May 2018: Last Days for Degas: A Passion for Perfection, Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer Opens, Untitled: Birdy, Symposium on Leonardo in Milan and Other Highlights

(Denver) – April 19, 2018 – Degas: A Passion for Perfection will soon take its final bow at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). On view through May 20 at its only American venue, the exhibition showcases more than 100 works by prolific French artist Edgar Degas. The paintings, drawings, pastels, etchings, monotypes and sculptures, dating from 1855 to 1906, focus on the most prominent and recurring themes throughout Degas’ career. These include his interest in learning from both the art of the past and that of his contemporaries, a lifelong fascination with the nude, a passion for horses and a strong interest in opera and dance.

Edgar Degas, Four Ballet Dancers on Stage (Quatro Bailarinas em Cena), 1885 / 1890. Oil paint on canvas; 28-3/4 x 36-1/4 in. (73 x 92 cm). Gift, Walther Moreira Salles, Simone Pilon, Jacques Pilon, Benedito Manhães Barreto, um comissário de café em Santos [a coffee commissioner in Santos], Industriais da Juta de São Paulo e [and] Diários Associados de São Paulo, 1950. Inv. MASP.00082 Collection: Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand. Photo by João Musa.

Degas experimented constantly throughout his long career. He developed sharp and precise lighting techniques that allowed him to capture modern subject matter such as café concerts, street scenes with new electric lamps, sporting events and theatrical settings. Additional works on view by J.A.D. Ingres, Eugène Delacroix and Paul Cézanne add depth to the exhibition’s narrative.

An audio guide with adult and family-friendly versions is included; both versions are available in English and Spanish. An accompanying book is available in The Shop at the Denver Art Museum or online. A dated and timed special exhibition ticket—which includes the audio guide and general admission to the DAM—is required for Degas: A Passion for Perfection. #DegasatDAM

Gallery view of Degas: A Passion for Perfection, on view through May 20.

Degas: A Passion for Perfection-related programming

Degas: An Artistic Journey

May 12 & 19, 2:304 p.m.

Art historian Giulia Bernardini explores “Degas' Many Women” and the inspiration he found in them on May 12. On May 19, discover another dimension of the prolific French artist as Molly Medakovich, art historian and DAM teaching specialist, looks at “Degas & the Art Market: Collector, Collected.” A few tickets to the final two sessions of this four-part spring 2018 course are still available for $23 each, $20 each for DAM members.

Jeffrey Gibson: Like A Hammer

Opening May 13

The first major museum exhibition of the artist’s work, Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer will chronicle a pivotal moment in Gibson’s career when his contemporary artistic practice converged with his Native American heritage. About 65 objects created from 2011 to the present will be featured, including figurative works, text-based wall hangings, a significant selection of beaded punching bags, painted works on rawhide and canvas, and video.

Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Band Choctaw/Cherokee), Like A Hammer, 2014. Elk hide, glass beads, artificial sinew, wool blanket, metal studs, steel, found pinewood block, and fur; 56 x 24 x 11 in. From the collection of Roman Johnson and Tracy Richelle High. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Gibson Studio and Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, California. Photograph by Peter Mauney. (c) Jeffrey Gibson

The exhibition will show how Gibson draws upon his heritage and remixes his older works to create a visual vocabulary that explores his multi-faceted identity and the history of modernism. Gibson’s abstract works take inspiration from his Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, pan-Native American visual culture, alternative subcultures and the artist’s experiences living abroad as well as popular culture. Striking patterned and textured works also incorporate text from poems and song lyrics.

Gibson frequently explores colonialism and the post-colonial mindset, reflecting on how American Indian experiences parallel other civil rights movements. His work also revolves around universal themes of love, community, strength, vulnerability and survival. Visitors will be able to gain an enhanced understanding of Gibson’s distinctive and complex creative practice, as well as how it has evolved from series to series.

