Denver Art Museum Presents Film, Painting and Collaborative Art Projects During Biennial of the Americas

Biennial theme Now! highlighted with regional community partnerships

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) announced today it will celebrate four exceptional artists during the Biennial of the Americas (Biennial) who will inspire creativity and action based on the 2015 Biennial theme, Now! Partnerships with Museo de las Americas (Museo), Clyfford Still Museum (CSM) and the Biennial will feature the works of modern Mexican master Gunther Gerzso as well as Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s film River of Fundament. A special collaboration with the Biennial and five community organizations also will highlight the artwork of mixed-media artist Francisco Alvarado-Juárez.

“The celebration of the Biennial marks the third time the Mile High City will explore the economic and cultural ideas that tie all of the Americas together,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director at the DAM. “We’re pleased to partner with Museo, CSM and the Biennial to be able to feature artists who present thought-provoking, community-inspired work that bring important issues to the forefront.”

Gunther Gerzso, Southern Queen, 1963. Oil paint on Masonite. Courtesy of Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art, New York. ©John Michael Gerzso

The partnership with Museo will showcase modernist master Gunther Gerzso (1915–2000), with a joint opening on June 25 of Gunther Gerzso: A Mexican Master. The exhibition draws inspiration from art history, as well as expresses characteristics of Gerzso’s homeland in Mexico, while also featuring topographies and its pre-Columbian history. The DAM’s presentation of Gerzso’s work will highlight some of the artist’s extraordinary paintings from 1960 to 1981 in which he used old-master techniques. Museo’s exhibition will offer a rich selection of sculptures and works on paper.

The DAM also has partnered with the Biennial to feature Francisco Alvarado-Juárez. Born in Honduras, the artist has been based in New York City for more than four decades. Alvarado-Juárez has been working to create a community-driven art project that will debut during the opening week of the Biennial, and will then be on view at the DAM through the end of August. The artwork will incorporate five dynamically shaped panels that will be joined together as one to represent an artwork spanning 12 by 9 feet. Each of the panels featured in the artwork will showcase unique cultural environments representing ecological practices, the vulnerability of the environment, recycling and other related ideas specific to the Denver metro area.

The five organizations contributing to the artwork include RedLine, Sent(a)mental Studios, Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, the Denver Indian Center and Social Change through Art at Metropolitan State University of Denver. All organizations involved reach varying demographics and bring greater awareness to social issues through visual arts. The design of the community artwork has been inspired by Alvarado’s current installation at the DAM, Aqua-Terra / Terra-Aqua, which highlights colorful and whimsical camouflaged paintings of insects and cut paper made from thousands of recycled paper bags, painted and cut by hand by volunteers in the Denver area.

The final partnership involves the DAM, CSM, and the Biennial presenting artist Matthew Barney and composer Jonathan Bepler’s critically acclaimed six-hour epic film, River of Fundament. Announced earlier this spring, this screening will mark the first time the film has played in the Rocky Mountain region. The film will be presented one night only on July 18 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and features acclaimed actors Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Paul Giamatti, among others.

Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler, River of Fundament, 2014, production still, photo: Hugo Glendinning © Matthew Barney, courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

River of Fundament combines narrative cinema with elements of sculpture, non-traditional opera and performance. Barney and Bepler’s film is loosely based on Norman Mailer’s 1983 novel Ancient Evenings, which follows the cycle of life, death and rebirth. The film debuted in New York in 2014 and has since rarely been seen, screening only at a handful of international film and art festivals. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for DAM and CSM members, and $10 for students.

The artists featured during the Biennial will expose visitors to a deeper understanding of contemporary arts in the Americas through artistic interactions ranging from film to visual art to community expression. Gunther Gerzso: A Mexican Master and a viewing of Alvarado-Juárez’s community art project are free with general admission. In addition, DAM members who present their membership card at Museo will receive half-off general admission; Museo members presenting their membership card at the DAM also will receive half-off general admission.

Exhibition Organizers and Sponsors

2015 Biennial of the Americas efforts have been organized by the DAM in collaboration with Francisco Alvarado-Juárez, Museo, CSM and the Biennial. 2015 Biennial of the Americas efforts have been organized by the DAM in collaboration with Francisco Alvarado-Juárez, Museo, CSM and the Biennial. Generous support has been provided by the Consulate General of Mexico, the Mexican Cultural Center and donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign for Gunther Gerzso: A Mexican Master. River of Fundament is presented worldwide on behalf of the artists by Manchester International Festival. Alvarado-Juárez’s art project and installation Aqua-Terra / Terra-Aqua is generously funded by The William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Funding is also provided by the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4, Comcast Spotlight and The Denver Post. River of Fundament is presented worldwide on behalf of the artists by Manchester International Festival. Alvarado-Juárez’s art project and installation Aqua-Terra / Terra-Aqua is generously funded by The William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Funding is also provided by the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4, Comcast Spotlight and The Denver Post.

Denver Art Museum Media Resources

About the Biennial of the Americas

The Biennial of the Americas connects business, art, culture and civic leaders from throughout the Americas by building lasting relationships, addressing shared issues and inspiring action. Beginning July 14, 2015 with opening week events, and continuing through August 30, 2015, the Biennial of the Americas will feature groundbreaking art installations, engaging conversations, live performances and free festivals and programs that celebrate our shared cultural heritage and rich connection to the world around us.

About River of Fundament

River of Fundament is presented worldwide on behalf of the artists by Manchester International Festival. The film is written and directed by Matthew Barney. Music is composed and directed by Jonathan Bepler. The film is produced by Matthew Barney and Laurenz Foundation.

The Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro citizens support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit www.denverartmuseum.org.