Stampede: Animals in Art at Denver Art Museum Explores Cross-Cultural Role of Animals Depicted in Visual Art

More than 300 objects to showcase animals as signs of power, storytelling symbols and beloved companions throughout history

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) today announced that it will present Stampede: Animals in Art, an expansive, large-scale 20,000 square-foot exhibition spanning floors three and four of the museum’s Frederic C. Hamilton Building. Featuring approximately 320 objects drawn from every collection across nine curatorial departments, the exhibition will explore the presence of animals in art across centuries and cultures. Stampede will open in two stages, with level three opening Sept. 10, 2017, and fully opening by Dec. 3, 2017 on level four.

Frank Mechau, Wild Horses (detail), 1936. Tempera paint on plywood; 45-3/4 x 102 in. Denver Art Museum: gift of Mrs. Frank Mechau, 1972.27F.

Stampede will reveal commonalities in the DAM’s encyclopedic permanent collection and provide visitors a totally new experience,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director at the DAM. “Our museum is a leader in developing comprehensive, cross-departmental exhibitions and we are thrilled to explore this approach through a new lens and on a grand scale.”

Spearheaded by John Lukavic, associate curator of Native Arts, and Florence Müller, Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and curator of fashion at the DAM, Stampede will create an opportunity for visitors to discover and consider the role animals play through cross-cultural themes, such as personal connections and relationships 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 feature visitor favorites including 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.

“In exploring our collections for unifying themes across time and place, we found a myriad of animal-related artworks, which led us to reflect on how apparent it is that animals have captivated artists throughout history,” said Lukavic. “We look forward to presenting a theme that we feel can easily speak to the majority of our visitors in an unexpected, thought-provoking way.”

Elliot Erwitt, New York City, 1974. Gelatin silver print; sheet height: 20 x sheet width: 24 in. Denver Art Museum: Balan and Joe Joe in honor of Hal Gould, 2011.245. © Elliot Erwitt/Magnum Photos

Visitors will be able to try their hand at drawing on art horse bench easels in the gallery and spend time closely looking at smaller objects in the DAM’s collection in a “cabinet of curiosities.” Stampede also will feature an interactive space where visitors can play and learn about the creative process behind the Never Alone video game. Created by Native North Alaskan storytellers in partnership with developers, the game will highlight human to animal relationships and transformations. Other interactive, hands-on artmaking activities related to the exhibition will be available in the new 3-D Studio located on level one of the Hamilton Building.

The exhibition will be on view through spring 2019. Stampede will be included in general admission and free for members and youth 18 and under.

Exhibition Organizers and Sponsors

Stampede: Animals in Art is organized by the DAM. It is presented with the generous support of the donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign and 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.

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About 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

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