An exhibition catalog—the first to comprehensively detail Gibson’s career and body of work—will be available in The Shop and online in May 2018. Organized by the DAM and curated by John Lukavic, curator of Native Arts, Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer will be on view May 13–August 12, 2018. The exhibition is included in general admission and free for members and youth 18 and younger. #GibsonLikeaHammer

Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Band Choctaw/Cherokee), CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU, 2015. High fire glazed ceramic, repurposed tipi poles, wool, acrylic paint, wool blanket, glass beads, artificial sinew, copper jingles, and nylon fringe; 72 x 29 x 38 in. Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Gibson Studio and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. Photograph by Peter Mauney. © Jeffrey Gibson.

Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer-related programming

Jeffrey Gibson: Like A Hammer Public Tours

May 13–August 12, 2 p.m.

In this 45-minute tour, explore the first major museum exhibition of the artist’s work. About 65 works on view will chronicle a pivotal moment in Gibson’s career when his contemporary artistic practice converged with his Native American heritage. Tours offered daily. Meet in the first level elevator lobby of the Hamilton Building. Included in general admission; reservations not required.

Mindful Looking: Jeffrey Gibson's CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU

May 15, 1 p.m.

This month, slow down and explore Jeffrey Gibson’s sculpture CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU with two museum educators. Discover overlooked details, explore ideas and make connections as we linger, look and discuss. Included in general admission, free for members and youth 18 and younger.

Jim Howard, Drawing, about 1980. Charcoal pencil on paper. From the collection of Jim Howard. © Jim Howard.

Drawn to Glamour: Fashion Illustrations by Jim Howard

Through August 5

Drawn to Glamour: Fashion Illustrations by Jim Howard presents the award-winning editorial work by artist Jim Howard, a well-respected member of Denver’s fashion community. More than 100 works on paper showcase Howard’s four-decade fashion illustration career, from his early advertising campaigns for Neiman Marcus in the late 1950s through the ’70s and ’80s when the fashion illustration industry was at its height. The exhibition offers a nostalgic look at fashion trends set by top ready-to-wear designers, high-end fashion retailers and cosmetic companies. Drawn to Glamour also features eight looks from the DAM’s fashion collection and four men’s silhouettes on loan from private lenders that capture the essence of some of the most iconic trends of the late ’50s to the early ’80s. Included in general admission, free for members and youth 18 and younger. #GlamouratDAM

Drawn to Glamour: Fashion Illustrations by Jim Howard-related programming

Fashioning Illustration: Drawn to Glamour panel discussion

May 13, 2 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibition Drawn to Glamour: Fashion Illustrations by Jim Howard, this dynamic panel discussion will examine the ever-changing role of fashion illustration both as an art form and as an industry. Panelists include iconic fashion illustrators Jim Howard, David Wolfe and Sandra Vanderpool, with publisher Jenny Taliadoros moderating. Included in general admission; however, seating is limited and advance reservations are recommended. Presented by the DAM’s textile art and fashion department.

Book Signing with Jim Howard

May 13, 3 p.m.

Join local artist and fashion illustrator Jim Howard for a book signing. A selection of Jim Howard's paper doll books will be on sale in The Shop at the Denver Art Museum. Included in general admission.

Drawn to Figures: Live Drawing Master Class

May 18, 57:30 p.m.

Taking inspiration from Drawn to Glamour: Fashion Illustrations by Jim Howard and Degas: A Passion for Perfection, this live drawing master class led by artist Anna Kaye will inspire you to capture movement while accomplished dancer and artist Marian Faustino performs. Students will enhance eye-hand coordination, increase their skills in line quality and explore gesture-drawing techniques with a variety of drawing tools. All art materials will be provided. Doors will open at 4:30 pm. Space is limited. Registration is required and opens on April 23. (Note: tickets to Degas: A Passion for Perfection are sold separately.)


Stampede: Animals in Art

Through May 19, 2019

Stampede: Animals in Art brings together more than 300 objects from across the DAM collection to explore the presence of animals in art throughout centuries and cultures. The exhibition creates an opportunity for visitors to discover and consider the role animals play through themes such as personal connections with animals, how animal materials have been used in art, how animals are used to tell stories or represent political ideas and how artists use animals in imaginative ways.

