Museum keeps the American West alive
The Briscoe Western Art Museum had artwork by Frederic Remington on display when it opened in San Antonio on the last weekend of October. But that hardly defines the range of the new museum. It is a collection with contemporary and modern art side-by-side with old tools that defined the West.
Remington and other painters and photographers at the turn of the last century were eyewitnesses to the last rays of an era. Their art documented a fading culture and helped convinced a distant population that the American West was worth saving. The best artists, old and new, capture the people of the West radiating with humanity in a land of many legends without romanticizing them.
The multi-gallery exhibition includes saddles, spurs, spears, and guns presented as art, not as historic artifacts. The same fine craftsmanship produced Poncho Villa's parade saddle, Santa Ana's ceremonial sword, and Apache baskets. The art and artifacts are parts of the broader story of the American West that is open to personal interpretation.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum is at 210 W. Market St. in downtown San Antonio. The building housed the city's Central Library from 1930 to 1968, and the Hertzberg Circus Collection until it moved to the Witte Museum in 2003. The museum was the vision of the late Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe Jr., his wife Janey, and others, and took 10 years to come to fruition. For more information, see www.briscoemuseum.org.
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