Renowned for its impressive collection of modern masterworks and outstanding contemporary objects, the modern and contemporary collection represents more than a century of artistic innovation. Encompassing over 12,500 works made since 1900, the museum’s collection includes works by such artistic luminaries as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as 33 paintings, drawings, and collages by the acclaimed abstract-expressionist Robert Motherwell. The collection also holds representative works from the major post-war art movements, including abstract expressionism, minimalism, pop art, conceptual art, and contemporary realism.
In September 2018, the Herbert Bayer Archive was transferred to the Denver Public Library. It is now available seven days a week in the Western History and Genealogy Department at the Central Library. To arrange for access to the Bayer Archive while the collection finding aid is being updated, please contact the Western History and Genealogy Department either by phone, 720-865-1821, or email.
During the North Building renovation project the Modern & Contemporary Art galleries are closed. Please view select pieces from the Denver Art Museum’s modern and contemporary art collection in these exhibitions currently on view:
- See the Eyes On Exhibition overview page for the latest information on the multi-year contemporary art series.
EXPLORE THE COLLECTION ONLINE: Browse artworks from the modern and contemporary art collection anytime. Check back often for additions and updates.
Collection of Polly and Mark Addison
Among the early supporters of the newly formed department were Polly and Mark Addison, who joined other enthusiasts to found the Alliance for Contemporary Art (now named DAM Contemporaries) in 1978, a group whose fundraising activities have helped the department underwrite many important purchases and programs. In the early 2000s, the Denver Art Museum’s acquisition efforts were enhanced when the Addisons initiated an active gift-giving program. Colorado residents and long-time museum supporters, the Addisons are passionate, intelligent collectors of contemporary art in all media who generously share their finds—from time-based work and sculpture to installation art and photography—with the museum. Audience favorites such as Jim Green’s Singing Sinks (located on level one of the North Building) and Charles Sandison’s Chamber (conceived of and installed for the exhibitions Embrace! and Blink! Light, Sound and the Moving Image) are among the many important works the Addisons’ support has brought to the museum.
Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan
Learn more on the Logan Collection page.
Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive
The Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive contains over 8,000 works of art and design, along with extensive documentary material. This internationally important repository is dedicated to the legacy of the Austrian-born Bauhaus master who lived in Colorado for 28 years. The core of this collection and archive came through the artist’s bequest, and scholars visit from around the world to engage in research here.
The Bayer Collection and Archive is closed because of the museum’s North Building renovation project. We regret that we are unable to access this collection at this time.
Born in 1900 in Austria, Herbert Bayer immigrated to the United States in 1938. He moved from New York to Aspen in 1946 at the behest of Walter Paepcke, chairman of the Container Corporation of America. Bayer’s influence is still evident today, especially at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies.
Join a 45-minute public tour of Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze, offered daily at 2 pm, February 3 through August 18. Included with general admission, reservations not required. More
Join artist Anna Kaye in our fun and informal creative art sessions. Bring a drawing or sketching project of your own or get started on something new. More
Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze features nearly 30 paintings by Denver-born artist Jordan Casteel, who is now based in Harlem, New York. This presentation represents Casteel’s first major museum exhibition, and provides audiences with a first look at new work by one of the most acclaimed emerging artists working today. More
Jonathan Saiz’s installation #WhatisUtopia is comprised of a column covered with 10,000 tiny drawings, paintings, and sculptures. By definition, utopia is “an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens.” The artist employs social media to spark conversation and document responses about our ability to re-envision and embody a modern utopia. More than 10,000 artworks were made to be given away after the end of the exhibition. More
Eyes On: Erika Harrsch features a single contemporary installation titled Under the Same Sky… We Dream. Harrsch (who is based in New York and was born and raised in Mexico City) first exhibited Under the Same Sky… We Dream in El Paso in 2017 just as regulations became more stringent for those seeking asylum in the United States. The installation also was featured at B3: The Biennial of the Moving Image in Frankfurt, Germany, that same year. More
News & Stories
On Saturday, February 23, artists, scholars, and curators will meet at the Denver Art Museum for a symposium on Who Owns Culture? Appropriation & Appreciation in the Global Art World. As a global art museum with artworks from many cultures around the world, the DAM is proud to contribute to this complex and ongoing discussion. More
See the new exhibition Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze. Play, imagine, and make art to take home. Listen to the stories behind a special object at the bilingual program Cuentos del Arte. And much more! More
Ashley Nason will be in the Print Studio demonstrating screen print on lithography November 17-18.
Mami Yamamoto will be in the Print Studio demonstrating monotype printmaking techniques October 27-28. More
Chinese-American artist Xiaoze Xie talks about China, media censorship, and banned books during his Logan Lecture. Visit Eyes On: Xiaoze Xie through July 8, 2018. More
The Denver Art Museum recently announced that three curators joined the museum. Below is a brief introduction. Stay tuned for more information and opportunities to get to know them and their growing art collections.
Tianlong Jiao, Joseph de Heer Curator of Asian Art More
Unless otherwise noted, all publications were published by the Denver Art Museum. Many of the titles are available to purchase in the Shop.
- Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place/artistas contemporáneos exploran el concepto de lugar. Rebecca S. Hart. Denver Art Museum, 2017.
- Women of Abstract Expressionism. Edited by Joan Marter; Gwen Chanzit, curator. Denver Art Museum in association with Yale University Press, 2016.
- Nick Cave: Sojourn. Kyle MacMillan and William Morrow. Denver Art Museum, 2013.
- Collecting Ideas: Modern & Contemporary Works from the Polly and Mark Addison Collection. Nancy B. Tieken. Denver Art Museum, 2013.
- Companion to Focus: Robert Motherwell from the Collection. Nancy B. Tieken. Denver Art Museum, 2011.
- Companion to Focus: The Figure, Art from the Logan Collection. Nancy B. Tieken. Denver Art Museum, 2011.
- Overthrown: Clay Without Limits. Volumes I and II. Gwen Chanzit. Denver Art Museum, 2011.
- Companion to Blink! Light, Sound and the Moving Image. Jill Desmond. Denver Art Museum, 2011.
- Embrace! Volumes I and II. Christoph Heinrich, Denver Art Museum, 2009–2010.
- RADAR: Selections from the Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan. Dianne Perry Vanderlip, Gwen Chanzit, et al. Denver Art Museum, 2007.
- From Bauhaus to Aspen: Herbert Bayer and Modernist Design in America. Gwen F. Chanzit. Boulder: Johnson Books, 2005.
- The View from Denver: Contemporary American Art from the Denver Art Museum. Dianne Perry Vanderlip et al. Denver Art Museum/Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, 1997.
- Visions of America: Landscape as Metaphor in the Late Twentieth Century. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with the Denver Art Museum and the Columbus Museum of Art, 1994.
- Rebecca R. Hart, Vicki and Kent Logan Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
- Danielle St. Peter, Interpretive Specialist
- Julie Augur, Adjunct Curator, Drawings
- Shannon Corrigan , Curatorial Assistant
- Jennifer Miklosi, Contemporary Alliance Manager
- Kaitlin Maestas, Curatorial Assistant 2015-2017
- Hugh Grant, Adjunct Curator, Kirkland Collection
- Gwen F. Chanzit, PhD, Curator Emerita of Modern Art and the Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive 1980-2016
- William Morrow, Polly and Mark Addison Associate Curator of Contemporary Art 2012–2014
- Jessica Brunecky, DAM Contemporaries 2010–2014
- Christoph Heinrich, The Polly and Mark Addison Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art 2007–2009
- Dianne Vanderlip, The Polly and Mark Addison Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art 1978–2007