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The Myth and The Mirror: Artwork of the American West (2018)


The Myth and The Mirror: Artwork of the American  West examines the American West as a real and imagined place that  embodies the fraught interconnections between exploration and  colonization, national identity, and manifest destiny. This exhibition  explores the art of this iconic region of the United States by utilizing  The University of Arizona Museum of Art’s Western Art collection,  including artworks from every decade of the 20th century and into the  first decade of the 21st century.

Many artists have portrayed and celebrated the  natural beauty of the area and glorified the lives of its inhabitants.  Others question the complicated history and portrayal of Native  Americans and Mexicans in light of exploitation of both people and land.  In this exhibition “myth” represents a range of often romanticized and  glorified views of the American West while “mirror” underscores the  fluid terrain of meaning in representation and seeks out a more nuanced  view of this place, both real and imagined. The Myth and The Mirror  invites viewers to see that there are, in fact, many American “wests”  and to consider the artists, institutions, archives, curators, and  historians who have contributed to its construction.

University of Arizona Museum of Art

Curated by Dustin Shores and Eric Wilson