When the 35th annual Jackson Hole Arts Festival takes over this cowboy-chic town in the shadow of Grand Teton National Park between September 4 and 15, the event will include the 21st Annual Museum Jewelry & Artisan Luncheon, the Western Design Exhibit + Sale, numerous gallery events, openings and artist talks, Taste of the Tetons—a celebration of food, wine, art and music on the lawn of the town square—a chamber music concert series, one of the nation’s finest Western art shows and sales and more. That’s just for starters.
Why does the already jam-packed 2019 Jackson Hole Arts Festival need a fine art fair to go along with everything else it has to offer?
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“About 20,000 art lovers make a beeline to town to find and acquire new art pieces; we felt that we could contribute to the offering of art this weekend,” Rick Friedman, Executive Director of the Jackson Hole Fine Art Fair, said. “I am searching for ‘Parts Unknown,’ new untapped and art-conscious markets to help stimulate art collecting.”
The inaugural edition of the Jackson Hole Fine Art Fair, featuring 50 select galleries from across the nation, runs September 12-15. Artwork on view will lean heavily toward contemporary, but will also feature the Western, Native American and wildlife genres familiar to this Wyoming destination considered the cultural mecca of the Rocky Mountains.
“We have perhaps the widest-ranging display ever assembled in an art fair,” Friedman said
Friedman pioneered the concept of upscale regional luxury fine art fairs. During the past decade, he has successfully produced a series of such events in the Hamptons, Aspen, Colorado, Houston, San Francisco, Palm Springs, California and Silicon Valley. He has high expectations for this fair.
“If every visitor does not say ‘OMG’ when they enter, I will be heartbroken,” Friedman said. “We have converted a semi-pro hockey stadium rink (Snow King Sports and Events Center) to a dazzling, awe-inspiring, refined and museum-like center with thousands of gallery lights and hundreds of 10-foot high walls all featuring hundreds of respected artists from up and comers, to mid-career, to blue-chip and (visitors) can meet many of them personally!”
In Jackson Hole, big spenders will have the opportunity to buy work from museum-stalwarts including Alexander Calder, Maynard Dixon, Elaine De Kooning, Thomas Hart Benton, Ed Mell and John Nieto.
Nieto, who died last July at age 69, will additionally be honored with the fair’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
One anecdote of Nieto’s prominence recalls that after participating in an exhibit at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the artist met with President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office and presented him with the painting Delegate to the White House. The painting hung in Washington for the duration of Reagan’s term in office and has now been included in his presidential library.
John Nieto gifting #President #Reagan with an original piece in 1982. “Delegate to the White House” now hangs in his Presidential Library. pic.twitter.com/DevTGXHfFW
— Nieto Fine Art (@NietoFineArt) August 31, 2017
“John Nieto is one of America’s most accomplished, dynamic and recognizable contemporary artists and we wanted to honor an artist that touched into several different genres,” Friedman said. “His legendary, brilliantly bold and colorful works bridge Western, Cubism, Native American, representational, Fauvist and Contemporary (art).”
Nieto isn’t the only legendary Western artist being celebrated.
“Maynard Dixon Museum Comes to Jackson Hole” brings 40 Dixon paintings along with important drawings and artifacts from the artist’s life to the fair. The exhibit is organized by Mark Sublette, who operates the museum along with the Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, both in Tucson, Arizona.
Sublette, a renowned authority on Dixon (1875-1946), will be signing copies of his recently published book, Maynard Dixon’s American West: Along the Distant Mesa, as well as giving lectures and leading guided tours of the Dixon museum display throughout the weekend.
A highlight of the exhibition is Dixon’s study for Shapes of Fear, one of his most important works; the oil resides in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.
Sublette, whose fascinating “Art Dealer Diaries” podcast features his conversations with Western art gallery owners, artists and luminaries, will additionally be exhibiting with his gallery at the fair.
“As a gallerist for over 30 years, I have numerous clients in Jackson Hole and for years have been asked to find a way to share our art and artists with local collectors,” Sublette said. “This major art show provided that perfect opportunity.”
Visitors wishing to get the jump on their collecting competitors can secure early access to the fair during the VIP “Sneak Peak” Friday afternoon. Guests will be treated to wine, spirits and hors d’oeuvres while enjoying the first chance to see and purchase works. Additionally, Friedman will greet attendees with opening remarks and Nieto’s lifetime achievement award will be presented.
Jackson Hole Fine Art Fair has also partnered with the fabulous National Museum of Wildlife Art, located in Jackson Hole, for the Harvest Moon Art Benefit. The benefit will be hosted at the fair on Saturday night and feature a silent auction which will raise funds for the museum.
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Located at the base of Snow King Mountain, the Snow King Hotel and Resort serves as the fair’s official hotel and offers attendees a special rate.
With epic scenery, iconic wildlife—the National Elk Refuge sits adjacent to town—a charming, walkable downtown, fine food, great art and perfect fall weather enticing the area’s aspen trees to transition their leaves from green to the sunburst yellow of a million stunning photographs, September in Jackson Hole beckons.