Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City examines the perspectives of dozens of artists who offer a broader and more inclusive view of the American West.
Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea
February 5–June 11, 2023
Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City
Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea examines the perspectives of dozens of modern and contemporary artists who offer a broader and more inclusive view of this region, which too often has been dominated by romanticized myths and Euro-American historical accounts. The exhibition is on view at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City from Sunday, February 5 through Sunday, June 11.
Many Wests presents an opportunity to examine previous misconceptions, question racist clichés, and highlight the multiple communities and histories that continue to form this iconic region of the United States. Working in various media, from painting and sculpture to photography and mixed media, the artists featured bring a nuanced and multifaceted history to light. Many Wests highlights many voices—including artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian American, Latinx, and LGBTQ+—who stake a claim in the American West.
The exhibition’s three sections—Caretakers, Memory Makers, and Boundary Breakers—highlight the various ways artists explode singular conceptions of the American West, often demonstrating the resilience of marginalized communities who survived against the odds. The modern and contemporary artists featured in Many Wests reveal that “the West” has always been a place of multiple stories, experiences, and cultures.
Many Wests features artwork from the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and four partner museums located in some of the fastest-growing cities and states in the western region of the United States: the Boise Art Museum in Idaho; the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon; the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington; and the UMFA.
Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of the Art Bridges Initiative.