September 2017: 28th Annual Friendship Powwow, Last Call for The Western, Mi Tierra and Common Ground on View and Other Highlights

The 28th Annual Friendship Powwow and American Indian Cultural Celebration will take place on Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. One of the Denver Art Museum’s (DAM) longest-running events, the powwow will feature American Indian dancers, drum groups, working artists, hands-on activities and more in a celebration of the vitality of American Indian cultures. Throughout the day, visitors can watch colorful dance competitions, participate with artists in hands-on activities, and enjoy their first (or 101st!) piece of fry bread.

Dancers at the 2016 Friendship Powwow.

This year, new powwow chair Pat Roy-Trujillo (Ojibwe/Meskwaki) is working with Café Cultura Youth to bring spoken-word performances to the event. Attendees also will have a chance to collaborate on printmaking art projects with Native Arts Artists-in-Residence Gregg Deal and Walt Pourier. Don’t miss the American Indian art collection on levels 2 and 3 of the North Building, and art programs scheduled throughout the day on level 3.

The powwow will take place on Acoma Plaza (between the DAM and Denver Public Library). All powwow activities and general museum admission that day are free. Youth 18 and younger also receive free admission to the special exhibition The Western: An Epic in Art and Film. The Friendship Powwow and American Indian Cultural Celebration is sponsored by the Native Arts Department and supported by the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).

Charles Schreyvogel, Breaking Through the Line, no date. Oil on canvas; 46-1/4 x 58-3/8 in. Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Gift of the Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, 1955, 0127.1235. ©Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Last Chance to Experience The Western

After Sept. 10, The Western: An Epic in Art and Film will ride off into the sunset. 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, The Western features 160 works and 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. A special ticketed exhibition, The Western is free for kids 18 and younger.

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

Albert Bierstadt, Emigrants Crossing the Plains, 1867. Oil on canvas; 60 x 96 in. National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum.

The Western-related programming

The Costume Studio & Weekend Demonstrations

Through Sept. 10, 2017

Bring the epic mythology of the West to life through character and costume design in the Costume Studio. Invent your own larger-than-life characters and 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. through Sept. 10.

September Costume Studio Weekend Demonstration Calendar

Sept. 2–3: Sandy Garcia—Costume Design: Mexican Heritage through Dance

Sept. 9–10: Annabel Reader—Fantastical Costume Design

Nick Cave, Untitled, 2013. Mixed media, including mannequin, fabric, hot pads, vintage toys, synthetic hair, and seesaw; 141 x 166 x 45 in. Denver Art Museum: Purchased with Modern and Contemporary acquisition funds and the support of Vicki and Kent Logan, 2013.76A-F. © Nick Cave

Stampede: Animals in Art

Opening Sept. 10

Stampede: Animals in Art, a special cross-departmental exhibition, will bring together more than 300 objects from the DAM’s collection, demonstrating how animals have captivated artists throughout history. Explore the presence of animals in art throughout centuries and across cultures. Stampede will create 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 will include visitor favorites such as a Nick Cave Soundsuit, four-faced Hamat'sa Mask, Deborah Butterfield’s horse sculptures, paintings by Frederic Remington and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as rarely seen works. The large-scale exhibition will open on level 3 of the Hamilton Building and will expand to level 4 on Dec. 3. Stampede is included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.


Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989-2013, features 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. 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 surveys 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 are available Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 2 p.m. On view through Nov. 12, Common Ground is included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger.

Fazal Sheikh will speak at the Anderman Photography Lecture on Sept. 12.

Common Ground-related programming

Conversation with Curator: Common Ground

Sept. 8, 4 p.m. (postponed from Sept. 1)

Explore Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989-2013, with curator Eric Paddock. Meet at 4 p.m. in the elevator lobby of level 1 of the Hamilton Building. 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 required.

Anderman Photography Lecture: Fazal Sheikh

Sept. 12, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Photographer Fazal Sheikh has focused on raising awareness of international human rights issues through his critically acclaimed work. The artist will discuss his documentary-based photography practice. Now on view at the DAM, Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989-2013, features more than 170 portraits and landscapes chronicling individuals living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world, many times as the result of war, exploitation and poverty. Lecture tickets are $5 for students, DAM members and CPAC members, $12 others. For additional details, email Sponsored by the DAM Photography Department. Series funding generously provided by Evan and Elizabeth Anderman.

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

Mi Tierra is the DAM’s contribution to the 2017 Biennial of the Americas, occurring in Denver Sept. 12-16. Visit the biennial website for details on other activities and presentations.

La Musidora

Through Oct. 29, 2017

La Musidora, created by Mexico City-based artists Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena, is the museum’s 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.


