I AM BISON is a debut art installation by Virginia-based artist Patty Swygert. The show opened at the National Buffalo Museum on Friday, November 27th, 2020 with a virtual opening reception and artist talk on December 4th.
Swygert is a conceptual and visual sculptor and fiber artist. Her installation uses paint, ink, earth pigments, soil, dyes, thread and yarn on paper, fabric, and found objects, to offer glimpses of the iconic National Mammal, from prehistory through present day. The installation features over 20 two-and three-dimensional works created by Swygert specifically for the National Buffalo Museum’s space.
Asked what inspired her about this project, Swygert said, “I love stories, especially those which feature an underdog and involve numbers. The story of the bison has both of those characteristics. From the first animals which crossed into North America from Asia, bison flourished until millions roamed the continent for perhaps millions of years before being reduced to fewer than 1,000 animals in just a few decades and then brought back from the brink of extinction.”I AM BISON was on view at the National Buffalo Museum from November 27, 2020, to November 6, 2021.
From the late 1800s to around 1920, music was a popular form of home entertainment. Before the advent of radio, film, and TV, it was a status symbol for a household to own a piano, whether or not anyone could play it. It was a common practice to display beautifully illustrated, colorful sheet music on the piano rack as part of the home décor. Music publishers soon realized a huge share of the market was interested in the covers and they hired leading artists to create colorful illustrations for the covers of sheet music. These soon were considered art forms worthy of display.
Covers depicting bison are relatively rare, but sheet music collector Yvonne McDonald assembled a collection of these pieces and graciously donated them to the Museum. We are pleased to showcase them, along with some recordings of the songs they document.