Writer Philipp Meyer says in his novel The Son;
“The cowboy has been written about as if it were the pinnacle of freedom… In fact, it was a sleepless drudgery almost beyond imagination.”
The new Whitney just opened with a show, America Is Hard To See, and to me, this exhibit serves as a sidebar to that show idea. From Clint Eastwood & John Wayne westerns to Tom of Finland and Marlboro ads, the image of the cowboy is central to our cultural identity in the U.S. #Rawhide, curated by Dylan Brant and Vivian Brodie, examines the role artists have played in shaping this archetype and illustrating the way in which they have been able to continue interpret and articulate the relationship to the our identity. I’m originally from Texas and when I’ve met foreign nationals in the past, the first thing they think of (besides Kennedy’s assassination) is a cowboy, which, given your POV can a critique and a reflection of our nation’s values and dreams. This show is an homage to the longevity and durability of this uniquely American symbol. Curator Dylan Brant says;
“Ultimately, this show deals with the fabrication of a figure and how artists have influenced that fabrication.”
#Rawhide runs through July 11 at Venus Over Manhattan. For more images and info, go here.