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EXCERPT: Bullet Points Overview
Western art embodies the European artistic tradition. It was adapted to suit the American West. Native Americans are also covered within Western art.
The American West is a mythology known world wide. The dreams inspired by the American West have never disappeared. This is the white man’s American West.
“Manifest destiny,” the entrepreneurial push Westward, is an integral part of the white man’s American West.
The American Indian’s American West is different from the white man’s. Although it was a physical place, their home, it was also a sacred place and an inherent part of their spirituality.
The mythology of the American West has been kept alive by the art of film. The film industry used and continues to use the art of the American West in every aspect of the film making process. This is a unique symbiosis, keeping both alive and well yet also encouraging the myth making.
Western art defined traditionally: realistic art work about Indians, white pioneers and the environmentally pure, vast landscapes of the West.
Those creating Western art west of the Mississippi today do not agree with this hidebound definition. They believe the art form is capable of evolving and encompassing more modern and diverse styles.
The Western art of the past was Anglo oriented. Breaking away from the Anglo perspective to other perspectives is a pent-up demand.
The people making Western art now include Americans with Native, Hispanic, or Chinese heritages plus female artists and environmentalists. They all add in their own perspective of their people and the American West. They are a minority though. White males and Native Americans are the most active artists in Western Art.