May 2017: The Western: An Epic in Art and Film Opens, Shock Wave Closes, Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark BradfordMi Tierra and Other Highlights

Opening May 27 at the Denver Art Museum (DAM), 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 more than cowboys and American Indians, pursuits and duels, or bandits and barroom brawls.

The West is synonymous with the romantic, large-scale paintings of Frederic Remington and Albert Bierstadt. It also materializes 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.

Frederic Remington, A Dash for the Timber, 1889. Oil on canvas. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection.

The Western is co-organized by the DAM and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA); co-curated by Thomas Brent Smith, director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the DAM, and Mary Dailey Desmarais, Ph.D., curator of International Modern Art at the MMFA. The exhibition will be accompanied by a 320-page illustrated book, available in The Shops at the Denver Art Museum and online. Special ticketed exhibition; free for kids 18 and younger. The Western will be on view May 27–Sept. 10. #SummerintheWest

William H. D. Koerner, "The Tenth Law," Don't You Go Frettin', Sallie, I'll Tend To It, 1922. Oil on canvas; 36 x 28 in. Denver Art Museum: The Roath Collection, 2013.121

The Western-related programming

Untitled: True Grit

May 26, 6–10 p.m.

Saddle up to save the day with a night of tumbleweeds, tough guys and ten-gallon hats. 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

The Costume Studio & Weekend Demonstrations

Through Sept. 10, 2017

In May, the Costume Studio switches from a galaxy far, far away to a Western theme. 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 Denver artists every weekend from noon−3 p.m.

May Costume Studio Weekend Demonstration Calendar

  • May 56: Gabriela Martinez—Costume Design
  • May 1314 & 2021: Cheryl Brodzinsky—Scenic Design
  • May 2728: Kathleen Sherman—Experimental Mask Construction

Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford

Through July 16

Contemporary works and abstract expressionist masterpieces converge in Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford, a two-venue presentation at the DAM and Clyfford Still Museum (CSM). Paintings by renowned contemporary American artist Mark Bradford—representing the United States at the 2017 Venice Biennale—are on view at the DAM, alongside related canvases by Clyfford Still. An exhibition of Still's work selected in collaboration with Bradford is on view at CSM. Shade underscores the legacy of abstract expressionism and Bradford's exploration of abstraction's power to address social and political concerns. Bradford has long been fascinated by Still's extensive use of black as a signature component of his work. Shade explores both artists' unique relationships to black in their paintings, whether it's used to force viewers out of their comfort zones, evoke emotions or confront conventional notions of race.

Social activism through art will be explored with programming at both museums, inspired by Bradford’s Art + Practice Foundation. An illustrated 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. Present your ticket receipt from DAM or CSM at the other venue and receive free admission to see the rest of the collaborative exhibition during its run. #MarkBradfordShade

Mark Bradford, Butch Queen, 2016. Mixed media on canvas; 104-1/4 x 144-1/2 in. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, 2016. ©Mark Bradford. Photograph by Joshua White.

SHADE-related programming

Tag-Team Talks: Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford

Offered May 7, May 27, June 11 and June 24, 9 a.m.

In these two-venue talks, guides from the CSM and the DAM will collaborate to take visitors through Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford. Begin at the DAM to view the work of Mark Bradford, then venture to the CSM to see the paintings by Clyfford Still that Bradford selected for this joint exhibition. Compare and contrast both artists’ work, and explore how Bradford uses the power of abstraction to address social and political concerns. Enjoy before-hours access to the galleries in these morning programs. Meet at the DAM, Hamilton Building main entrance. Free; registration required at Co-sponsored by the Clyfford Still Museum and Denver Art Museum.

Clyfford Still, Fear (PHX-13), 1945. Oil paint on paper; 32 x 25- 3/4 inches. Private collection. Courtesy of the Clyfford Still Museum © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY.

On Shade: Curators Discuss Clyfford Still and Mark Bradford

May 12, 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)

Join Rebecca Hart, DAM’s Vicki and Kent Logan Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Dean Sobel, director at CSM, for an informal conversation that will delve into the issues presented in Shade. Abstract expressionism has considerable relevance for Mark Bradford, and Clyfford Still’s work in particular, in today's art world. Hart and Sobel shed further light on this unlikely pairing, while also discussing the connections between art and politics and Bradford's work in the context of his contemporaries. $5 DAM/CSM members, $10 nonmembers. Optional pre-lecture exhibition viewing requires separate admission ticket. Purchase tickets online or call 720-913-0130.

