47106 Wildhorse Blvd., Pendleton, OR
Tamástslikt Cultural Institute Museum
“Charlie’s Yarns,” a first-person portrayal of the famed western artist, C.M. Russell, will be performed at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, 47106 Wildhorse Boulevard. The performance is by historian Raphael Cristy.
Charles M. Russell (1864-1926) lived the open-range life of a rough Montana cowboy for eleven years before attaining international acclaim as a self-taught artist.
Cristy’s lively portrayal kicks off the opening of the exhibit, “C.M. Russell: Master of Western Art,” on display at Tamástslikt from August 24 through October 27, 2012. Seating is limited to the first 80 attendees.
Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926) was many things: consummate Westerner, historian, advocate of the Northern Plains Indians, cowboy, outdoorsman, writer, philosopher, environmentalist, conservationist and artist.
He grew up sketching and drawing in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo., until he moved to Montana to live and work.
Russell came to the Judith Basin of Montana in 1880 a few days after his 16th birthday.
He greatly admired the American Indians, especially those of the Northern Plains.
He spent the summer of 1888 visiting often with the Blood Indians in Alberta, Canada.
This experience affected him for the rest of his life, and can be seen in the many detailed works he created of Plains Indians.
Charlie Russell completed approximately 4,000 works of art during his lifetime.
He was the first Western artist to live the majority of his life in the West.
Russell knew his subject matter intimately, setting the standard for many western artists to follow.
Of Russell’s storytelling, his friend, humorist/actor Will Rogers, has written, “If he had devoted the same time to writing that he had to the (paint) brush, he would have left a tremendous impression in that line. ... He was a great storyteller.
“Bret Harte, Mark Twain or any of our old traditions couldn’t paint a word picture with the originality that Charlie could ... What a public entertainer he would have made ... I never met a person yet that ever heard him that didn’t say he was the greatest storyteller they ever listened to.”
Cristy’s show explores the life and works of Russell through Russell’s own words. America’s most popular painter/sculptor of the Old West told hilarious yarns.
While telling funny stories, Russell was sharing country wisdom and social commentary that still ring true today.
Cristy’s performance presents Russell’s storytelling alongside images of his best paintings and sculptures.
Each performance of “Charlie’s Yarns” is comprised of 95 percent direct quotations from hundreds of sources, including Russell’s short stories and illustrated letters.
As he performs Russell’s words, Cristy projects color slides as stage backdrops.
Cristy, a historian with a great interest in Russell moved to Montana in 1985 to conduct more in-depth research into Russell’s life and works.
Since his first performances in 1976, Cristy has found that modern audiences enjoy the same tales that made leather-tough Montana cowboys bust out laughing 100 years ago.
Russell still is a popular folk hero in Montana’s towns where they welcome Cristy’s performances enthusiastically.
Beyond Montana, performance highlights include Pennsylvania’s Northern Appalachian Storytelling Festival, The Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., the Palm Springs Desert Arts Museum, The historic KiMo Theater in Albuquerque, N.M., the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Museum, Michael Martin Murphy’s WESTFEST, Michigan’s Kalamazoo Institute For the Arts and many universities and arts festivals.
Both Canada’s Fringe Festival in Edmonton, Alberta, and Australia’s Festival of Sydney have brought international praise for Cristy’s natural storytelling ability.
The exhibit, “C.M. Russell: Master of Western Art,” runs Aug. 24-Oct. 27 and illustrates the life of the artist as a painter and sculptor through objects from the C.M. Russell Museum’s permanent collection.
Russell’s life and career are shown through framed photos, bronze sculptures, print reproductions of Russell’s paintings and popular ephemera.
Tamástslikt is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. It is located at 47106 Wildhorse Boulevard.
For more information, call 541-966-9748 or visit www.tamastslikt.org.
For more about the C.M. Russell Museum visit cmrussell.org.