August 2017 at the DAM: Common Ground Opens, Audacious and Word Dance Close, The Western and Mi Tierra on View and Other Highlights

Opening Aug. 13 at the Denver Art Museum (DAM), Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989-2013, will feature more than 170 portrait and landscape photographs by critically acclaimed photographer Fazal Sheikh. Born and raised in New York City, throughout his nearly 25-year career, the artist has focused on raising awareness of international human rights issues through his documentary-based photography practice.

Fazal Sheikh, Abshiro Aden Mohammed, Women's Leader, Somali Refugee Camp, Dagahaley, Kenya, 2000, from the series A Camel for the Son. © Fazal Sheikh.

The exhibition chronicles individuals who are living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world, many times as the result of war, exploitation and poverty. Common Ground will survey works from 1989 to 2013, offering deeper insight into major world events, racial strife and mass global displacement in places such as East Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the Netherlands.

Sheikh’s series of photographs have earned him numerous awards and fellowships, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Henri Cartier-Bresson International Grand Prize and the Luce Humanitarian Award, among many others. Guided tours of Common Ground will be offered at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Exhibition text and a booklet is available in Spanish. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. Reservations are not required.

Roy Lichtenstein, Cowboy on Bronco, c. 1953. Oil on canvas; 32 x 26 in. The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

On view through Sept. 10, The Western: An Epic in Art and Film is the first major exhibition to examine the Western genre and its evolution from the mid-1800s to the present through fine art, film and popular culture. Featuring 160 works, the exhibition explores gender roles, race relations and gun violence—offering a visual journey that is about more than cowboys and American Indians, pursuits and duels, or bandits and barroom brawls. Synonymous with the romantic, large-scale paintings of Frederic Remington and Albert Bierstadt, the West continues to materialize in the works of contemporary artists like Kent Monkman and Ed Ruscha and the films of John Ford and Sergio Leone. By featuring these and other artists, authors, filmmakers and historic figures together, The Western observes how the mythology of the West spread throughout the world and endures today. Exhibition text and a booklet is available in Spanish.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 320-page illustrated book, available in The Shops at the Denver Art Museum and online. A special ticketed exhibition, The Western is free for kids 18 and younger. Young buckaroos also can download a free PDF of a coloring page of the limited-edition, silk-screened poster for The Western and color their own version. Share the finished version on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #SummerintheWest

Coloring Page for The Western: An Epic in Art and Film

The Western-related programming

The Costume Studio & Weekend Demonstrations

Through Sept. 10, 2017

Explore the epic mythology of the West in The Western: An Epic in Art and Film, then bring it to life through character and costume design in the Costume Studio. Invent your own larger-than-life characters or get inspired by historic Western figures like Annie Oakley to sketch one-of-a-kind designs. Draw inspiration from the desert landscape to create a costume out of unexpected materials like foam, bubble wrap and coffee filters. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. In addition to daily hands-on activities, the Costume Studio will have demonstrations by local artists every weekend from noon−3 p.m.

August Costume Studio Weekend Demonstration Calendar

  • Aug. 5–6 & 12–13: Beatriz Gomez—Puppet Design
  • Aug. 19–20 & 26–27: Andryn Arithson—Upcycled Puppetry Design


Audacious: Contemporary Artists Speak Out

Through Aug. 6

British artist Damien Hirst famously said, “Art survives through its effect on others.” As a leader in the contemporary art world, he, like his peers, considers making art a way to convey ideas about culture, human relationships, the environment and politics. The artworks included in Audacious: Contemporary Artists Speak Out have the potential to invite—even incite—conversation about the world around us. The outlandish presentation of ideas using simplified or crude depictions, everyday materials or riffs on cultural conventions helps infuse contemporary art with provocative, sometimes challenging, content. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.

Martin Maloney, Over Exposed, 1999. Oil paint on canvas. Gift from Vicki and Kent Logan to the Collection of the Denver Art Museum, 2001.785 © Martin Maloney

Word Dance: Selections from the Collection of JoAnn Gonzalez Hickey

Through Aug. 6

The artists in Word Dance have all developed a distinctly individual language for drawing that invites viewers into their private world. The works-on-paper from JoAnn Gonzalez Hickey’s collection that have been chosen for this exhibition are all concerned with words, letters or a connection with language. There is a rhythm and movement in these works. Permeating these pieces is lightness and energy with the suggestion of dance moves—hence the exhibition title, Word Dance. An exhibition brochure is available to download from the museum website (PDF). Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.

In preparation for the renovation of the North Building, sections of the Asian art gallery on level 5 will be off view beginning in August. The 5th floor galleries will continue to be open to the public, with additional pieces from the Asian art collection featured in the upcoming special exhibitions Stampede: Animals in Art (opening Sept. 10) and Ganesha: The Playful Protector (opening Oct. 1).


Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place

Through Oct. 22

Mi Tierra features site-specific installations by 13 Latino artists that express experiences of contemporary life in the American West. Dynamic artworks were created by Carmen Argote, Jaime Carrejo, Gabriel Dawe, Claudio Dicochea, Daniela Edburg, Justin Favela, Ana Teresa Fernández, Ramiro Gomez, John Jota Leaños, Dmitri Obergfell, Ruben Ochoa, Daisy Quezada and Xochi Solis. These artists examine diverse narratives of migration and the complex layering of cultures throughout the Western United States through ideas related to labor, nostalgia, memory, visibility and displacement. Their installations incorporate mixed-media, performance-based video art, digital animation, fiber constructions, painting, sculpture and ceramics.

