Macomb, Ill. artist selected for Western art museum exhibition

Macomb, Ill. artist selected for Western art museum exhibition


INDIANAPOLIS—How many times have you pulled off the interstate on a long trip to get a snack and stretch your legs and seen the kitsch and “collectibles” on the shelves? On a trip from Illinois to Phoenix or Santa Fe, much of that kitsch will be ceramic cowboy boots, little tipis as toothpick holders and “Navajo” Indian blankets.

Don Crouch of Macomb, Ill., captures those scenes in his paintings, which will be part of the contemporary art exhibition, “New Art of the West 8” at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis. Crouch is one of 19 artists selected for this show, which runs Sept. 28, 2002 to Jan. 19, 2003.

“New Art of the West 8” is a biennial exhibition that brings the works of 19 contemporary artists to Indianapolis. These are artists who are Native Americans or who are non-Native living in or creating work about the American West.

Contrary to common understanding, many cultures define today’s West. Those cultures will be represented in “New Art of the West 8,” which includes Latino, Asian, Euro-American and Native American artists. Each artist creates work grounded in his or her unique combination of background, experiences, environment and cultural traditions.

For Crouch, growing up near the U.S.-Mexico border helped him incorporate new and old ideas with his work. He draws from direct observation, seeking “to capture the essence of my subjects with an implicit timelessness,” he said.

His works become a meeting of myth and reality.

“Recently I have incorporated paintings of Western masters as diverse as Carl Runguis and E. Martin Hennings into this epic to portray a mirrored reflection of the West,” Crouch explained.

“New Art of the West 8” is a sales show designed to add works of art to the Eiteljorg Museum’s permanent contemporary collection, as well as to make today’s finest Western art available to a Midwestern audience. The Eiteljorg takes a 30-percent commission from all sales; these funds are used to purchase works at the end of the exhibition’s run.

Curator Jennifer Complo McNutt emphasizes that no two “New Art of the West” exhibitions are alike.

“Each time we present it, this exhibition must reflect the changing faces and facets of the American West,” she said. “It must always bring a fresh and often a difficult-to-understand perspective to traditional definitions of Western art. With every exhibition and with every artist, no matter how shocking or irreverent the work may be, the Eiteljorg Museum will present the unexpected West, the new West.”

Two jurors selected the artists for “New Art of the West 8.” Hamza Walker is director of education for the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, as well as a curator and writer of national acclaim. Jean Robertson is a critic, curator and art historian specializing in the late 20th century and is an assistant professor at Herron School of Art in Indianapolis.

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art opened June 24, 1989. It is the only museum in the Midwest to combine Western art and Native American art and artifacts.

For more information, call (317) 636-WEST or

“New Art of the West 8” is sponsored by American United Life Insurance Companies Inc. with additional support from Celadon Group and Oxford Financial.

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