Stampede includes visitor favorites—a Nick Cave Soundsuit, Deborah Butterfield’s horse sculptures and paintings by Frederic Remington and Georgia O’Keeffe—as well as rarely seen works. Visitors can try their hand at drawing in the gallery, spend time closely looking at smaller objects in a “cabinet of curiosities” or check out an interactive space to learn about the creative process behind the Never Alone video game created by Native North Alaskan storytellers.

After viewing Stampede, stop by the family-friendly space A Walk in the Woods or the 3-D Studio for hands-on artmaking activities related to animals. Included in general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.


Christoph Heinrich and Andrea Fulton at the groundbreaking for the renovation of the North Building.

Insight: A View from the Director’s Office

May 10, 5:30–6:30 p.m.

What does a day in the life of a museum director look like? For Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the Denver Art Museum, it is fair to say that no single day is "typical." In conversation with his administrative colleague Andrea Fulton, Deputy Directory & Chief Marketing Officer, the two will share their insights on the behind-the-scenes happenings of the director's office, unexpected adventures and highlights of their work, and what it's like to lead the museum during a period of exciting change. Tickets are $8 for the public, $5 for DAM members.

The Workshop of Leonardo in Milan: Creative Process and Artistic Dynamics

May 11, 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.

This day-long symposium will focus on the workshop of Leonardo in Milan and the impact of the Florentine master on the artists working in Lombardy at the time. Leading scholars in the field of Leonardo’s studies will explore the artistic dynamics around the practice of the master da Vinci and his influence on the pictorial production in the second half of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th centuries. Tickets are $55 for adults, $20 for college students, $40 for DAM members and free for members of the Friends of Painting and Sculpture. Symposium tickets include general admission, breakfast and reception afterwards. Sponsored by the Cooke-Daniels Fund and the Friends of Painting and Sculpture, a DAM support group.

Bernardo Zenale, Madonna and Child with Saints, about 1510. Tempera and oil paint on panel. Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.173 Bernardo Zenale, Madonna and Child with Saints, about 1510. Tempera and oil paint on panel. Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.173

Meditation in the Museum

May 11, 6 p.m.

Unwind from your week with a mindfulness meditation session in the galleries, led by our partners from the Kadampa Meditation Center. From first-timers to regular practitioners, all are welcome to join in on this hour of relaxation, reflection and quiet calm. Chairs, yoga mats and meditation cushions provided. No registration necessary, but space is limited. Included in general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.

Revitalizing Hopi Jewelry with Gerald Lomaventema

May 12, 1–3:30 p.m. — presented at The Art Gym Denver, 1460 Leyden St.

Gerald Lomaventema, noted Hopi jeweler and mentor from Shungapovi, Second Mesa, Arizona, will discuss the history and evolution of Hopi silversmithing as well as his involvement in mentoring younger Hopi in the craft today. Assisted by two of his talented mentees, Lomaventema will demonstrate his latest revival of the old methods. The first 30 people to sign up will receive a handmade sterling silver collectible. Tickets are $40; $30 for members of Friends of Native Arts. For more information, contact or 720-913-0162. Sponsored by Friends of Native Arts: The Douglas Society, a DAM support group.

The Little Ice Age and Korean Art

May 14, 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)

While 18th-century Korea is commonly characterized as an “age of economic prosperity, political stability and cultural renaissance,” the country was just recovering from devastating famines in 1671 and 1696. Cleveland Art Museum assistant curator of Korean art Sooa Im McCormick will explore how climate changes during the Little Ice Age prompted Korean rulers to exercise the politics of frugality, shaping 18th-century Korean visual culture and its distinctive aesthetics. Reception follows. Free, but reservations requested. For more information, contact or 720-913-0040. Curator's Circle and Asian Art Association Lecture Series. Partially funded by the W.S. Jackson Fund.

Phillip K. Smith, III, Lucid Stead. Photo by Steve King.

