The Buffalo Bill Historical Center’s Whitney Gallery of Western Art is set to re-open June 21. It has been closed for remodeling since October 2008.
Curator Mindy Besaw has been neck deep in the project.
“It’s been “all Whitney, all the time” says Besaw. “I hope to provide visitors with a rich new perspective on the role of art in understanding the American West.” Besaw feels the gallery’s 50th anniversary catch phrase, “Seeing the West in a whole new way,” captures its essence. She notes that the “… reinterpreted gallery goes beyond a traditional chronological display of artwork to create a mixture of historic and contemporary art, grouped together based on such themes as, “Horses in the West,” “Wonders of Wildlife,” “Heroes and Legends,” and “Inspirational Landscapes.” Put another way, it “celebrates the past and envisions the future.” ”
The gallery’s history began when the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association commissioned a New York artist, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, to create a monument to Cody. She donated Buffalo Bill – The Scout, which was dedicated on July 4, 1924, and forty acres of adjacent land.
Besaw tells us that,”For 30 years, the Scout remained a solitary horse-and-rider at the outskirts of town. In 1954, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, the sculptor’s son, donated funds in his mother’s honor to create a western art gallery in Cody, Wyoming. Then, in 1957, the Honorable Robert Coe, acting for the Coe Foundation, purchased the Frederic Remington studio collection of paintings, sketches, and artifacts and gave it to the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association for a new art museum.”
And, as they say, the rest is history. For information, contact Mindy Besaw at [email protected] , or phone 307.578.4053