The Arts and U

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“Out West with Buffalo Bill”  UMFA Hosts Historian of Gay West

By Mindy Wilson, UMFA marketing and communications director

Frederic Remington (American, 1861–1909), Buffalo Bill in the Limelight, ca. 1899, oil on canvas, 35.5 x 48.5 inches (frame), Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming, USA, gift of The Coe Foundation, H. P. Skoglund, Ernest Goppert, Sr., and John S. Bugas, 23.71.

A writer and historian who studies the hidden gay history of the West will speak at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. The event, “Out West with Buffalo Bill” featuring Gregory Hinton, is part of the UMFA’s “Now West!” series of programs encouraging critical dialogue around “Go West! Art of the American Frontier from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.”

Hinton, who grew up in Cody, Wyoming, weaves a dynamic survey of LGBT history and culture in the American West with a personal story that will resonate with many. As a young gay man in the rural West, he “evacuated” to the big city but longed for the place he’d fled. Ironically, historical icon William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody finally led him home.

“As a rural Western expatriate, I have often observed a deep-seated urban bias, or what I call coastal chauvinism, against the rural American West,” Hinton wrote in 2011. “Through our progressive condescension, many urban and urbane LGBTs have abandoned the stewardship of the American West, with all of its rich history, plentiful natural resources, astonishing beauty and unspoiled space, without ever having even visited it. We also ignore the civil rights struggles of our gay and lesbian country cousins, to their peril and our great shame.”

Hinton created “Out West at the Autry,” a historical and educational program series at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles dedicated to illuminating the contributions of the LGBT community to the history and culture of the American West. He is a Buffalo Bill Center of the West Fellow and associate editor of the Papers of William F. Cody.

“Out West with Buffalo Bill” is free and open to the public.

“Go West! Art of the American Frontier” considers evolving notions of the American West through celebrated artworks from one of the nation’s finest collections of western art. The exhibition, on view through March 11, features more than eighty artworks by both Euro-Americans and Plains Indian artists. U faculty, staff, and students are admitted free.

Also in February:

Emma Hansen, curator emerita and senior scholar at the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center, will discuss “Native Art and a Sense of Place in the Great Plains,” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 22. Hansen will explore Plains Indian art as powerful expressions of place based on cultural knowledge, oral traditions, spiritual beliefs and deep relationships to distinctive homelands.

The UMFA’s Creativity in Focus Film Series, co-presented with the Utah Film Center, will feature “Through the Repellent Fence” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 28. This film documents the efforts of Native American art collective Postcommodity to construct a two-mile long outdoor artwork straddling the U.S.-Mexico border.

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