After five years of planning, design work and fundraising, including inclusion in the General Obligation Bond up for approval by Denver voters this fall, preparations for the North Building renovation project will begin in November. The landmark building will be open to visitors through Sunday, Nov. 19, and then will close to the public in order to remove collections and prepare the space for construction. Starting Monday, Nov. 20, the DAM’s Hamilton Building will be open seven days a week to provide additional opportunities for visitor access during the renovation project. A robust program will be presented in the Hamilton Building throughout the duration of construction, including complimentary general admission on Free First Saturdays. School tours and youth general admission will continue to be free under the museum’s Free for Kids program, and upcoming special exhibitions include Stampede: Animals in Art, Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism and Degas: A Passion for Perfection, among many other programs and presentations. For the latest updates on the project, visit


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 collaborative project called Action X Community X Togetherness. 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. Deal and Pourier explore this theme with 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.


Degas and Dance

Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Degas scholars Richard Kendall and Jill DeVonyar will lecture on Degas's fascination with the world of ballet. Kendall is considered one of the world's leading scholars on Degas, and the lecture will be accompanied by former ballerina DeVonyer's demonstration of the various poses Degas took pains to depict. The lecture anticipates the museum's exhibition, Degas: A Passion for Perfection (opening Feb. 12, 2018). The lecture is included in general admission; seating on a first-come basis. Sponsored by Friends of Painting and Sculpture, a DAM support group.

Edgar Degas, Four Ballet Dancers on Stage, 1885/90. Oil paint on canvas; 28-3/4 x 36-1/4 in. Gift, 1950; INV. 82 P. Collection of Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Assis Chateaubriand, Brazil. Photo by João Musa.

Steam Baths and Caves with Dr. John Henderson

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

Both before and after the Spanish invasion, steam baths in Mesoamerican households were used for a variety of hygienic, medicinal and ritual activities, especially involving women in late stages of pregnancy, new mothers and infants. Pre-Columbian imagery and archaeological remains of elaborate steambaths in public spaces point to functions and meanings that did not survive the Spanish invasion. Ancient Mesoamerican politicians made effective use of steambath symbolism, along with closely related ideas about caves, to bolster and legitimize their power. Free for Alianza members and students with ID; $5 DAM members; $10 others. Tickets available at the door. Sponsored by Alianza de las Artes Americanas, a DAM support group.

Fall 2017 Logan Lecture Series: 10 Years of Artists on Art

The fall 2017 series celebrates ten years of Logan Lectures with four artists who share global perspectives in their interdisciplinary practices.

  • Sept. 15: Coco Fusco (at the McNichols Building; co-sponsored by the Biennial of the Americas
  • Sept. 27: Enrique Martinez Celaya (with 10th Anniversary Celebration and toast to the Logans)
  • Nov. 1: Chido Johnson (tentative)
  • Nov. 29: Xiaoze Xie (co-sponsored by Asian Art Association and Curator’s Circle)

All lectures at 6 p.m., doors open at 5:30 p.m. Individual series lectures are free for DAMC members & students with ID; $10 DAM volunteers, $15 DAM members, $20 nonmembers. Asian Art Association members and Curator's Circle Friends admitted free to Nov. 29 lecture. Sponsored by DAM Contemporaries, a DAM support group.

Ganesha, 600s-700s, Cambodia. Sandstone; 29.1 x 24.8 in. Lent by the National Museum of Cambodia.

Cambodian Cultural Heritage: Pre-Angkor to Today

Sept. 26, 6:30-7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)

Join Dr. Sovath Bong, archaeologist and regent, Royal University of Fine Arts, Kingdom of Cambodia, to explore the wonders of Cambodia’s past. Archaeological research in Cambodia began in the late 19th century, revealing the hidden treasure of now-famous Angkor Wat, the largest religious site in the world. Many pre-Angkor (before 1100 CE) objects—including statuary of Vishnu, Krishna, Balarāma and Ganesha—expressed a strong Indian influence. Thousands of artifacts have been recovered and are treasured cultural and World Heritage objects conserved with care today. Lecture and reception following are free, but space is limited and reservations are requested by calling 720-913-0130 or visiting For details, call 720-913-0040 or email Sponsored by the Asian Art Association, a DAM support group, and Curator’s Circle. Supported by the W. S. Jackson Fund.

Untitled: Stories

Sept. 29, 6–10 p.m.

Show your true colors or look the other way at a transformative night of personal identities and powerful change at Untitled: Stories. 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.


Free First Saturday / CelebrARTE on Free First Saturdays

Sept. 2, 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! 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. 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

Denver Preschool Program 10th Birthday

Sept. 2, 11 a.m.3:30 p.m.

Preschool-aged arts and education will be celebrated at the museum for the Denver Preschool Program’s 10th birthday. Bring your little ones to take delight in special readings by local celebrities in English and Spanish and spin the preschool trivia prize wheel for a chance to win a prize! A limited supply of complimentary reading and artmaking activity books will be available the day of the event. Stop by the event and receive a special one-day code for a 25% discount for The Shop in the North Building. General museum admission free for everyone today.

Foxy and Shmoxy: Art Detectives are back!

Sept. 10, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.

Two smart and hilarious foxes are back from their summer break, rested and 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, visit the Family Activity Cart, pick up a letter from the Fox Box and follow the riddles into the galleries. Included with general admission, which is free for youth 18 and younger. No reservations are required.


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 September 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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