February 1, 2020 - January 3, 2021; Lightcatcher building
The Whatcom Museum is pleased to kick off a five-year exhibition partnership with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, as we present three masterworks from one of the nation’s most treasured collections of American art. Made possible through the support of Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art, two exhibitions titled Conversations Between Collections will highlight the three works on view from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in conversation with works from the Whatcom Museum’s permanent collection.
Fritz Scholder’s Indian and Contemporary Chair (1970) and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s State Names (2000) upend traditional narratives and romanticized portrayals of Native Americans. These two works offer new insights while in dialogue with the Museum’s People of the Sea and Cedar exhibition, which explores the vibrant living history, culture, and art of regional Coast Salish tribes. The two masterworks present themes of identity and power dynamics in the American West and prompt examination and critique of dominant narratives.
The Coast of Genoa (1854), by Hudson River School painter Jasper Francis Cropsey, will be featured alongside landscapes from prominent Northwest artists including works by Richard Gilkey, Nell Bradshaw, and Victoria Adams. With the intent to stimulate discussion between what is familiar and what is foreign in a landscape, visitors will observe and share how elements of each work denote place and, specifically, our place within the Pacific Northwest, and how the landscapes we love are deeply rooted to a sense of self.
All three outstanding works on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum allow for fresh perspectives around investigations of place and identity that emphasize the preservation and celebration of storytelling.
This 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 + Terra Foundation Initiative. For more information about this five-year collaborative project, visit americanart.si.edu/about/american-west-consortium
Conversations Between Collections is generously sponsored by Peoples Bank, with additional support from Heritage Bank.
Take a docent-led tour Saturdays beginning February 1, 2:30–3:30pm and learn more about Conversations Between Collections, a partnership between the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and the Whatcom Museum featuring three SAAM masterworks in “conversation” with the Whatcom Museum’s permanent collection. Our trained docents will provide insight into the themes of identity and place highlighted in the exhibition. Tours begin in the lobby of the Lightcatcher, last one hour, and are included with admission.