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Buckaroo -- The Photographs of Kurt Markus

March 10 - May 14, 2005


The Hockaday Museum of Art, in conjunction with The Museum at Central School, is presenting the magnificent works of photographer Kurt Markus in Buckaroo -- The Photographs of Kurt Markus from March 10 through May 14, 2005. This exhibit is the debut of Markus' work in Montana and the only other exhibition of this work in the United States since its initial showing at the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Born in Roundup, Montana in 1947, Markus began his career photographing the western landscape and cowboy life, and work in fashion and travel photography followed. (right: photographer Kurt Markus)

In this exhibit, Markus presents the legend of the buckaroo with incredible realism absent of slick mannerism. His timeless photographs explore the rugged yet romantic spirit of the cowboy. Through this significant body of work, Markus reveals an era that is all but forgotten today. In his photography, Markus documents a life style of solitude and difficulty, yet to the viewers, a sense of romance; a hard life of plain food, plain surroundings, horses, and exposure to the elements, and yet a simple life free of inherent stress. His photographic style is reminiscent of the same poetic manner that Montana cowboy artist Charles M. Russell rendered in paint and bronze at the turn of the century. Markus, a truly amazing photographer of the fashion and travel industry, is today an internationally renowned photographer.

Markus' work as a photographer is varied. His portfolio includes photographs of actors, architecture, advertising, athletes, women's fashion, men's fashion, landscapes, musicians, nudes, portraits of famous people, and travel portraits that have appeared in such magazines as InStyle, GQ, Esquire, and Outside.

Markus' work has been exhibited and published nationally and internationally. His books include After Barbed Wire, Buckaroo, Boxers and the new Cowpuncher. Today, he lives in Kalispell, Montana with his family.

When asked his idea of beauty, Markus says, "A two-page spread, either in a magazine or in a book. On one page, great writing, presented in a beautiful typeface, classically designed. On the opposite, a memorable photograph. It doesn't get any more beautiful than that." About his work, Markus says, "I have been lucky in my work. I consider it a gift to have found photography and made my life in it. If I reflect for a moment on the people I've met and the places I've been, the memory gives me both satisfaction and energy. More than ever I am eager to do the work I love."

But photography has also brought questions: "Because I live in Montana and because photography is in many respects a solitary profession, I have often felt isolated. How does such-and-such photographer feel? I've wondered. How do other photographers who I admire get up in the morning and ready themselves for picture making?" To answer these questions, Markus convinced several magazines to assign him to interview other photographers. He interviewed David Bailey, William Klein, William Clift, Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Edouard Boubat, Max Dupain, and others. He describes the benefit of these experiences in this way: "Each of these encounters has taken me out of my world long enough to be able to return to mine with renewed eyes." (right: Big Springs Ranch, Bruneau, Idaho, photograph, by Kurt Markus)

On March 10 at 1 pm, Kurt Markus will give a photography workshop and slide show at The Museum at Central School. On that evening, two ticketed opening receptions for the exhibit will be held at the Hockaday Museum of Art from 5:00 to 6:30 pm and from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. To reserve tickets, call 406-755-5268. That same evening cowboy poet Ross Knox and western musician R.W. Hampton will perform at The Museum at Central School at 7:00 pm.

Cowboy poet Ross Knox is one of the most prolific poets of our time and has set to memory well over one hundred poems. His sense of humor and unique delivery make him a sought-after addition to gatherings everywhere. R.W. Hampton is considered by many to be one of America's few remaining authentic "singing cowboys". He spent years living in remote line camps or out with the wagon and many of his most popular songs have originated from those days cowboying for a living on ranches across the West. Hampton was recently named 2004 Male Performer of the Year by the Western Music Association. A Western music industry leader for over a decade, he has eight albums and numerous industry awards to his credit including honors from the Academy of Western Artists as the Male Vocalist of the Year (1996, 1999 & 2002), Entertainer of the Year (1996), and for Album of the Year -- "Ridin' the Dreamland Range" (1997). In 2001 he was awarded the National Cowboy Hall of Fame's Wrangler Award for his album "The Last Cowboy -- His Journey".Hampton lives with his wife, Lisa, and their family on their place, the Clearview Ranch, at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains south of Cimarron, New Mexico. In between headlining across the nation at cowboy poetry gatherings and western music productions, he spends time at the ranch doing the work he loves.       

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