This article outlines a collaborative, community-based project developed for two undergraduate art history courses at a large state university. The exercise focused on Frederic Remington’s 1894-95 sculpture, the Bronco Buster, a large bronze image of a cowboy whipping a bucking bronco with the goal of taming it. An enlarged replica of Remington’s sculpture was installed recently in the downtown district of this university town, raising questions about how it was selected and funded, as well as what message the sculpture sent about the town to its visitors. As we discussed our frustration with both the iconography and the selection process of the Bronco Buster, we wondered if we could translate it into powerful learning experiences for our art history students, tying their real-world, local experiences to the critical skills and historical knowledge that we teach in the classroom. In this essay, we describe and evaluate the semester-long collaborative learning experience that we designed and implemented. We discuss engaged scholarship and community interaction, consider the relevance of art history to contemporary life and politics, confront the pedagogical challenges posed by regionally, politically, and racially diverse student bodies, and generate a model for others invested in the connections between academic and everyday life.
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Borland, Jennifer and Louise Siddons. 2018. "Yay or Neigh? Frederic Remington’s Bronco Buster, Public Art, and Socially-Engaged Art History Pedagogy." Art History Pedagogy & Practice 3, (1). https://academicworks.cuny.edu/ahpp/vol3/iss1/5