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Great Books at UMFA’s Many Wests Exhibition

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts recently opened its Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea exhibition, which will run through June 11, 2023. The exhibition shows extraordinary art representing the wide variety of experiences and perspectives in the West. Part of the exhibition includes great books to supplement the themes presented by the works of art. You can view the books as you visit the galleries.

We wanted to learn more about the books and why they were selected, so we asked Virginia Catherall, Curator of Education at the museum. Virginia’s responses are below along with the list of books. All of the titles are available at Marriott Library.

Many Wests Book List
Interview with Virginia Catherall

How did you develop this great list of books?

This exhibition has such a wonderful, varied expression of voices from people living in the West that I wanted to reflect that in the books available to read and peruse in the exhibition. Some books are about or by the artists in the exhibition. Others are about the subject matter depicted in the art. And then I wanted to highlight local voices from our immediate area in the West so I have included some local authors. There are books for adults as well as children highlighting these varied perspectives of the West.

What do the books mean in relationship to the exhibition?

I hope that people can learn a bit more about the exhibition and artists through either reading these books or glancing through them and then checking them out from the Marriott Library for a longer read. The exhibition labels have been translated into Spanish for anyone who would like or need to experience and understand the art in that language. In addition, although we could not get every book in Spanish, there are several books that have the Spanish version in our book area as well.

Photo credit: Tony Sams

Any that you would recommend people read?

I definitely would recommend reading some of our local authors: Dear Damage by Ashley Farmer, The Reluctant Journey of Manfred Bugsbee by Mike Farfel, or Nightingale by Paisley Rekdal. Getting such a close-to-home perspective from these insightful books is a great opportunity to expand your perspective of our region.

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