DAM + CSM Public Tours of Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford

Through July 16

DAM tours: Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays, 2 p.m. — CSM tours: Wednesdays & Sundays, 3 p.m.

Tour your heart out with back-to-back public tours during the two-venue exhibition Shade. A 45-minute tour of Shade is offered at the DAM on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 2 p.m.; meet on level 1 of the Hamilton Building. On Wednesdays and Sundays, continue your tour of Shade at CSM at 3 p.m.; meet in the Anschutz Foundation Atrium. Both tours are free for CSM and DAM members; others can buy one ticket at either venue to be admitted to both. No reservations required.

Mindful Looking: Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford

May 16, 1 p.m.

Danielle St. Peter, interpretive specialist for modern and contemporary art, leads an exploration of artist Mark Bradford and abstraction's power to address social and political concerns. Discover overlooked details, explore ideas and make connections as we linger, look and discuss. Meet on level 1 of the Hamilton Building. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. No reservation required.

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 (Los Angeles), Jaime Carrejo (Denver), Gabriel Dawe (Dallas), Claudio Dicochea (San Antonio), Daniela Edburg (San Miguel de Allende), Justin Favela (Las Vegas), Ana Teresa Fernández (San Francisco), Ramiro Gomez (West Hollywood), John Jota Leaños (San Francisco), Dmitri Obergfell (Denver), Ruben Ochoa (Los Angeles), Daisy Quezada (Santa Fe) and Xochi Solis (Austin).

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 offered Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. through Oct. 21. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. #MiTierraDAM

Ana Teresa Fernández, Erasure 4 (performance documentation), 2015. Oil on canvas, 60 x 72 in. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. ©Ana Teresa Fernández

MI TIERRA-related programming

Logan Lecture Series: Ana Teresa Fernández

May 3, 6 p.m. (doors open 5:30 p.m.)

Individual lecture tickets free for DAM Contemporaries (DAMC) members and students with valid ID (must be presented the night of the lecture), $12 artists, $15 DAM members, $18 nonmembers. Meet the artist at an après-lecture reception at the ART, a hotel. Enjoy conversations with some of the hottest artists working today, complimentary snacks and a cash bar. Sponsored by DAM Contemporaries, a DAM support group.


Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s-90s

Closing May 28

Showcasing works by Japanese designers who started a fashion revolution in Paris, Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s–90s, features 70 looks by powerhouse designers Issey Miyake, Kenzo Takada, Kansai Yamamoto, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons and Junya Watanabe, whose impact on fashion still resonates today. Works on view illustrate concepts such as the intersection of tradition and modernity; the influence of pop-culture motifs; molding the body versus hiding the body with oversized shapes; reinventing the traditional Western representation of femininity; collaborations between contemporary artists and fashion designers; and other diverse ways of challenging the fashion system.

An accompanying catalog is available in The Shop and online that features many looks from the exhibition as well as the work of fashion photographers. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. Following the closure of Shock Wave, the Textile and Fashion gallery, PreVIEW conservation space and Thread Studio will close in anticipation of the North Building Project. Please continue to visit for the latest announcements and details related to the North Project. #ShockWaveDenver

Nendo, Established 2002, Tokyo, Japan, Cabbage Chair, 2008. Resin-coated paper. Denver Art Museum: Funds from the Ralph L. and Florence R. Burgess Trust and Design Council of the Denver Art Museum, 2014.113 and Issey Miyake, Dress, Spring–Summer 1998 collection, “Pleats Please.” Printed polyester, pleated and heat- and pressure-set. On loan from Heidi Berman.

SHOCK WAVE-related programming

Logan Lecture Series: Intersection of Art/Design/Fashion

May 24, 6 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

Join DAM Vicki and Kent Logan Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Rebecca Hart; curator of architecture, design and graphics Darrin Alfred; and Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Curator of Fashion Florence Müller, for a dialogue highlighting the convergence of art, design and fashion. Individual lecture tickets are free for DAMC members and students presenting valid ID; $12 artists, $15 DAM members; $18 nonmembers. Sponsored by DAM Contemporaries, a DAM support group.


Britain’s Golden Age

Opening April 28

British art came into its own in the 18th century. For the first time artists born in Britain—Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Richard Wilson, to name a few—set the European standard in portraiture and landscape, genres for which that country’s art has come to be best known and most admired. Many of their most talented followers are on view in this new installation of paintings from the Berger Collection on level 6 of the North Building. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.

