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Lectures and Talks

Great Women and the Arts of the West

The Petrie Institute of Western American Art is pleased to announce its 15th annual Symposium, Great Women and the Arts of the West on Wednesday, January 6. With this virtual symposium we hope to highlight the ways in which critical interventions over the last 50 years have changed the field while recognizing the work that still needs to be done to acknowledge the important, foundational, and groundbreaking work done by women artists, philanthropists, and volunteers in the field of the arts.  


Image Credit: Ethel Magafan (American, 1916 1993), Springtime in the Mountains, about 1961. Tempera paint on board, 40 x 50 in. Julie and Robert Lewis Collection at the Denver Art Museum, 2018.656.

Mexican Modernism in Context Session #2

Mexican Modernism in Context Session #2: Gunther Gerzso: A Set Designer Who Painted

The distinctive style of Gunther Gerzso's art was a consequence of his experience as a set designer in the movies and the theater. He was primarily influenced by pre-Hispanic Mexican architecture and modern European art. Jacques Gelman employed Gerzso in many film productions and also collected his paintings. In this course session, learn more about Gerzso's life and art and the artistic spheres he worked in during his career. 

Presented by J. Michael Gerzso, independent software developer specializing in architectural CAD, maintainer of the Gene and Gunther Gerzso Archive, and eldest son of the artist. 

Mexican Modernism in Context Session #3

Mexican Modernism in Context Session #3: Not Just Frida: The Women of Mexican Modernism

An era regarded as a renaissance in Mexican art, Mexican Modernism was shaped by not just the grandeur of politically charged murals by los Tres Grandes or the deeply reflective self-portraits by the now globally-known Frida Kahlo, but a series of women artists who challenged the existing narratives and styles, each forging their own path through representations of country, psyche, culture, and womanhood. In this course session, explore the diversity of works by María Izquierdo, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Lola Alvarez Bravo, and Frida, of course. 
Presented by Tariana Naves-Nieves, Director, Cultural Affairs, Denver Arts & Venues, Latin American Art Specialist and former Curator of Latin American Art for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Museo de las Americas, a series of private art collections, and Curatorial Associate for the Denver Art Museum.

Mexican Modernism in Context Session #4

Mexican Modernism in Context Session #4: Chicano/a Muralism of Colorado 

At the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, Chicano/a artists sought to instill a sense of cultural pride in their neighborhoods throughout Colorado. Serving as cultural place makers, artists began to paint murals to define safe spaces in their communities after years of displacement and cultural abasement. In this fourth and final course session, discover how the Mexican Mural Movement inspired young activists/artists to use murals to describe with bold, vibrant imagery their sense of identity, family, and community. Discover the distinct Chicano/a mural aesthetic that developed to describe complex narratives to symbolize their heritage and ancestral roots in Colorado. 
Presented by Lucha Martínez de Luna, Director of Chicano/a Murals of Colorado Project, Curator of Latino Heritage at History Colorado, and Director of the O'na Tök Archaeological Project, Chiapas, Mexico.

Mexican Modernism in Context: Full Course

In this four-part online course, dig deeper into the themes and artists represented in the exhibition Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism. With local experts as your guides in this virtual program, look more closely at the artworks on view, discover the rich historical contexts that informed their production, and explore the exhibition armed with newfound knowledge and critical perspectives.  

Tuesdays November 10, December 1, 15, and January 5, 6 - 7 pm.

On Behalf of the Family: A Pole Raising Ceremony at the Denver Art Museum

This lecture examines collaboration and stewardship, the importance of cultural protocols, and the intergenerational transmission of knowledge in the context of a Haida totem pole raising ceremony held at the Denver Art Museum in November 2019. Collaborating with members of the Wallace family, direct descendants of the original owners of the house frontal pole and memorial poles in its collection, the Denver Art Museum organized the event to honor the family s legacy and the history of the poles. Chris Patrello will outline the planning process, events, and outcomes of the event, and situate this within the broader constellation of Haida cultural practices. Combined with an analysis of Haida oratory, song, and dance, he will also interrogate the ways in which collaborations that honor Haida cultural protocols can engender meaningful relationships between institutions and originating communities.

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