Mark Bradford (American, b. 1961) Realness, 2016 Mixed media on canvas 108 1/8 x 168 1/2 in. Denver Art Museum: Purchased with funds from anonymous donors; funds from Vicki and Kent Logan by exchange; Baryn, Daniel and Jonathan Futa; Craig Ponzio; Ralph L. and Florence R. Burgess Trust; DAM Contemporaries; Volunteer Endowment Fund; Suzanne Farver and Clint Van Zee; Andrea and William Hankinson; Amy Harmon; Arlene and Barry Hirschfeld; Lu and Chris Law; Sharon and J. Landis Martin; Tina Patterson and Bill Cottingham; Amanda J. Precourt; Judy and Ken Robins; Annalee and Wagner Schorr; Ellen and Morris Susman; Tina Walls; and Margaret and Glen Wood) , (Temporary Loan, 11/28/2016, Purchased with funds from anonymous donors, Vicki and Kent Logan, Baryn, Daniel and Jonathan Futa, Craig Ponzio, Ralph L. and Florence R. Burgess Trust, DAM Contemporaries, Suzanne Farver and Clint Van Zee, Andrea and William Hankinson, Amy Harmon, Arlene and Barry Hirschfeld, Lu and Chris Law, Sharon and J. Landis Martin, Tina Patterson and Bill Cottingham, Amanda J. Precourt, Judy and Ken Robins, Annalee and Wagner Schorr, Ellen and Morris Susman, Tina Walls, and funds from various donors by exchange, 2017.29A-B Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth © Mark Bradford

Modern and Contemporary Art

Mark Bradford (American, b. 1961) Realness, 2016 Mixed media on canvas 108 1/8 x 168 1/2 in. Denver Art Museum: Purchased with funds from anonymous donors; funds from Vicki and Kent Logan by exchange; Baryn, Daniel and Jonathan Futa; Craig Ponzio; Ralph L. and Florence R. Burgess Trust; DAM Contemporaries; Volunteer Endowment Fund; Suzanne Farver and Clint Van Zee; Andrea and William Hankinson; Amy Harmon; Arlene and Barry Hirschfeld; Lu and Chris Law; Sharon and J. Landis Martin; Tina Patterson and Bill Cottingham; Amanda J. Precourt; Judy and Ken Robins; Annalee and Wagner Schorr; Ellen and Morris Susman; Tina Walls; and Margaret and Glen Wood) , (Temporary Loan, 11/28/2016, Purchased with funds from anonymous donors, Vicki and Kent Logan, Baryn, Daniel and Jonathan Futa, Craig Ponzio, Ralph L. and Florence R. Burgess Trust, DAM Contemporaries, Suzanne Farver and Clint Van Zee, Andrea and William Hankinson, Amy Harmon, Arlene and Barry Hirschfeld, Lu and Chris Law, Sharon and J. Landis Martin, Tina Patterson and Bill Cottingham, Amanda J. Precourt, Judy and Ken Robins, Annalee and Wagner Schorr, Ellen and Morris Susman, Tina Walls, and funds from various donors by exchange, 2017.29A-B Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth © Mark Bradford

Collection Highlights

Amedeo Modigliani

Portrait de Femme

Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait de Femme, 1918
Denver Art Museum Collection: The Charles Francis Hendrie Memorial Collection, 1966.180
Photograph courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

Robert Colescott

School Days
Robert Colescott; School Days; 1991.56 School Days is a rich, dense narrative painting that deals with interracial inequality and tension by juxtaposing white and black stereotypes. Neither group is depicted in a flattering light. “Unfortunately, stereotypical images are part of the American heritage,” Colescott writes. “I had to come to terms with it for myself, ultimately controlling the images by making them say some things for me. First I made these paintings and drawings as messages from myself to myself, getting in touch with my own fears, frustration, anger…I have no doctrine. I want to talk about the foolishness of it all. I want to encourage people to relate [to] rather than to punish one another.” (Text from The First Hundred Years)

Robert Colescott, School Days, 1988. Denver Art Museum: Funds from NBT Foundation, 1991.56. © Estate of Robert Colescott

Herbert Bayer

colorado mural
Bauhaus master Herbert Bayer championed a new direction in modern American art and design. He lived in Colorado for 28 years—some of the most productive and influential years of his career. When he left Colorado for California, he gave the Denver Art Museum the beginning of what would become the largest public collection of his work anywhere. The collection demonstrates the breadth of his work in all media and his lifetime commitment to the Bauhaus ideal of total design. In the 1940s, Bayer became fascinated by the inner structure of mountains, particularly the movements within the earth’s crust. This painting depicts an abstract vision of both the inside and outside of a mountain, including its snow-covered peak.

