Art reveals iconic artist’s passion for blending Western culture in a contemporary way

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, in partnership with the Booth Western Art Museum and Tacoma Art Museum, is proud to present Warhol and the West, a major traveling exhibition coming to Oklahoma City January 31 – May 10, 2020.

Warhol and the West will explore Warhol’s love of the West represented in his art, movies, attire, travel and collecting. He wore cowboy boots (many paint-splattered) most days and traveled often to New Mexico, Texas and Colorado, areas where he acquired a vast personal collection of Western art, pottery, photographs, artifacts, fashion and accessories. In 1986, Warhol completed his Cowboys and Indians portfolio, the last major project before his death.

“The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is one of only three museums in the United States to host Warhol and the West,” said Michael Grauer, Curator of Western Art and McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture. “The exhibition examines the Cowboys and Indians portfolio in the context of Warhol’s own collection of Western memorabilia and his art-making proclivities which focused on the American West and include photography, painting, printmaking and film-making.”

The Cowboys and Indians portfolio includes 14 iconic images of Western subjects such as Custer, Geronimo, Annie Oakley, and John Wayne, which form the backbone of the Warhol and the West exhibition. Beyond the portfolio, some of his other western subjects include Elvis as a movie gunslinger, Clint Eastwood, Dennis Hopper, guns, Indian art, Western artists R.C. Gorman, Georgia O’Keeffe and Fritz Scholder, plus two Western movies he produced. This group of images has been exhibited but never in the full context of Warhol’s continued involvement with Western people, places and things. In addition to the rare Warhol series, more than 100 Western objects and other works from the artist’s own collection will be displayed.

“Warhol’s work had broad appeal, drawing fans from all walks of life,” said Natalie Shirley, Museum President & CEO. “It is our hope that this exhibition will also bring a diverse audience and expose first-time visitors to all there is to experience at the Museum.”