Why Albert Bierstadt Went West, West-er, and West-est (Zoom)


Wednesday, June 14

7pm Where


Admission Registration required

Join Tyler Green, award-winning historian, critic, and producer and host of The Modern Art Notes Podcast, for this incisive look at why Albert Bierstadt was interested in the American West as a long-term subject.

Albert Bierstadt painted a series of paintings starting in 1857 and culminating in the mid-1870s that extended the notion that Anglo-Saxons made up a superior race of humans and that all other humans were doomed to subordination or elimination. This false narrative—enormously popular in European-American political speech, fiction, pseudoscience, and philosophy—included among its core tenets that Anglo-Saxons had a duty to spread their ‘civilization’ ever westward, toward the setting sun. Bierstadt made this idea central to his work. Across the most significant period of Bierstadt’s career, he built paintings of Italy, New England, the Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and most of all the Pacific West into a narrative of Anglo-Saxon superiority and conquest.

The talk will be followed by Q&A with Green, who has written for The New York Times Lens, Fortune, Conde Nast Portfolio, and Smithsonian. He has contributed op-eds to newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal. His commentary has also aired on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” From 2010–14 he was the columnist for Modern Painters magazine. Green is the author of Carleton Watkins: Making the West American, which won a 2019 California Book Award gold medal, and Emerson’s ‘Nature’ and the Artists. He is also the co-founder (with Dr. Kelli Morgan) and director of The Darkwater Project, which creates an anti-racist art history by revealing and interrogating historical American art’s role in the construction of white supremacy.


Support provided by Art Bridges.