Westward - The Course of Empire

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Mark Ruwedel, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific #30, from the series Westward the Course of Empire, 2005
Mark Ruwedel, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific #30, from the series Westward the Course of Empire, 2005
Mark Ruwedel: Westward the Course of Empire

Overland to California: Commemorating the Transcontinental Railroad

March 21, 2019 – September 8, 2019

Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, the California Historical Society presents two concurrent exhibitions: Mark Ruwedel: Westward the Course of Empire and Overland to California: Commemorating the Transcontinental Railroad.

Mark Ruwedel: Westward the Course of Empire

In his series Westward the Course of Empire (1994–2008), photographer Mark Ruwedel (born 1954) documents the physical traces of abandoned or never completed railroads throughout the American and Canadian West. Built in the name of progress as early as one hundred and fifty years ago, these now defunct rail lines are marked by visible alterations to the landscape. Ruwedel catalogues eroding cuts, disconnected wooden trestles, decaying tunnels, and lonely water towers in quietly powerful images that point to the contest between technology and the natural world. Using a large-format view camera, Ruwedel treads the same territory as nineteenth century survey photographers, but his contemporary perspective brings a sense of loss to landscapes once viewed as exploitable resources.

Overland to California: Commemorating the Transcontinental Railroad

Overland to California draws from the California Historical Society's vast archival and photographic collections to consider the railroad's impact on the industry and culture of California. Featuring photographs, stereocards, historical objects, and ephemera, this exhibition explores how rail access to California contributed not only to population growth and industrial development, but also to the construction of the state's enduring mythology as a tourist destination and land of opportunity. Overland to California will also examine the railroad's complex labor history, taking into consideration the immigrant populations who built its infrastructure, as well as the scandals surrounding the monopolistic practices of the so-called "Big Four": Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins.

ONGOING EXHIBITIONS

Art of the West Exhibition

http://theautry.org/
The Autry in Griffith Park
4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles
Free to California Historical Society Members

Visit the California Historical Society Gallery at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. The CHS Gallery is part of the permanent exhibition Art of the West , which showcases the dynamic and evolving world of art that springs from the cultural practices of some of the many peoples who have shaped the American West. The CHS Gallery features selections from CHS's fine arts and costumes collections that are permanently housed at the Autry. This collaboration has assured the exhibition and conservation of significant works of art from the CHS Collection by some of America's best known nineteenth and early twentieth-century artists (including Albert Bierstadt, James Walker, and Maynard Dixon) as well as turn-of-the-nineteenth-century costumes. The Art of the West exhibition is the first of its kind to explore how shared values and interests have inspired artists from different cultures and times to create distinctive, powerful works that speak to their experience of the West as both a destination and a home.

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