The word “snapshot” originated in hunting, referring to a rifle shot that has been taken quickly without deliberate aiming. It was used in this sense well before it migrated to photography to mean a quickly-taken picture. This is just one debt that the art world owes to the outdoor pastimes covered in the Amon Carter Museum’s new show, Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art. This collection of paintings and sculptures by some giants of the art world opens this weekend.
Hunting and fishing did give artists a chance to indulge in traditional genres of art, like landscapes or still lifes (of freshly killed animals). However, the paintings and sculptures in this show also display class differences between poor workers who hunted and fished to survive and rich people who did these things for sport. They also offer up some visceral thrills, as in Arthur Tait’s painting of a hunter in mortal danger from a bear. While the show focuses on 19th-century artists like Thomas Cole, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer, it also has works by more modern artists like Stuart Davis and Marsden Hartley. If you must be indoors during hunting season, the Carter is a place to be.
Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art runs Oct 7-Jan 7 at Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. Admission is free. Call 817-738-1933.