Guided tours of Mi Tierra are offered Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. through Oct. 21. An exhibition catalog is available in The Shops at the Denver Art Museum and online. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. #MiTierraDAM

La Musidora

Through Oct. 29, 2017

La Musidora, created by Mexico City-based artists Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena, is the museum’s new, interactive plaza installation. A combination of the Spanish words music (la música) and rocking chair (la mecedora) make up the title of the installation, which blends traditional and contemporary art. The usable 90-foot artwork, seating a total of 20 individuals at a time, generates musical notes and seeks to connect visitors with art, community and the museum’s Martin Plaza.

Museum visitors enjoying La Musidora during an Untitled Final Friday event.


Creative-in-Residence Laura Ann Samuelson

Through Aug. 20, 2017 — onsite Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays

Explore dance and art with Laura Ann Samuelson—choreographer, dancer, teacher of performance and the DAM’s current creative-in-residence. She will be in the galleries and working with the public Tuesdays and Wednesdays (11:30 a.m.–5 p.m.), Fridays (11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.) and Saturdays (1–5 p.m.) during her residency, creating unexpected opportunities for visitors to discover new ways of perceiving. Samuelson makes dances that investigate how human states of being and their external environments bump up against, converge and transform one another. Creative-in-Residence programs are funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Native Arts Artists-in-Residence: Action X Community X Togetherness

Gregg Deal, Walt Pourier, Melanie Yazzie

Through Sept. 10

Former Native Arts Artists-in-Residence Melanie Yazzie, Gregg Deal and Walt Pourier have returned to the museum for a one-of-a-kind collaborative project called Action X Community X Togetherness. Offered this unique opportunity for co-creating, the three artists were quick to find a central theme for this alumni residency: art as a call to action and a catalyst for change. They will be exploring this theme with joint projects at Untitled Final Friday (Aug. 25) and hands-on artmaking at the Friendship Powwow and American Indian Cultural Celebration (Sept. 9). The Native Arts Artist-in-Residence program is generously supported by the Virginia W. Hill Foundation.


Untitled: Truth or Dare

Aug. 25, 6–10 p.m.

Face the facts and take a risk as we get up close and personal with bravery in black and white. Produced with local creatives, Untitled Final Fridays is the museum's monthly late night program featuring workshops, performances and tours with a twist. Experience the museum in an entirely different way—every time. College students with valid ID receive 2-for-1 admission to Untitled Final Fridays. #UntitledDAM

Looking for even more art adventures? Check out the Golden Triangle Creative District’s Final Friday Art Walk from 5-9 p.m., June through September. See their website for details.

Drop-In Drawing

Aug. 8, 1–3 p.m.

(Re)kindle your creative passions at informal sketching sessions on the second Tuesday of every month. Take inspiration from the galleries with the help of a DAM art instructor and tackle a new drawing topic every month. Bring your own supplies or use one of our communal sketch pads. Meet on level 1 of the Hamilton Building. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Trade Canoe for Don Quixote, 2004. Mixed media on canvas; 60 x 200 in. William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, by exchange.

Mindful Looking: Trade Canoe for Don Quixote

Aug. 15, 1 p.m.

Explore the many layers of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s Trade Canoe for Don Quixote with teaching specialist Molly Medakovich. Meet on level 3 of the North Building. Visitors are invited to slow down and spend time with a work of art in the DAM galleries, discovering overlooked details and making connections. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.


Free First Saturday / Denver Days 2017 / CelebrARTE on Free First Saturdays

Aug. 5, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

On the first Saturday of every month, enjoy the museum’s art collections and non-ticketed exhibitions without spending a dime! This month, celebrate Denver Days at the museum—check out some of the DAM’s many family-friendly activities and enjoy bilingual fun with a 2 p.m. DAM Highlights tour en español, Create-n-Takes and a storytelling program. Cuentistas tell the tales of artworks during Cuentos del Arte with stories para todos—for everyone—at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Free general admission tickets are available on-site starting at 10 a.m. Check the Denver Days 2017 calendar to learn about other events. Free First Saturday is made possible by Your 6 Hometown Toyota Stores and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). #ThanksSCFD #GraciasSCFD

Create Playdate

Aug. 9, 10 a.m.2 p.m. (last month for extended summer hours!)

Drop in with your little ones, aged 3 to 5, and meet up with other tots and their grownups for story time, artmaking and more! Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. No reservation required.


Low Sensory Morning

Aug. 19, 8:30–10 a.m.

At the DAM, we embrace the unique qualities of all who walk through our doors, and appreciate that many visitors need to explore the museum in different ways. For individuals and families who prefer a quiet, less sensory-stimulating environment we offer Low Sensory Mornings on select Saturday mornings, before public hours. Loud gallery sounds are turned down and attendance is limited. Tours, hands-on activities and artmaking projects are offered. Included in general admission, but space is limited. Reservations now open for this event. Contact or 720-913-0074 with questions or for ticketing assistance.

Family in gallery on a low sensory morning.

Blue Star Museum Program

Through Sept. 3, 2017

The DAM is participating in the summer 2017 Blue Star Museum program, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America. The DAM will offer free general admission to active duty military personnel and their families until Sept. 3 (the museum will be closed on Labor Day). For additional details and to find participating museums, visit the Blue Star Museums map. #NEA

Note: This is an overview of August happenings and does not include all exhibitions, events and programs available at the DAM this month. Please visit the museum website for complete information.

Media Resources

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. Denver 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

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