San Antonio museum saddles up for new photo exhibit honoring the West's modern cowboys
A major San Antonio is saddling up for an intimate look at the modern American cowboy lifestyle through the lens of acclaimed photographer Anouk Masson Krantz.
Her new exhibition, "American Cowboys," opens September 29 at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, showcasing stunning black-and-white images that reveal the enduring culture of the ranching families and rodeo communities.
The exhibition promises a behind-the-scenes look at the less-urban world surrounding San Antonio and other Texas locales. Featuring over 100 stunning photographs, Krantz's lens provides a contemporary homage to cowboy culture across the frontier.
Raised in France but now based in New York City, Krantz has traveled across America to photograph the daily lives and enduring culture of today's cowboys and cowgirls. Her subjects are ranchers, tight-knit rodeo crowds, and the virtues of the Western lifestyle that remain remarkably unchanged for more than 150 years.
Her being raised outside of America is important for connecting mythology — what she learned in France as tropes — to reality. Many San Antonians have become used to knowing ranchers and equestrians, but the French photographer's images provide an inspiring and fresh outside view into the enduring pioneering spirit of the West..
"Krantz's intimate portraits and stunning panoramas showcase the life of today's cowboys and ranchers — and vividly prove that what she'd heard of, and we all think of as the Western life, is alive and thriving," says Briscoe president and CEO Liz Jackson.
Selected images on Krantz’s website feature a cowboy on horseback tipping his hat in a timeless, polite gesture, framed surprisingly through a car window as if glimpsed across eras. Another photo depicts women seated around a vintage car, chatting with one another. Juxtaposing classic cowboy iconography with candid moments of connection, the photos reveal the photographer's fascination with both pervasive myths and ephemeral glimpses of Western American life.
"Although long admired for their strength, relentless work ethic and humble values, the American Cowboy is more than a myth.” Jackson remarks.
Guests can anticipate hearing unique insights directly from the acclaimed French photographer herself during an exclusive tour, as she shares details about capturing the authentic daily lives of humble, yet virtuous cowboys and their families. Visitors can also keep exploring the Briscoe's Western offerings, which have long been a defining part of the museum's curatorial style.
"The exhibition pairs well with our permanent collection where visitors can see both historical and contemporary art, tools of the cowboy trade, and artifacts of the West," says Jackson.
Krantz's critically acclaimed photography offers an inspiring and fresh view into the enduring pioneering spirit of the West. Fans will also have the opportunity to take home a signed copy of Krantz's latest art book Ranchland: Wagonhound, which won the 2023 Western Heritage Award.
"American Cowboys" will be on display at the Briscoe Western Art Museum from September 29, 2023, to January 22, 2024. Tickets ($14, plus discounts for children, seniors, military, and students) to the Briscoe are available at briscoemuseum.org.