Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More wild horses

Last month we posted on the history of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The always-interesting Gallery section in this month's Environmental History has more: "Leisl Carr Childers on The Gus Bundy Photographs and The Wild Horse Controversy".

Childers writes:
In the essay, I trace Gus Bundy's wild horse photographs from their creation as works of art in Nevada's Smoke Creek Desert in 1951 to their publication soon after in the regional press, which presented them dispassionately as illustrations of roundup work. I then follow their trail in the 1950s and 1960s as wild horse advocates read them quite differently as documentary evidence of animal cruelty and used them more than any other visual evidence to gain support for state and federal legislation protecting wild horse populations and regulating roundups. Finally, I turn back to the art world and to two 1960s gallery exhibitions to illustrate how the audience read the photographs in a radically new way from Bundy's original intention because of the path they had taken since he first printed them more than a decade before.

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