Thomas Cole’s art in ‘Queering US Landscapes’ museum.

Contributed by admin on July 6, 2021

The University of Arizona features some of the breathtaking art of Joseph Cole from the ‘Voyage Of Life’ series. It’s a beautiful oportunity for a new generation of American’s to experience incredible art made by one of the early American visionary artists who was awed by the vastness of the great American fronteer.

Thomas Cole The Voyage of Life: Manhood, 1842

Thomas Cole. The Voyage of Life: Manhood, 1842

The museum section is titled:


The curator, Professor John-Michael H. Warner, is an art historian trained in gender and women’s studies.

He explains the exhibition in the following “(the exibit) …queers an assumed racist heterosexuality integral to the wilderness paradigm and proposes changing views of U.S. landscape representations. Or, this exhibition bends gendered and racialized norms that massage heterosexism as well as breed nationhood. “Changing Views” proposes a de-mastered landscape in order to assert a queer matrix of landscape representation and land use.”

According to the website you can enjoy the art of Thomas Cole and other deceased legacy artists contextualised as emblems of American hetro-patriarchial tyranny, their deeply felt mystical artworks framed with the following questions and statements :

If the wilderness paradigm is emblematic of white-male-heterosexual power, what happens after the centuries old trope is critically viewed as a center of unquestioned white supremacy and masculine tyranny?

What if the wilderness is not configured as pristine and virginal nor sowed and reaped? What if it is dirty, messy, and will not be mastered?

What if the production of state was not bound by conquering land and people? Whether men and nations delimit boundaries and property, what if land is not a possession that can be claimed or capitalized?

“Changing Views” rethinks a landscape mastered by virile supremacists: slaveholding Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, reluctant abolitionist President Abraham Lincoln, and lacking environmentalist President Theodore Roosevelt.

Thomas Cole’s ‘Voyage of Life’ uses atmosphere and terrain as an allegory of the initiatic passages and moods to different stages of life, representing the journey of a human being from innocence into experience. Accordingly, as a white cis-male 19th century settler to the America’s, his art work fits to the curator’s modus-operandi of ‘Queering U.S Landscapes’.

With Thomas Cole’s art and pivotal inspiration to generations of landscape painters and appreciators, Professor John-Michael H. Warner & The University of Arizona invites you to question the concept of private property, the notion of nature as feminine, and to interpret the masculine activity of exploration, migration and culture-building through a lens of tyranny and oppression.

It’s a wonderful thing, thanks to this exhibition, that a new generation of people will be introduced the soulful and skillful artistic legacy of Thomas Cole.


Thomas Cole (1801-1848)

Founder of the Hudson River School of painting. Thomas Cole was born in 1801 at Bolton, Lancashire in Northwestern England and emigrated with his family to the United States in 1818. In 1825, Cole discovered the haunting beauty of the Catskill wilderness. On November 22, 1836, Thomas Cole and Maria Bartow, niece and ward of the owner of Cedar Grove, were married. Thomas Cole died at Cedar Grove on February 11th, 1848.

To learn more about the art of Thomas Cole in the artist’s own words, go here >


The et alia admin and editor team of and the Era of Visions library.

One Response to “Thomas Cole’s art in ‘Queering US Landscapes’ museum.”

  1. Sid Barrat says:

    Weird times we’re in that a museum can treat the great fine art legacy of American painting with such disrespect.

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