Press Release

Tucson Museum of Art examines the emotional impact of the land in The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West

Exhibition focuses on how artists interpret, reinvent, challenge and transform the ideal of the sublime landscape

September 19, 2019

Tucson, AZ – The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) examines the idea of the sublime landscape in The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West. The exhibition is scheduled for October 19, 2019 to February 9, 2020.

In a variety of art from the mid-1800s to today, the exhibition includes paintings, photography, sculpture, prints, basketry, textiles, and poetry. It features more than 60 works from museums across the country, the TMA permanent collection, and select private loans. This exhibition is organized by the Tucson Museum of Art and curated by Christine Brindza, Senior Curator, Glasser Curator of Art of the American West.

The exhibition features works of art of the American West that interpret, reinvent, challenge and transform the idea of the sublime: an aesthetic ideal with an emotional or spiritual charge that instills awe or inspires fear. According to Brindza, “The ideal of the sublime landscape has had long-term effects on the people and cultures of the American West, some of which are explored in this exhibition.”

Nineteenth-century landscape painters and early photographers traveled the Western frontier, creating the first images of the West seen by the public. Their panoramic and sublime views of nature came to reflect the identity of the United States at the time, stirring mythic notions about spacious skies, towering mountains, bubbling geysers, massive trees, and desolate deserts.

Living artists apply their own stylistic methods and ideas in contemporary works using a variety of media. Many examine environmental, cultural, and social issues related to the land; others continue to portray the romantic ideal. Some make a connection to personal heritage and spirituality, while others focus on the effects of industrialization and tourism.

“In juxtaposing artworks from the 19th century and today, the exhibition presents the idea of the sublime landscape in contemporary contexts and from broader perspectives,” Brindza said. “Including diverse perceptions and artistic styles creates new conversations about a traditional idea.”

The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West includes works by:

  • Ansel Adams
  • Jack Balas
  • Shonto Begay (Diné)
  • Albert Bierstadt
  • Ralph Albert Blakelock
  • George Elbert Burr
  • Howard Russell Butler
  • Jay Dusard
  • Chuck Forsman
  • Jody Forster
  • Tony Foster
  • Sanford Robinson Gifford
  • John Edward Glannon
  • Hermann Ottomar Herzog
  • Thomas Hill
  • Shawn Huckins
  • Terrol Dew Johnson (Tohono O’odham)
  • Marlowe Katoney (Diné)
  • Karen Kitchel
  • James Lavadour (Walla Walla)
  • Ed Mell
  • Thomas Moran
  • Eadweard Muybridge
  • Ethan Murrow
  • A. Nisbet
  • Gerry Peirce
  • Henry Cheever Pratt
  • Cara Romero (Chemehuevi)
  • Ramona Sakiestewa (Hopi)
  • Lone Wolf / Hart M. Schultz (Blackfoot)
  • Eric Sloane
  • Don Stinson
  • Bobb Vann
  • Willem Volkersz
  • Ellen Wagener
  • Kay Walkingstick (Cherokee)
  • Carleton Watkins
  • Bobby “Dues” Wilson (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota)
  • Steven J. Yazzie (Diné)

The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West is accompanied by a 144 page, full-color catalogue with a forward by Jeremy Mikolajczak, essays by Christine Brindza and Martina Dawley, Ph.D., Diné/Hualapai scholar, and poetry by Ofelia Zepeda, Ph.D., Tohono O’odham linguist. Dr. Zepeda’s poems appear throughout the galleries in conversation with the works of art on view.

TMA seeks to cultivate new understandings and deeper meanings of the lands of the West, particularly Southern Arizona, bringing new energies into how the landscape can be seen. This objective is supported by a robust series of public programs, including:

  • Panel conversation featuring artists Karen Kitchel, Shawn Huckins, and Bobby “Dues” Wilson (October 19, 1 p.m.)
  • Curator’s Tour of the exhibition with Senior Curator Christine Brindza (October 23, 1 p.m.)
  • Artist talk featuring Cara Romero, Chemehuevi photographer, whose work is on the cover of the accompanying catalogue (November 16, 2 p.m.)
  • Partnership with Neoglyphix, an Indigenous aerosol collective (November 7, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.)

The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West is presented by the Western Art Patrons with additional support from Anonymous, Jerry E. Freund, and Jeff and Anne Gartner.

The 2019/20 Exhibition Season at the Tucson Museum of Art is generously sponsored by Joyce Broan, Connie Hillman Family Foundation, and AC Hotel Tucson.

High-resolution images and a list of works in the exhibition are available upon request.

About the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block

The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block’s mission is Connecting Art to Life. The museum was founded in 1924 and is located in the El Presidio Historic District of downtown Tucson. It is Southern Arizona’s premier presenter of fine art and art education programs.

The museum features permanent and traveling exhibitions of Modern and Contemporary, Native American, American West, Latin American, pre-Columbian, European and Asian art. The 74,000-square-foot museum offers guided tours and education programs. The museum’s historic block of 19th and 20th-century adobe and Mission Revival-style buildings, encompassing a four-acre city block, includes the highly acclaimed museum restaurant Café a la C’Art, the Museum Store and additional exhibition spaces.

TMA is a private 501(c)(3) charitable arts and education organization. For additional information visit or call (520) 624-2333.

For general media inquiries contact Anne Thwaits, Director of Marketing and Communications, at athwaits@localhost or 520-616-2687