Herbert Bayer
Colorado Mural, 1948
Oil paint on canvas
Gift of the Estate of Herbert Bayer, 1986.1917

Nick Cave

Untitled

The soundsuits are a product of Cave’s ongoing hunt for flea/thrift-market finds, his daring use of ordinary objects, and his homage to handcrafted textiles. Cave’s inclusion of everyday objects, like we see in the piece, such as vintage toys and textiles makes his work accessible to a wide audience while also questioning society’s valuing of these often discarded everyday objects. Usually the soundsuits have a front and back but in this more recent work, he has contrasted these opposing sides on opposite sides of a seesaw.  This duality represents a double identity in Cave’s work that illustrates his interest in creating a metaphor for our ability for change or, as Cave puts it, to “step out of ourselves.” Built from an accumulation of found objects, the suits also become a mirror of our culture’s excess. The once-discarded surplus of society is transformed into objects of desire and human proportions. 

Cave has been a pioneer among a growing number of artists who have been exploring the intersection of craft, performance art, and fine art since the turn of the twenty-first century. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Institute of Art in 1982 and MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1989.

Nick Cave, Untitled, 2013.

Mixed media, including mannequin, fabric, hot pads, vintage toys, synthetic hair and seesaw.

Denver Art Museum: Purchased with Modern and Contemporary acquisition funds and the support of Vicki and Kent Logan, 2013.76A-F.

© Nick Cave. Photo by James Prinz Photography. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Sui Jianguo

Made in China

In the early 1990s, Sui Jianguo began precisely recreating tiny toy dinosaurs, but in monumental proportions. He conceived of his huge dinosaurs after visiting Shenzen, the Chinese city where these toy dinosaurs are mass-produced. The artist transforms these cheap, plastic objects into monumental works of art. The phrase “Made in China”—featured prominently on the dinosaur’s stomach— is well-known. In fact, “Made in China” is more recognizable than any Chinese brand name. Sui Jianguo’s work participates in the politics of high art and consumerism and raises questions about what has value, who is selling, and who is buying?

Sui Jianguo, Made in China, 2005; edition 1 of 4. Painted fiberglass. Gift from Vicki and Kent Logan to the Collection of the Denver Art Museum. © Sui Jianguo

Robert Motherwell

Africa No. 2

Approved, abbreviated caption:
Robert Motherwell, Africa No. 2, 1964–65. Acrylic paint on canvas. Acquired in memory of Rex L. Morgan through the generosity of the Dedalus Foundation and the following donors: Florence R. & Ralph L. Burgess Trust, Laurencin Deaccessions Fund, Vance Kirkland Acquistions Fund, and the Marion G. Hendrie Fund. © Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Remaining donor line to include, if needed:
Major memorial gifts from Joan E. Anderman, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh R. Catherwood, Mr. and Mrs. John B. Chafee, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Congdon, Mr. and Mrs. Cortlandt S. Dietler, Suzanne Farver, Katherine L. Lawrence, Jan and Frederick Mayer, Caroline Morgan, Linda Ringsby, Mr. and Mrs. Walter S. Rosenberry III, Sally H. Story, and three anonymous donors. Additional funding from the Motherwell Angels: Mark and Polly Addison, Philip and Nancy Anschutz, Nancy Lake-Benson, H. Kirk Brown III, Robin and Steven Chotin, Colorado National Bank, John and Lisa Dorn, William L. and Dr. Margaret B. Dorn, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis W. Douglas Jr., Duncan Oil Inc., First Interstate Bank of Denver, Charles and Diane Gallagher, Dorothy Strear Goodstein, Diane and Bob Greenlee, Fred and Jane Hamilton, Dr. Charles and Linda Hamlin, Mark and Diana Hayden, Hinckley & Schmitt Inc., J. Charles Jordy Jr., Key Bank of Colorado, Elizabeth T. Kirkpatrick, Amie Knox and Jim Kelley, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Kurtz, Edward and Margaret Leede, Susan and John W. Madden III, Jan and Frederick Mayer, McClain-Finlon Advertising Inc., Lilly and Paul Merage, Larry and Carol Mizel, Andrea Pollack, Priscilla Press and Joel Ehrlich, Judy and Ken Robins, Barbara and George Schmitt, Tremont Corporation, Vail Valley Arts Council, Ginny Williams, and Robbi and Carl Williams. 1994.1141

Juan Gris

Nature morte à la bouteille de Bordeaux (Still life with a bottle of Bordeaux)
Juan Gris Nature morte a la bouteille de Bordeaux (Still life with a bottle of Bordeaux) painting 1919 canvas, oil paint Oil on canvas Ch/Grant checklist FH: 40in; FW: 33.75in; FD: 4.125in; IH: 32in; IW: 25.5in Gift of Marion G. Hendrie, 1966.176 Juan Gris was an early convert to Cubism, and often went to the studio Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque shared from 1908 until 1912. From 1916-1919, after extensive work in papiers collés (cut paper collage), Gris undertook a systematic analysis of the Cubist style. He reduced the number of objects represented and used fewer simultaneous views, resulting in flat but legible forms. Gris described the works from this period as “flat colored architecture.”

