[re]Frame: Haub Family Collection
Russel Albert Daniels, Maurice Archuleta and Dried Cholla near Plaza Blanca, 2019, photograph.

[re]Frame: Haub Family Collection

Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA - Ongoing

by Susan Kunimatsu

American museums are trying to change how they, and we, look at American art. Institutions seeking a broader audience are engaging curators and artists from under-represented and excluded groups to re-envision their collections. Tacoma Art Museum is the latest in our region to undertake this project, with [re]Frame: Haub Family Collection of Western American Art.

Comprising 300 works dating from the 1790s to the present, including important artists such as Frederic Remington and Georgia O’Keeffe, the Haub Family Collection doubled the museum’s exhibition space when it arrived a decade ago. Today, it places the museum in a unique position to meet this moment of cultural reckoning. TAM curator Faith Brower describes the collection as “a wonderful starting point for considering art and ideas about the American West.” To create a new context for viewing these works, four guest curators have designed exhibitions that focus on groups that played important but under-recognized roles in the history of the American West and offer alternatives to the white man’s version of that history.

In Finding Home: The Chinese American West, curator Lele Barnett addresses the history of Chinese immigrants in America and Tacoma. In The Abiqueños and the Artist, Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha) creates a dialogue between Indigenous and white interpretations of the landscape of Abiquiú, New Mexico. Both Barnett and Norby juxtapose works by contemporary artists with legacy works from the Haub Family Collection. In Blackness Is… the Refusal to Be Reduced, works in a variety of media by Nikesha Breeze and six contemporary artists compose a counternarrative to conventional American history from a Black point of view. And for Nepantla: The Land Is the Beloved, curator Maymanah Farhat chose artists identifying with the Arab diaspora, who depict the desert landscapes of the American West in ways that challenge historical portrayals of the region by American and European artists.

These exhibitions constitute a major reinstallation of the Haub Family Collection. They should foster fresh viewpoints and inject new narratives into the history of the American West.


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