A decade ago, Jackson Hole’s art scene was almost exclusively dedicated to western and wildlife art. And while it was some of the best wildlife and western artists in the world, it didn’t make for the most exciting gallery hopping. Today though, we’re still known for being home to the National Museum of Wildlife Art—which is very much worth a visit—but our gallery scene has expanded greatly. The third Thursday of (most) every month, the Jackson Hole Gallery Association and its 26 member galleries throw open their doors for a community-wide art walk that highlights our new diversity. Galleries stay open late, often offer drinks and light refreshments, and sometimes schedule exhibit openings and artists-in-residence to coincide with the event. From Altamira’s stable of contemporary western artists to Heather James’s eclectic mix of photography, impressionist paintings, and inspired mix media works, here are my picks for galleries you shouldn’t miss.
From LA-based sculptor Gwynn Murrill, whose work is in the L.A. County Museum of Art, to an object-oriented artist with pieces in the collection of AmanResorts (Kate Hunt), to an American mixed-media artist inspired by NASA photographs of space (Monica Petty Aiello), Diehl Gallery represents some of the most intriguing artists of any area gallery.
When it opened on Jackson’s Town Square in the early 1960s, Trailside Gallery was the first art gallery in the area. Today it has branches here and in Scottsdale, includes many of the country’s most prominent western and wildlife artists on its roster, and co-organizes the annual Jackson Hole Art Auction with Sante Fe’s Gerald Peters Gallery.
While some area galleries went fully contemporary, Altamira instead chose to meet in the middle. If you’re a fan of contemporary western art, Altamira’s stable of artists—Jared Sanders, R. Tom Gilleon, Steve Kestrel (who won the 2013 Prix de West Purchase Award), Glenn Dean, Travis Walker, and David Grossmann, among others—is unparalleled in the valley.
Heather James Fine Art
Heather James Fine Art hangs photography by Danny Singer and mixed media by Rocky Hawkins alongside Impressionist painters like Monet and Van Gogh. American artists, including Bierstadt, Rockwell, and Grandma Moses, can be found here as well as Modern/Post-War notables Calder and Warhol, plus you can view contemporary artists Hirst and Koons.
Tayloe Piggott Gallery
Tayloe Piggott Gallery hangs some of the most thought-provoking contemporary work of any gallery in the valley, including Robert Motherwell, Paul Villinski, and Tadaaki Kuwayama, but what really makes it stand out is founder Piggott’s eye for jewelry. Rumor is that Justin Timberlake got a ring for Jessica Biel here.