National Museum of Wildlife Art Celebrates 25 Years February 15, 2012 | Categories: 25th Anniversary
Jackson Hole, Wyoming – February 15, 2012 – From a private collector’s dream and a rented Jackson Hole storefront to a landmark building, national museum designation, and more than 5,000 artworks boasting familiar names from Audubon to Warhol, the National Museum of Wildlife Art has come a long way in 25 years. In addition to its quarter-century anniversary, 2012 also marks the opening of the museum’s new Walter Hood-designed Sculpture Trail, the spearheading of a national exhibition providing a visual record of the American West as seen through the eyes of National Geographic’s legendary photographers, and a rare Bob Kuhn retrospective and companion book.
The museum’s collection began inauspiciously in 1962 with a small painting titled “Favorite Panfish” by Les Kouba given to Bill Kerr by his wife, Joffa. Two years later the couple bought a Carl Rungius piece, “Wanderers Above Timberline” on layaway, and by 1987 they had amassed one of the finest collections of wildlife and sporting art in the country. Together with several others, they opened the then Wildlife of the American West museum in a 5,000-square-foot space on Jackson’s Town Square.
Fast forward 25 years, and the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States – so designated by an act of Congress in 2008 and now housed in an architecturally significant stone building on a butte overlooking the National Elk Refuge north of the town of Jackson – has established itself as the world’s premier collector, exhibitor and interpreter of wildlife art. As part of its ongoing mission of exploring humanity’s relationship with nature and in addition to a variety of exhibitions and events throughout its anniversary year, the museum’s 2012 lineup includes the following:
May 10, 2012 – Rarely seen works from wildlife master Robert Kuhn, ranging from boyhood zoo sketches to mature masterpieces, will be on display in the exhibition “Bob Kuhn: Drawing on Instinct” through August 19, 2012. Mounted by
the museum, the exhibition will travel to multiple venues and is accompanied by a book published by the University of Oklahoma Press. Image credit; Robert Kuhn, Tiger—detail, n.d. Gift of the Artist, National Museum of Wildlife Art. ©Estate of Robert Kuhn.
June 14, 2012 – The installation of sculptor Sandy Scott’s “Presidential Eagle” marks the opening of the museum’s new outdoor art venue designed by renowned landscape architect Walter Hood . An integral addition to the museum’s rugged site, the Sculpture Trail – which will feature nearly 30 permanent and temporary works of art – includes an edge trail and an amphitheater, and connects to Jackson via a community bicycle path. Other important pieces slated for installation include a casting of Simon Gudgeon’s “Isis” and eight larger-than-life bison in Richard Loffler’s “Buffalo Trail.”
Bench on sculpture trail; landscape architect Walter Hood; Sandy Scott, Presidential Eagle, 2012. Gift of Joy and Tony Greene, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Sandy Scott.
October 27, 2012 – “National Geographic Photographs the American West,” a special exhibition organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in partnership with National Geographic and Museums West will open simultaneously in more than 10 national venues, including at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole. The show presents for the first time in one exhibition an unprecedented collection of iconic images of the West created by National Geographic photographers over a span of some 120 years.
A member of the Museums West consortium and accredited by the American Association of Museums, the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States provides an exciting calendar of exhibitions from its permanent collection and changing exhibitions from around the globe. A complete schedule of museum exhibitions and events is available online at www.wildlifeart.org. The museum is also active on Facebook at wildlifeartjh and on Twitter at @wildlifeartjh.