Logan Lecture: Phillip K. Smith, III, May 15

Logan Lecture: Matthew Barney, May 24 (SOLD OUT)

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

Phillip K. Smith, III, builds on explorations of the perception of light, color and space while creating physical and seemingly ephemeral sculptures. Matthew Barney will speak about his newest project based on the myth of Actaeon and Diana. (The Barney lecture is sold out. To be added to the waitlist, call 720-913-0130.) Free for DAM Contemporaries members and students with valid ID, $10 DAM volunteers, $15 DAM members, $20 nonmembers. The Logan Lecture series is sponsored by Vicki and Kent Logan in affiliation with DAM Contemporaries, a DAM support group.

The Art of Paul Pletka

May 17, 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)

Enjoy a presentation on the art of Paul Pletka. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase his new book, Paul Pletka: Imagined Wests. Purchase tickets at the door. Sponsored by Alianza de las Artes Americanas, a DAM support group.

Conversation with Curator: Rare Maya Wooden Object

May 18, 4–5 p.m. (Note: different date than usual)

Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Pre-Columbian Art Victoria Lyall and senior objects conservator Gina Laurin bring a rare Maya wood object out of storage and discuss recent discoveries. Conversations with Curators feature lively discussions with different curators each month. Meet in the elevator lobby on the lower level of the Hamilton Building. Included in general admission.

Birdy Magazine

Untitled: Birdy

May 25, 610 p.m.

In May, jump off the pages of Denver's arts and culture scene with an adventure-filled night designed by the creators of Birdy Magazine. 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! Included in general admission; free for members and youth 18 and younger. College students with ID receive 2-for-1 admission to Untitled Final Fridays. Untitled Final Fridays are presented by Your 6 Hometown Toyota Stores.


Free First Saturday

May 5, 10 a.m.5 p.m.

On the first Saturday of the month, enjoy the museum’s art collections and non-ticketed exhibitions without spending a dime! Try some of the DAM’s family-friendly activities and enjoy bilingual fun with a Spanish language tour of Stampede: Animals in Art at 1 p.m., Create-n-Takes and the storytelling program Cuentos del Arte at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Free general admission tickets are available onsite starting at 10 a.m. (Special exhibition ticket required for Degas.) 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

May 9, 10 a.m.1 p.m.

Drop in with your little ones, aged 3 to 5, on the second Wednesday of the month. Meet up with other tots and their grownups for storytime, artmaking and more! Create Playdate is a bilingual program (available in English and Spanish). Included in general admission; kids 18 and younger free. No reservations required.

Foxy and Shmoxy: Art Detectives

May 13, 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. To find the foxes, pick up a letter from the Fox Box on level 1 and follow the riddles into the galleries. Included in general admission; kids 18 and younger free. No reservations required.

Low Sensory Morning

May 19, 8:30–10 a.m.

For individuals and families who prefer a quiet, less sensory-stimulating environment, at our Low Sensory Morning events loud gallery sounds are turned down and attendance is limited. Tours of the museums, numerous hands-on activities and artmaking projects are offered for individuals and families to enjoy. Space is limited. Reservations are free, but general museum admission rates apply (free for members; free for kids age 18 and younger). Reservations open April 19; reserve your spot in advance, then purchase general admission at the door on day of event. Contact or 720-913-0074 with any questions or for ticketing assistance.


3-D Studio and Weekend Artist Demonstrations

Through May 19, 2019

Explore the expansive and varied realm of 3-D art in the 3-D Studio. Build an abstract sculpture at our Purely Paper activity, create your own animal at Wound in Wire or work with family and friends to contribute to a collaborative sculpture. Every weekend watch artist demonstrations. Included in general admission; kids 18 and younger free. No reservations required.

Weekend Artist Demonstrations in May – Saturdays & Sundays, noon-3 p.m.

May 56: Rudi Monterroso, Metal Sculpture

May 1213 & 19-20: Mason Taylor, Wire Sculpture

May 2627: Emily Nell Yellowbird, Paper that Pops

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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