TAG: pre-Columbian art

Event: Lectures & Programs

Where There's Smoke, There's Fire: In Search of Volcanos in Ancient Maya Art

with Lucia Henderson 
Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 1:30pm3:00pm.

Although the highlands of Guatemala are home to one of the most active volcanic chains in the world, Maya scholars had not, until very recently, identified volcanos in the ancient art of the region.

This talk discusses the imagery of volcanos, their sometimes surprising forms and the ideological beliefs that made them so important to the ancient Maya living in this region.

Tickets are free for Alianza members and students with ID, $5 for DAM members, and $10 for others. More

Students learning about art of the ancient Maya during a field trip at the Denver Art Museum
Field Trip

The Ancient Maya

Grades 4-12

Students step into the world of Maya art and culture through fun activities and touchable art objects related to the sculpture, pottery, and jade in the museum’s diverse collection.

Students learning about the art of Mexico during a field trip at the Denver Art Museum
Field Trip


Ancient Maya, Spanish Colonial & Southwest Colorado
Grades 4–8

Students experience the art and culture of Mexico through powerful objects from Pre-Columbian times to the present on this discovery-oriented, multi-sensory tour.

Photograph of artist Carlos Frésquez with his artwork in the background.
Event: Artists & Studios

Insider Moment with Carlos Frésquez

Friday, July 22, 2016 - 5:30pm6:00pm.

Join artist Carlos Frésquez for an off-the-cuff chat about his installation for Cuatro [4]: A Series of Artist Interactions. We’ll go wherever the conversation takes us! More

Vase with bird-headed dancers, Maya, about A.D. 600–900, Guatemala, northern Petén.
Event: Lectures & Programs

Conversation with Curator: Grand Gestures

Friday, May 6, 2016 - 4:00pm4:45pm.

Jesse Ortega and Julie Wilson Frick will discuss the importance of dance in the pre-Columbian world using objects from the exhibition, Grand Gestures: Dance, Drama, Masquerade. More

Pre-Columbian ceramic figure
Blog: Behind the Scenes

DAM Pre-Columbian Curator Assists MSU Denver Student

What Did Ancient Costa Ricans Look Like? 

When scientists in Costa Rica wanted to put a "face" to a 2,500-year-old skull, they needed a forensic artist. The forensic artist needed representations of what women of the time looked like. She came to the DAM. More

Event: Lectures & Programs

Water, Politics and Power on Peru's North Coast

With Michele Koons
Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 2:30pm4:30pm.

This presentation will explore the politics and power of the Moche archaeological culture of the North Coast of Peru through an examination of the organization of their irrigation systems. In the dry desert of Northern Peru, good water management was a matter of life or death. More

Dancing Maize God Tripod Plate

Grand Gestures

Dance, Drama, Masquerade
On View through August 1, 2017

Pre-Columbian art is full of human and supernatural figures in dramatic poses. This installation of 29 objects presents a cross-cultural selection of works from the DAM's extensive collection. More

Event: Lectures (old category)

All that Glitters: Style and Status at Chichen Itza

Sunday, September 20, 2015 - 2:30pm3:45pm.

Dr. Annabeth Headrick will discuss Chichen Itza, with special focus on the Temple of the Warriors. Through the art of the temple, she will show how international trade exploded and elevated the status of the warriors who went in search of ever more exotic goods.

Doors open at 2 pm.

Free for Alianza members free; $5 DAM members; $10 others. Students with ID free.

Sponsored by Alianza de las Artes Americanas, a DAM support group. More

Conversation with Curator: Sacred Geography–The Gateway Tunic
Event: Tours

Conversation with Curator: Sacred Geography–The Gateway Tunic

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 4:00pm4:45pm.

The Tiwanaku civilization of ancient Bolivia is famous for massive architecture and monumental stone sculpture. This installation features a magnificent tapestry tunic patterned with a Tiwanaku cosmogram. Curator Margaret Young-Sánchez provides insight into its context, creation, and meaning.

Conversations with Curators feature lively discussions with different curators on the first Friday of the month. All Conversations are free with general admission and no reservations are needed.

Meet at 4 pm in the elevator lobby of level 4 of the North Building. More

Event: Lectures (old category)

The Original Performance Piece: Tomb Figures of Western Mexico

with Christopher Beekman
Sunday, March 15, 2015 - 2:30pm4:30pm.

Anthropomorphic ceramic figures have been looted from shaft and chamber tombs in western Mexico for well over a century, and literally thousands of them exist today in museum collections, not to mention those in the hands of private collectors. The very small number of examples excavated by archeologists remains a problem for any serious understanding of their significance. More

Event: Lectures (old category)

A Grand Adventure along the 73rd Meridian

with Mary Lanius
Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 2:30pm4:00pm.

A leather-bound journal from 1911 was found in an old trunk in a Denver basement. Written by a college undergraduate, the youngest member of the 1911 Yale Peruvian Expedition, this journal describes the challenges of exploration and the vagaries that led this young man to be the first American to survey and map the site now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Center—Machu Picchu.

Speaker Mary Lanius, Professor Emeritus of Art History at University of Denver, will discuss the adventures of that young man, who also was her father. More

Event: Lectures (old category)

Behind the Scenes: Creating Royal Cities of the Ancient Maya

with photographer Barry Brukoff
Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 2:30pm4:00pm.

A feast for the eye and mind, photographer Barry Brukoff’s award-winning Royal Cities of the Ancient Maya (written with co-author Michael Coe) presents a visual and archaeological overview of Maya civilization. Brukoff will detail the behind-the-scenes creation of his magnificent photographs which recall the spirit of Frederick Catherwood, who first drew the ruins in the 1840s.

A book signing will follow the lecture.

Purchase tickets at the door. Free for Alianza members, $5 DAM members, $3 students, $10 others. More

A Middle Place: Casas Grandes and the Pueblo World
Event: Lectures (old category)

A Middle Place: Casas Grandes and the Pueblo World

Speaker Tim Maxwell, PhD - Director Emeritus, Museum of New Mexico, Office of Archaeological Studies
Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 2:30pm4:00pm.

After over a half-century of study, Casas Grandes or Paquimé, in northern Chihuahua, Mexico, remains an enigmatic center of art and architecture. It shows influence from advanced Mesoamerican societies to the south yet it could be part of the Pueblo world of the U.S. Southwest. Was it a link between the two regions? It shows evidence of Mesoamerican influence in art and architecture and has adobe apartments similar to Southwest Pueblos. More