Paul Sandby (British, 1725–1809), A Welsh Sunset River Landscape, 1770s. Oil paint on panel, 18 ¾ x 24 ½ in. (47.7 x 62.2 cm). Lent by the Berger Collection, TL-18771

Then, Now, Next: Evolution of an Architectural Icon

Extended through Feb. 25, 2018

Punctuating the DAM's upcoming North Building revitalization project, Then, Now, Next: Evolution of an Architectural Icon is an exhibition on the renowned modernist building, its history and its future. The exhibition features historical photos, original architectural sketches, building models and project renderings to tell the story of the North Building’s evolution. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.


Cuatro[4]: A Series of Artist Interactions — James Córdova

Opening May 6

Our final Cuatro artist, James Córdova, will be creating a triptych in the santero tradition with a sculpture of San Hipólito in the center panel and paintings of crowned-nuns on the wings. The triptych also will include early colonial indigenous motifs found in mural paintings in Mexico. Córdova’s work explores images of conquest and paintings that came out of the Spanish Colonial period, a period that brought about new ideas and artistic creations that initially appear European, but upon in-depth exploration reveal the many influences of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Cuatro[4]: A Series of Artist Interactions is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Chinese Calligraphy: Not Just a Visual Art

May 10, noon (doors open at 11:30 a.m.)

Among all Chinese arts, calligraphy stands out as the most unique visual representation of Chinese philosophy and aesthetic taste. An excellent calligraphy is not just a piece of beautiful visual art; it is also a reflection of the artist’s interpretation of a belief or philosophical concept. Calligrapher Harrison Xinshi Tu will discuss contemporary Chinese calligraphy and introduce examples of his arts on display at the DAM (general admission required for gallery visit). Lecture tickets free for Asian Art Association members; $5 for teachers, students and docents; $7 for DAM members; $10 for others. For details, call 720-913-0040 or email Sponsored by the Asian Art Association, a DAM support group, and Curator’s Circle.

Image courtesy of Fabergé.

Luncheon By Design ǀ Carl Fabergé and His International Clientèle

May 17, 11 a.m.1 p.m.

Dr. Géza von Habsburg, Fabergé Curatorial Director and the world’s leading expert on Fabergé, will give an exclusive presentation at 2017’s Luncheon By Design. Founded in St. Petersburg in 1842 by Gustav Fabergé, Fabergé is renowned for their exquisite use of gemstones, color and enamel. Fabergé’s extraordinary jewels and lavish Imperial Easter eggs attracted clients including the Imperial Court of Russia, the kings of Sweden and Norway and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, among other nobility, tycoons and artistic intelligentsia. The Patron Party is May 16, 5:30–7:30 p.m. (address provided upon RSVP confirmation). Luncheon By Design tickets are $150; Patron Party tickets are $350 and include Luncheon By Design admission. For tickets or questions, email or call 720-913-0044. Presented by Design Council, a support group of the Denver Art Museum.


Free First Saturday / CelebrARTE on Free First Saturdays

May 6, 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! Be sure to check out some of the DAM’s many family-friendly activities. Free general admission tickets are available on-site starting at 10 a.m. 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

At CelebrARTE on Free First Saturdays, enjoy bilingual fun for everyone, 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. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. No reservation required. #GraciasSCFD

Foxy and Shmoxy: Art Detectives

May 14, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.

Two smart and hilarious foxes are ready to solve art mysteries in the galleries. Bring the whole family to help Foxy and Shmoxy sniff out clues and unseen treasures in the museum. Visit the Family Activity Cart, pick up a letter from the Fox Box and follow the riddles into the galleries to find the foxes. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. No reservation required.

Low Sensory Morning

May 20, 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 our Low Sensory Morning event on select Saturday mornings, before public hours. Loud gallery sounds are turned down and attendance is limited. Tours of the museums, numerous hands-on activities and artmaking projects for individuals and families are available. Included in general admission, but space is limited. Reservations open April 20 at 10 a.m. Contact or 720-913-0074 with any questions or for ticketing assistance.

Citywide Elementary Arts Showcase

Through May 21

The DAM believes that art can make a difference in people’s lives by celebrating and stimulating creativity and inspiring a greater understanding and connection with our world. By showcasing the artwork of students, the DAM places value not only on these creative young artists but also the hard work and impact of their dedicated teachers. The Denver Public Schools Arts and Physical Education Department recognizes its students’ creative and expressive abilities and strives to be inclusive in showcasing its students’ work for the Denver metro community. This exhibition highlights a variety of work from almost 50 elementary schools from across the district, and celebrates students’ artistic diversity and achievement. Entry to the showcase is free; museum admission required to visit other galleries.

Note: This is an overview of May 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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