Started in 1912, the Calgary Stampede is a 10-day event held every summer in Calgary, Alberta. The Stampede hosts world-class rodeo events, chuck wagon races, a midway and concerts. Three exciting art exhibits in Calgary pay tribute to this world-famous event.
Don Pollack, Untitled 347 (2006), oil on canvas [NEWZONES Gallery of Contemporary Art, Calgary AB, Jul 4-Aug 22]
G'ddy Up! explores the visual side of Calgary's cowboy culture. Cowboys and cowboy kitsch are a popular theme in the contemporary art scene. The cowboy no longer represents only machismo and the Wild West, but is a symbol of nostalgic yearnings for a simpler time. The artists, both those interested in cowboy society and those who use aspects of the culture for creative explorations, include Joe Andoe, Dianne Bos, Cathy Daley, Joe Fleming, Jeff Nachtigall and Kevin Sonmor. From the horses found in the work of Kevin Sonmor and Joe Andoe to Dianne Bos' photographs of Stampede fairground rides, all of the work in G'ddy Up! pays homage to the culture that accompanies the Calgary Stampede.
Donald Woodman is an American photographer well-known for his images of small town rodeos in Mexico and South Dakota. By looking behind the hype and myth surrounding this now highly commercialized "sport," Woodman provides unpretentious observations of a romanticized west. As the husband of ground-breaking feminist artist Judy Chicago, he spent eight years collaborating with her on The Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light. Woodman served as Executive Director of the non-profit arts organization Through the Flower from 1997-2002, and is an accomplished commercial photographer with work published in Time magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Art in America and New York Newsday.
The Cowboy and the Spaceman is a film that addresses environmental concerns by exploring two very different views of planet Earth. Sitting on his horse, the cowboy gazes out at the limitless horizon with its promise of inexhaustible bounty. The spaceman's view back towards the earth is of a small, finite, living, breathing, blue and green sphere. It asks the viewer to consider, "Are you a cowboy or a spaceman?"