Hard Twist: Western Ranch Women
January 30 @ 10:00 am - April 25 @ 5:00 pmMuseum admission
Hard Twist: Western Ranch Women is a traveling exhibition on loan to the Eiteljorg from the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas. It features 62 striking black-and-white photographs by renowned photographer Barbara Van Cleve of a group of ranch women who work around cattle and horses and compete in rodeos. Part of the Eiteljorg’s 2020-21 theme of Honoring Women, the exhibition is included with regular museum admission.
Van Cleve, a Montana rancher who grew up with firsthand experience of cowgirl life, pursued a second career in documentary photography after retiring from a career in academia. Her photographs counter the stereotype that all ranchers and ranchhands are men. Van Cleve is an honoree of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the same institution that organized the photography exhibition.
The Hard Twist: Western Ranch Women exhibition includes photographs of and objects belonging to four other National Cowgirl Museum honorees. Ruby Gobble and Gretchen Sammis worked the Chase Ranch in New Mexico together for almost 50 years, with Gretchen as owner and Ruby as foreman, and both were accomplished horsewomen. Fern Sawyer, a rancher and champion cutting-horse rider, was a rodeo executive known for her flamboyant wardrobe, including custom boots in a rainbow of colors and styles. Jan Youren was a world champion bareback bronc and bull rider whose rodeo career lasted more than 50 years. They are featured in Van Cleve’s photographs in the exhibition, as are 25 other ranch women. Van Cleve published her photographs in a book, also titled Hard Twist: Western Ranch Women.