Conceptual Curating

Work by internationally acclaimed artists Jordan Eagles and Kiki Smith preside in Camille Obering’s living room.


Story By
Meg Daly
Independent curators Matthew Day Jackson, Andy Kincaid and Camille Obering have teamed up to produce multi-genre, site-specific installations and performances that are changing the landscape of contemporary art in Jackson Hole, putting it on the map for cutting-edge art.

Recent exhibitions, such as “Rural Violence” and “Observatories,” challenged audiences with new ways of looking at the West. For instance, an installation in “Observatories,” by the venerable contemporary artist Paul McCarthy, called into question our fascination with gory stagecoach fights and Old West violence.

Andy Kincaid transformed his rented home into a contemporary art gallery. Featured here: work by Dennis Witkin. holidayforever.org

With their abiding passion for conceptual art, how do these non-traditionalists approach curating their own art collections? How does Western topography intersect with their personal artistic tastes?

Kincaid, an artist himself, has transformed his home into an art gallery called Holiday Forever. The name is a play on the notion of Jackson Hole as a perpetual playground. Each month, he and his partner, Amanda Flosbach, turn over the front two rooms of their rented Cache Street home to visiting artists to do with as they see fit. Often, Kincaid does not know in advance what his guests will be exhibiting. “I allow the gallery to be a vessel for artists’ concepts,” he says.

Making his home into a rotating door for contemporary thought could be considered an art project in itself. The transience of the art and perpetual transformation of the space mean his home is always infused with new and diverse ideas.

All three curators agree that art can give your life context and broaden the way you experience the world. “Art is a way to talk about history,” Obering says. “It can say something about a particular period in your life, as well as the world at large.”

As a fine art dealer, Obering’s doctrine for her personal art collection mirrors that of her other projects. “The crux of what we’re trying to do is collect ideas and people,” she says of her work with Kincaid and Jackson. Her home in Schofield Patent, which she shares with her husband, Ben Musser, and their two young children, boasts work by notable contemporary artists such as Jordan Eagles, Tara Donovan and Kiki Smith.

Large works by legendary performance and installation artist Chris Burden (left) and Larry Bamburg (right) at Matthew Day Jackson’s Fall Creek home.
Obering says the artwork in her home converses with nature. “And Western life is always in this conversation,” she says. Large picture windows look north toward the Tetons and invite the outside world inside. A print by Neil Jenney punctuates the living room: “Art is nature adjusted,” it reads.

Like his cohorts, Jackson is drawn to art that asks question and conveys concepts. “An artwork is like a battery that carries ideas,” he says. An internationally respected contemporary artist, he makes his home in Wilson with his wife, Laura Seymour, and their two children. Among other achievements, he has exhibited in the Whitney Biennial, and his work is included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Tara Donovan’s button sculpture at Obering’s home.

Jackson sees his relationship with pieces of art like relationships with people. “When you are drawn to a piece of art, there might be an aspect of yourself represented there.”

All three curators collect work by the artists they bring to town. It may not always be harmonious with traditional mountain-town aesthetics, but that’s not the point, they say. Instead, the team feels strongly that avant-garde views are a vital part of Jackson Hole. “It’s an energy we are trying to prolong here,” Kincaid says.