Mining is the transformative industry of the American West—one that competes in scale and in color with the scenic landscape on its own terms, with the industrial sublime dynamically coexisting with the natural one. These landscapes are located at the bedrock of economic development—the risky speculation from which huge fortunes could be made and lost—and reframing our understanding of an equally mythic chronicle of the American West. Mining was one of the five Cs of the Arizona’s economy, and remains central to its cultural and economic identity. This lecture presents the rich historical heritage of a significant body of regional art—particularly painting and prints—that was inspired by an important industry considered over a vast region. Historical artists portrayed the extractive industries that meant jobs and profits, while contemporary artists are more concerned with the vexed legacies of altered landscapes, environmental degradation, and public-health challenges.
This program is cohosted by Friends of the Florence Community Library. This is an in-person event.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Betsy Fahlman is Professor of Art History at Arizona State University, where she has taught since 1988. She is also Adjunct Curator of American Art at the Phoenix Art Museum. Fahlman has been on the roster of the Speakers Bureau since 1992. A specialist in American art history, she has particular interest the historical art of Arizona, the subject of most of her talks for Arizona Humanities. Her books include New Deal Art in Arizona (2009) and Landscapes of Extraction: The Art of Mining in the American West (forthcoming November 2021).