Fritz Scholder once vowed never to paint Indians. He claimed he was not an American Indian artist, but he was. He claimed his art was not political, but it polarized the art world. For every position he took, he also explored the opposite perspective.
Super Indian: Fritz Scholder, 1967–1980, is a groundbreaking exhibition of more than 40 rarely seen, monumental paintings and lithographs by the renowned twentieth-century artist. It is the first to explore how Scholder blended figurative and pop art influences to create colorful, compelling, and revolutionary images.
Though he was influenced by abstract expressionists including Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, as well as painters Francis Bacon, Francisco de Goya, and Paul Gauguin, Fritz Scholder’s work was purely his own. His art reveals the raw reality of being an American Indian.
This exhibition draws its title from the iconic painting Super Indian No. 2 (above), which is one of nine Scholder paintings promised as gifts to the DAM by collectors and museum supporters Vicki and Kent Logan. It begins with Scholder’s controversial Indian series, started in 1967, and ends with his 1980 Indian Land paintings, which marked a seismic shift in palette and subject matter.
Visitors to Super Indian will be taken on a thematic exploration following the development of Scholder’s style and themes: Early Indian series, pop art, psychological portraiture, stereotypes and representation and dark, mysterious subjects. Following its Denver debut, the exhibition will travel to the Phoenix Art Museum (Feb. 26, 2016–June 5, 2016) and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas (June 23, 2016–Sept. 18, 2016).