coverage spans destinations across the globe, National Geographic consistently returns to the West and highlights the importance of the region to human imagination.

“The American West” was organized with the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States and Museums West; Presented by the Mays Family Foundation; Traveled by National Geographic. This exhibition is made possible at the JSMA by the Coeta and Donald Barker Special Exhibitions Endowment, The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, and JSMA members.

Category: Museum News

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