Denver Art Museum to Unveil Artist-Centric American Indian Galleries

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Denver Art Museum to Unveil Artist-Centric American Indian Galleries
This hand painted jar by artist Maria Martinez is part of a visitors’ favorite exhibition of the artist’s work on view through June 13 at the DAM. Maria Martinez and Julian Martinez, San Ildefonso, Jar, c.1918-20. Clay and paint. Denver Art Museum, Native Arts acquisition funds.

DENVER, CO.- Building on the approach the Denver Art Museum (DAM) pioneered in 1925, when it became the first American museum to collect Native American objects as art rather than artifacts, this summer the museum will begin the renovation and complete reinstallation of its American Indian and Northwest Coast art galleries to place an expanded focus on individual artists, their creations, and inspirations. 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, displayed in a 23,000 square foot gallery on the third level of the North Building.

The American Indian presentation initially installed in 1988 will be open to the public through June 13, and will reopen with new interactive, artist-centric displays in early 2011. The transformed galleries will host approximately 600 artworks including current visitor favorites and hundreds of additional American Indian pieces to fall in love with.

“Every artwork in our 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 plan 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.”

DAM’s American Indian art gallery renovation project will take place in three distinct phases. Immediately following gallery closure on June 13, the museum will de-install art and begin construction and renovation, including the installation of new windows. The second phase will include the redesign of gallery spaces – DAM members will have a special opportunity to see the project progress and watch art conservators prepare new pieces for the upcoming presentation. The final phase will be a public reopening celebration in the first quarter of 2011.

Members and visitors are encouraged to come and visit their favorite American Indian artworks through mid-June, including the Lakota Sioux tipi, made of hand painted canvas, as well as the hand woven rugs and DAM’s Maria Martinez pottery collection.

“Our American Indian art collection is one of the best in the world, and we’re incredibly excited to be giving our visitors an updated space and exciting new look at these artworks and artists,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “Don’t miss the chance to see these beautiful pieces before you have to pick new favorites.”

Denver Art Museum | Nancy Blomberg | Native American Objects |

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