Home James Bama’s Photographs – an essential tool


Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Buffalo Bill Center of the West


Buffalo Bill Center of the West
BBCW | 720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, Wyoming


Jul 09 2024


5:30 pm

James Bama’s Photographs – an essential tool

Join our Whitney Western Art Museum for James Bama’s Photographs: An Essential Tool, a free, special program in the occasional Peter Hassrick Public Program series on Tuesday, July 9 in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Coe Auditorium. This presentation is in conjunction with the special exhibition James Bama’s Photographs: Portraits of the West, on view in our John Bunker Sands Photography Gallery through August 4, 2024.

Presenter Thomas Brent Smith is the Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. This event represents a homecoming of sorts for Smith, who was a Resident Fellow in the Center’s McCracken Research Library in 2005, researching the art of James Bama, the subject of his Master’s thesis. Smith recorded five interviews with Bama and got to know him both as a scholar and friend.

About the program

An artist known for his realism; James Bama used photography as an essential tool. His photography practice, however, went well beyond delineation. It became a way for the artist to engage, create, and carefully deliberate over what became his finished works. Bama’s camera gave him an entrée to engage with people who on the surface were dissimilar to the New Yorker who went West. The gregarious artists captured images of a wide cross section of people in the Mountain West, some of whom became subjects for his paintings. Among his most timely and compelling photographs and paintings are a group of works coinciding with the rise of the American Indian Movement. The series captures an important political moment while also acknowledging the painter’s rich artistic influences from photographers Edward S. Curtis to Richard Avedon and the Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art movements.

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The event is finished.