Dr. Stephen Aron: Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles
The On, Off, and (Maybe) On Again Engagement of Western Art and Western History
The relationship between Western history and Western art was once a warm embrace that conjoined the fields, extolling what made America great. The rise of “new western history” upended the conventions of the field, including the equation of westward expansion with American greatness. Parallel developments in art saw a number of myth-breaking exhibitions around the same time, yet western history and art scholars of the 21st century have seemingly gone their separate ways. Stephen will argue the time has come to broker a reconciliation, with Western museums taking the lead.
Stephen has been on the faculty at UCLA since 1996. For many years he held a concurrent appointment as Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the American West at the Autry Museum of the American West. A past president of the Western History Association, Stephen has published in the field extensively, and is now writing a book entitled Can We All Get Along: An Alternative History of the American West.
W. Richard West, Jr.: President and CEO of the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles
The Autry Museum of the American West: 21st Century Museology and Museum Practice in Presenting Western Cultural History and Art
Rick will describe how The Autry strives to follow paths suggested by Stephen and exists as a living case study. The Autry endeavors to recognize and embrace the genuine diversity and complexity of the cultural communities of the American West and its art, through exhibits, public programs, and research. By including the multiplicity of authoritative voices that reflect broad diversity and application of an intercultural approach to interpretation and representation, enables the Autry to present the cultural history and art of the American West more authentically, accurately, and completely.
Rick is Director Emeritus and Founding Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. Also a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Rick is currently a member of the Board of Directors of I COM-US, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums. He also previously served as the Board Chair of the American Alliance of Museums (1998 – 2000) and Vice President of the International Council of Museums (2007 – 2010).
Each keynote will be followed by facilitated breakout sessions where attendees can discuss issues identified.
Evening Event TBA
Following up on all of the conference conversations, Saturday’s program concludes with facilitated roundtable discussions where attendees can begin formulating strategies for implementation at their institution.
Capstone Keynote Session
Elaine Heumann Gurian: Independent scholar / consultant / advisor
Having fully participated in the conference, Elaine will synthesize the material covered through her considerable experience to identify and clarify the issues raised, challenging attendees to make a difference in their institutions, and thereby moving the Western art and history fields forward.
Elaine is the key advisor to many museums and visitor centers that are beginning, building, or reinventing themselves. Her widely published writings include the anthology, Civilizing the Museum: The Collected Writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian. She has held during her career numerous senior management positions in museums, including Deputy Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Deputy Director for Public Program Planning at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Registration & Accommodations
Advanced registration required. Seating is limited; please register early.
Your confirmation will include a welcome letter with event details and parking information.
Denver Art Museum 100 W. 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, CO 80204, Lewis I. Sharp auditorium, Frederic C. Hamilton Building. The conference fee is $50 per attendee.
Questions regarding the conference site: Meg Erickson [email protected]
Questions regarding the conference program: Cathy Wiley [email protected]
Accommodations for a select number of rooms with a special rate are available at the Art Hotel or 303-572-8000 use group code 2002DAM