A museum in Utah takes a look at art from Los Angeles

For over 30 years the cowboy collector, George Wanlass, has been helping the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (NEHMA) at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, build a broadly inclusive collection of art made in the Western United States, mostly in Los Angeles. Largely hidden for many years, this collection is now being revealed as a new museum building opens in the fall. An illustrated catalogue has just now been published.

From the website: “In an introductory essay, art critic Michael Duncan discusses the provincialism and regionalist thinking that has dictated mainstream views of modernism: “Many of the nation’s most daring, innovative, and iconoclastic works have been ignored…simply because they were made on the wrong side of the Mississippi.” The catalogue also includes a substantial interview with visionary collector George Wanlass, who amassed these works over a thirty-year period, providing a rare glimpse of his philosophy and practice.”

And Wanlass really is a cowboy; he has been a dairy farmer and a rancher most of his life, and he has been using funds from various family foundations to support the collection building at NEHMA. Collecting on the Edge features work by 172 artists, providing a comprehensive overview of the art made on the West Coast through the twentieth century. The work of each artist included in the catalogue is accompanied by a short descriptive text written by an assortment of eighty-one critics, art historians, curators, gallerists, artists, and collectors. None of this material is as yet available online.

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