Fall In Love With Art At Two National Museum of Wildlife Art Events

In search of the perfect pre- and post-Valentine’s evenings out? Just mix art, atmosphere, music, and dining TONIGHT and next week at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. What’s not to love? Event details are below:

LION BEFORE STORM II © Nick Brandt, 2012, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York

LION BEFORE STORM II © Nick Brandt, 2012, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York

Mix’d Media This Evening!

Locals and visitors alike will enjoy an African safari experience in the heart of Jackson Hole with the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s February 13 installment of its popular second-Thursday-of-the-month evening Mix’d Media event. In addition to the opportunity to view the stunning, spare photographs of “Elegy: The African Photography of Nick Brandt 2001-2008” exhibition, which serves as a theme for the event, guests can dine and sip on East African-inspired food and gin and tonics – and try their hand at snipping cut paper silhouettes as the evening’s hands-on art activity. Screen Door Porch will provide live music accompaniment to the festivities. The event takes place from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, February 13 at the museum. Cover charge is $5 for non-members, free for museum members.

The Mix’d Media event also provides the opportunity for attendees to preview the entries in Trophy Art: Fun Forms for All, all of which goes up for sale on a first-come, first-serve basis on February 22. We had a chance to view a selection of these new takes on traditional animal mounts ourselves. As no animals were harmed in their creation, the entries bridge a whimsical gap between representation and artistic interpretation. From a majestic moose antler taking flight in new form to a delicately hand-painted plaster skull, the trophies would all provide delightful additions to a residential or office wall.

“Deer Skull with Lily” by Jane Lavino is one of the mounts available for sale at the Trophy Art fundraiser.

“Deer Skull with Lily” by Jane Lavino is one of the mounts available for sale at the Trophy Art fundraiser.

Marvel at the selected trophies yourself:

With the tongue-in-cheek tagline “No animals died in the making of these mounts,” the National Museum of Wildlife Art will offer the public an opportunity to purchase unique wildlife-inspired “trophy art,” as well as learn how to decorate using the faux mounts and perhaps create their own “shed antler art” home furnishings from found pieces.

The museum’s new Trophy Art: Fun Forms for All fundraiser takes place February 22 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. with expert talks by interior designer Christy Fox, owner of Wilson Formal in Wilson, and artisan Kyle Anderson of Game Trail Gatherings in Jackson. To add to the fun, a hands-on art activity will be provided, and pizza by Caldera and desserts from Persephone Bakery will be available for tasting. Admission to the event is free and includes access to the Wapiti Gallery, Rising Sage Café and the Museum Shop (regular museum admission will be charged for entry to the rest of the museum galleries).

Having some fun with the misconception of some museum visitors that it displays wildlife taxidermy, the National Museum of Wildlife Art conceived its new Trophy Art fundraiser, soliciting wildlife trophy-inspired artworks from national, Jackson Hole area and even amateur artists. The works will be on display at the museum February 12 – March 15, and are available for sale on a first come, first served basis, beginning at the February 22 event. Proceeds benefit the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s youth education programs.

The schedule of events for the February 22 Trophy Art: Fun Forms for All, to be held in the museum’s Wapiti Gallery, is as follows:

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Christy Fox, owner of Wilson Formal, a shop specializing in art and home design, will answer questions and talk with visitors individually on the topic of “Bringing Wildlife Home – Design with Trophy Art.” Fox is known for her expertise in integrating art, conservation and a deep connection to the Jackson Hole region into her interior and artistic designs.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Grown-ups get to channel their inner child with an art activity that allows them to create their own mini-mounts, using multiple mediums for a take-home “trophy.”

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Kyle Anderson of Game Trail Gatherings will demonstrate how he creates “truly unique home furnishings that transcend the ordinary experience,” using raw materials collected from the wild. Anderson will bring examples of both local and exotic “shed antler art” for his creations.

