Photo: Lois Conner, Clouds—National Prairie Foundation, archival digital photo print, 2005, MAM Collection, gift of the artist, copyright the artist, 2009.01.08

Lois Conner: Montana Prairie

September 7 2012 - January 13 2013

MAM has once again collaborated with the Missoula Public Library in celebrating The Big Read. This year’s book selection, Willa Cather’s My Antonia, inspired MAM curators to create an exhibit about Montana’s prairies.

MAM is presenting an exhibit of Montana prairie photographs by acclaimed photographer Lois Conner in our Travel Montana Lobby. Lois Conner, a New York City-based artist, has traveled the globe with her large-format camera beautifully and skillfully capturing landscape and cityscape. An accomplished and gifted artist and scholar, Conner earned her MFA from Yale and received a Guggenheim Fellowship to photograph in China. Conner’s exhibit history is quite extensive and widespread, including venues in China, England, France, and throughout the United States. In 2005, she came to Montana with Canadian photographer Geoffrey James and photography legend Lee Friedlander to photograph the American Prairie Foundation lands adjacent to the Charles M. Russell Wild Life Refuge south of Malta. These photographs capturing the austere majesty and long, deep views of Montana’s prairie were published in the book The Wide Open, accompanying the writings of Judy Blunt, James Welch, Rick Bass, and other distinguished authors. In 2008, the Missoula Art Museum hosted an exhibition of the photographs, an exhibit that then traveled to other art institutions throughout the state. Conner generously donated the twelve photographs from The Wide Open to MAM’s Permanent Collection, a selection of which will be in the display.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.