Monday, July 18, 2011

Denver Art Museum Brings Artists’ Voices to the Forefront

Live Artists and Interactives on New American Indian Floor

"Untitled" , © c. 1968 Norval Morrisseau
~ Collection of Denver Art Museum; Native Arts acquisition funds
/Click on image to Enlarge/ --

Denver, ColoradoBuilding on the approach the Denver Art Museum (DAM) pioneered in 1925, when it became one of the first American museums to collect Native American objects as art rather than artifacts, the museum completed artist-focused renovation and total reinstallation of its American Indian art galleries.

Taking a new lens to the museum’s largest collection - and one of the world’s finest collections of American Indian art - the new presentation will shine a spotlight on individual artists, with a focus on their creations and inspirations, and on how they both reflect and shape their evolving cultures. Visitors will have an active experience with the art through hands-on activities, digital interpretives, media installations and live artmaking. Challenging long-held stereotypes about what is (and isn’t) American Indian art, DAM’s new galleries will encourage visitors to expand their definitions and expectations of this genre.

Every artwork in DAM's collection was created by an individual artist, with his or her own opinions, influences and inspirations, said Nancy Blomberg, curator of the DAM’s Native Arts collections and the leader of this project. This exciting new presentation will highlight the artist’s hand, and give visitors the opportunity to watch artists at work and evaluate their own perceptions of American Indian art.

Today, the DAM holds one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of American Indian art, including 18,000 artworks ranging from prehistoric to contemporary, the new selection will be displayed in a 23,000-square-foot gallery on level three of the North Building. The American Indian galleries reopened to the public on January 30, 2011. The transformed galleries is hosting approximately 700 artworks, including current visitor favorites and hundreds of additional American Indian pieces never before on view at the museum.

The new galleries will create a dynamic experience around the exploration of artists and their work. Live artist talks and demonstrations, interactive technology elements, videos and hands-on activity areas immerse visitors in the artistic process and inspiration behind many pieces, and also challenge audiences to question their own ideas about American Indian art. The galleries will be divided into nine regional areas that allow focus on specific artists and art forms.

DAM's American Indian art collection is one of the best in the world, and we’re incredibly excited to be giving our visitors a new perspective on Native American art and artists, said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. The new galleries are an entire experience of American Indian art, developed to show off this beautiful collection and discover the individuals behind the artworks, and also to enable our visitors to watch living artists at work and explore their own creativity.

Among the new artworks on view will be a number of pieces commissioned or purchased for the new galleries, including: Land O Bucks, Land O Fakes, Land O Lakes by David Bradley, Chippewa; Hummingbird and Copper Dress by Dorothy Grant, Haida; Corn Blue Room by Jolene Rickard, Tuscarora; Modern Warrior Series: War Shirt #4 by Bently Spang, Cheyenne; and Mud Woman Rolls On by Roxanne Swentzell, Santa Clara.

Roxanne Swentzell will create her commissioned artwork, Mud Woman Rolls On, in public view in the American Indian galleries, continuing through August of 2011. The large, 10-foot sculpture will depict a Pueblo mother and her four children. Visitors will be able to see the work in progress and interact with the artist and her team throughout the nine-month process.

The DAM will host an array of engaging programs to highlight the renowned American Indian collections throughout 2011. For the most up-to-date information, visit


Source: Denver Art Museum @

* The acrylic painting on  paper in this post: "Untitled" , © c. 1968 Norval Morrisseau; Collection of Denver Art Museum (DAM) - Denver, Colorado; Native Arts acquisition funds; Acquired from Bockley Gallery , Minneapolis, Minnesota; Click HERE to view this genuine Norval Morrisseau's artwork while being exhibited at Bockley Gallery prior to becoming a permanent part of Denver Art Museum's Collection. 

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