A member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Museums West consortium and accredited by the American Association of Museums, the museum, officially designated the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States by an act of Congress in 2008, provides an exciting calendar of exhibitions from its permanent collection and changing exhibitions from around the globe. A complete schedule of exhibitions and events is available online at www.wildlifeart.org. The museum is also active on Facebook and on Twitter at @WildlifeArtJH.

Modern Living the Dynia Way

A Canvas for LivingDuring Homestead Magazine’s Showcase of Homes, many patrons had the same response to one of the residences—a modernist masterwork located on Gros Ventre Butte. As they sauntered through the wide, airy rooms with chestnut-hued cement floors and black steel accents, they blurted out, “I could live in this house!”

But why had the sentiment taken them by surprise?

We sat down for a chat with Stephen Dynia of Stephen Dynia Architects to discuss his history of pushing the design envelope in Jackson Hole, and how the “surprise” of modern architecture may actually exist in its perfect harmony with our landscape.

Stephen Dynia’s work is well-known throughout Jackson Hole. Chances are, if you’ve encountered a spare, clean construction with light truss work and sparkling glass, you’ve come across a home or commercial space with the Dynia stamp. Notably, the firm designed the local Center for the Arts building, which opened in 2004, as well as multiple other buildings in the valley. Dynia himself surveys the town from what he affectionately dubs his “plateau”: an unexpected mixed-use development reached by veering up the bluff right after the 89/22 Junction. There, Stephen Dynia Architects works from an open, multi-level structure, and a series of metal-sided work/live spaces next door beckon with glass entries and bright doors.

Innovative AnglesIt’s true that modern architectural work such as this plateau and the showcased Gros Ventre residence often stand out in a sea of traditionally “western” homes, including the nouveau lodge aesthetic favored by homeowners who build to impress. However, Dynia’s take is that much of this architecture is “based on a romance with something that doesn’t quite exist in this time.” He points out that the original log buildings of this valley were built within the constraints of the materials available, and were intended to keep the environment out, rather than let it in. If current Jackson Hole home ownership is all about views, then homesteader values were about warmth, protection, and barricades from snowdrifts and curious wildlife.

Dynia considers newer homes built in the log tradition to be theatrical—theirs is a style that swerves away from the path of history and the actual materials of modern building. In his own design work, he “tries to transcend something that is merely stylistic” to find a more contemporaneous mode of expression.

“My mission is that architecture should be relevant to the era that it’s built in.”

A Site to BeholdDynia strives to make history with his designs, rather than invoke nostalgia for a vanished place and time. To this end, his firm is rigorous about relating every structure to its place, and thereby interpreting the place via architectural elements.

Dynia’s is a design philosophy hewn among the soaring glass and steel structures of New York City, where he got his start at a large firm that specialized in a corporate Modernist aesthetic. These are buildings that, in the truest interpretation of Modernism, are “consistent with [their] method of construction.” Once transplanted to Jackson Hole, Dynia sought out the trace of a Mies van der Rohe-designed home at the Snake River Ranch, a mostly-scrapped project that nevertheless represented the first U.S. design by the modern architecture giant during the 1930’s. In this Dynia saw encouragement–Jackson Hole had already begun incubating the cosmopolitan leanings that could lead to an embrace of modern style.Detail

In conversation, Dynia references other notable architects who have added immeasurably to the recognizable architecture of the valley. Mentioning the Teton County Library and Mad River’s flagship headquarters south of Jackson, he is the first to acknowledge that the wave of modern building is multifarious. Rather than limit building concepts to “abide by look rather than experience,” the unique qualities of our valley require “the freedom of a more expressive building form.”

For Dynia’s firm–particularly in regards to local residences–this experience begins in the sequence of how one enters a home. He likes adding drama to this approach by at first denying expansive views, only to re-introduce them. This sudden reveal draws a gasp and a significant pause. In moments like these, we are truly inside a space—participating in its interaction with a setting. Hallways and stairwells opening to glimpses of sweeping Gros Ventre views surely contributed to the same alchemy during Homestead’s Showcase.

