After several decades of revisionism, deconstruction, race/gender/class analysis, parody, and a library full of plain old-fashioned scholarship, the time is ripe for a fresh understanding of the American West. No surprise, then, that Books & Culture's sister publication, Christian History, is devoting an issue to this subject, nor that B&C itself will feature a special section on the New Western History in the July/August issue. And three first-rate museum shows offer a cross-section of new views of the West.The first, "Pacific Arcadia: Images of California 1600-1915," just finished a run at the Joslyn Museum of Art in Omaha after opening at Stanford University's splendid new Cantor Center for the Visual Arts in 1999 and moving from there to the San Diego Museum of Art. Fortunately, the catalogue of the exhibition is available from Oxford University Press in paperback for $25; the author is Claire Perry, curator of American Art at the Cantor Center.The second exhibition, "Illusions of Eden: Visions of the American Heartland," concluded its opening run yesterday at the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, but after stints in Vienna and Budapest, the exhibition will return to the United States, first to the Madison Art Center in Madison, Wisconsin (February 24-May 13, 2001) and then to the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (June-August 2001). As the text of the catalogue reminds us (in English, German, and Hungarian), the Midwest—as much as California—beckoned as a kind of Eden, when the frontier was the "American Heartland."Finally, "The American West: Out of Myth, Into Reality," which opened in February at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, is moving to the Terra Museum of Modern ...1
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