In these award-winning 28x28x28 cubes in downtown Jackson, three levels of living culminate in 360 degree views from the uppermost roof deck. Eschewing the urge to build outwards, these cubes interpret “ how you can live in a place differently” and “literally heighten the experience of landscape” as you climb up to see the whole valley laid below you.

In these award-winning 28x28x28 cubes in downtown Jackson, three levels of living culminate in 360 degree views from the uppermost roof deck. Eschewing the urge to build outwards, these cubes interpret“ how you can live in a place differently” and “literally heighten the experience of landscape” as you climb up to see the whole valley laid below you.

Dynia speculates that our occasional resistance to the stripped down and simplified lines of modern building wells from discomfort. “Psychologically, people are afraid of simplicity.” At the same time, the more restrained the space in its embellishments, the more soothing and reflective it becomes. The clean, uncluttered architectural canvas asks to be completed by the personality of its residents, while more “fluid and sculptural” lines imbue the home with a sense of serenity.

“My work always incorporates somes kind of innovation and inspiration from nature,” Dynia says. He plays with elements like light to mimic the act of walking in the woods, and is always seeking new ways to pay homage to the texture of a landscape.

Dynia Architects currently splits its efforts between Jackson Hole and a number of exciting projects in Denver. Recently, a former truck terminal-turned-urban-office-hotspot known as Drive earned the firm a prestigious AIA Award. These new projects indulge Dynia’s long-held passion for contributing to the culture of community, just as in his home designs, he favors open, centralized spaces that corral loved ones together to bolster the attendant “culture of a family.” In the firm’s sustainable new projects, the existing infrastructure (truck terminals and iron foundries) are recycled into energetic community spaces that are meant to bridge our contemporary mode of detachment living—i.e. live in one zone, work and play in another. To this end, Drive, and the under-construction Drive 2 all contain a shared conference room or lounge, with garage-style doors on every floor that dispel separation from the outdoors with a simple lift upwards.Roof Garden 022

This vision is the same one Dynia has for Jackson, which has been his design laboratory for decades. “Do you want a town that simply preserves itself?” Dynia asks. Of course, his answer is a resounding “No.” Rather, he is encouraged by the current balance being struck in downtown Jackson between conservation and human habitation. In his opinion, the “town is getting healthier” as it continues to embrace mixed use zoning and greater urban-style density. This is the modus operandi behind his own work-live zone on the “plateau.”

So, back to the reactions of those Showcase attendees. Surprise, Dynia thinks, is a hallmark of what his firm is doing here. Viewers will always react to light and the experience of a space, and Dynia’s architecture is intended to capitalize on just that. The austere lines of a modern home may intimidate from the curb, but once inside, an unexpected warmth and peace take hold. In sum, “leadership in design is about leading.” It is about creating bold, benchmark projects and presenting new modes of lived experience, whether in the great room of a home or in the lobby of the Center for the Arts, a glass-framed Snow King beyond.

That surprise is, in fact, “the story of my time here. That’s the payoff.”

Hotel Terra Gets Local

 

+ Story by Jennifer Dorsey

+ Photography by Latham Jenkins

 

With two national parks in the Jackson Hole area, wildlife and ranch animal themes naturally crop up in local art collections. Even so, the Nine Francois photos at Hotel Terra prompt a double take.

Wielding a wide-angle lens, the Texas-based photographer scoots in super-close to her subjects and snaps them from oddly intimate angles. Later, she strips surrounding details from the image until just the animal—be it deer, elk or bison—remains.

“For the viewer, there’s a sense of play, an intimacy in the photos,” says Francois, whose work can be found in Jackson at RARE Gallery. “The plain background lets you concentrate on how beautiful the forms are.”

It’s not surprising that animal photographs with a twist would hang at Hotel Terra. The property’s entire decorative scheme plays on the idea of the unexpected: Materials and shapes associated with Jackson Hole’s rustic side come together in a way that’s sophisticated and contemporary, an apt description of the valley as a whole.
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