Juan Gris, Nature morte à la bouteille de Bordeaux (Still life with a bottle of Bordeaux), 1919
Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of Marion G. Hendrie, 1966.176
Photograph courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

Henri Matisse

Two Sisters

Henri Matisse was a French artist known for his boldly colored compositions and his fame among the Fauvist art movement. Matisse constantly strived to simplify his forms, emphasizing contour and eliminating modeling. His forms were designated by flat planes of color in landscapes without perspective. Following trips to Morocco in early 1913 and Nice in 1916, Matisse painted a number of studies with his model Lorette along with her sister or sisters in oriental costume. The portrait of Lorette and her sister, Two Sisters, relates to these paintings done in southern France and Morocco but without costumes.

Henri Matisse, Two Sisters, 1917, Oil on canvas, 23 1/8” x 28 1/4", Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of Horace Havemeyer for the William D. Lippitt Memorial Collection by exchange, 1950.42

Marsden Hartley

The Bright Breakfast of Minnie

Marsden Hartley 
The Bright Breakfast of Minnie, 1915
Oil on cardboard 
Gift of Morton D. May, 1952.51
 

Antony Gormley

Quantum Cloud XXXIII
Using materials like lead, dirt, and, here, stainless steel rods, British sculptor Antony Gormley makes sculptures of the body (often his own) to investigate the many aspects of the human condition. His Quantum Cloud series departs drastically from earlier male figures cast in lead or modeled from dirt. In Quantum Cloud XXXIII, a near-bodiless arrangement of floating rods explodes into the world around it.

Antony Gormley, Quantum Cloud XXXIII, 2000. Stainless steel; 128-3/8 x 105 x 60-1/4 in.
Denver Art Museum: Funds from NBT Foundation in honor of Lewis I. Sharp, 2001.43. © Antony Gormley

Zeng Fanzhi

Mask Series No. 10

Masks became powerful symbols for Zeng Fanzhi, who used them to explore individuality and express the alienation he experienced when he moved to Beijing. “I saw myself in that mask, saw that in my heart there were a lot of complexities,” he said.

The masks might imply that the figures are concealing their true selves, but Zeng’s statement suggests more complicated realities of human existence. Given their clothing, postures, and masked expressions, what story do you think Zeng is telling? 

 

 

© Zeng Fanzhi

Zeng Fanzhi, Mask Series No. 10, 1998. Oil paint on canvas, 70 ¾ x 78 ¾ in.

See more Modern and Contemporary art

Browse objects from the modern and contemporary art collection in our online collection.

Publications

The modern and contemporary art department at the Denver Art Museum publishes catalogs, collection guides, and brochures that expand upon significant exhibitions and collection objects. Find a list of key publications below that serve as an academic record of the museum’s exhibition and collecting histories. Serving as a testament to the museum’s commitment to scholarship and interpretation, these publications provide an opportunity to enrich the experiences of visitors and audiences from afar.

Publications:

Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze. Rebecca R. Hart. Denver Art Museum, 2019.

Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place / artistad contemporáneos exploran el concepto de lugar. Rebecca R. 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.

Painting portrait of Kent Logan on the left and Vicki Logan on the right

Francesco Clemente, Portrait of Kent Logan and Vicki Logan, 2005. Oil on canvas, Gift from Vicki and Kent Logan to the Collection of the Denver Art Museum.

The Logan Collection

Vicki and Kent Logan's generous patronage has had a profound impact on the museum and on Denver’s larger contemporary art community. Completely aligned with the existing direction of the modern and contemporary department, the works reflect the Logans' global perspective and represent some of the most exciting and groundbreaking work that was created in the 1990s and early twenty-first century.

Two women in conversation on stage at a museum lecture

The Logan Lecture Series

Since 2007, the Denver Art Museum has presented over 150 artist talks as part of the Logan Lecture Series, which is generously sponsored by patrons Vicki and Kent Logan. Logan Lecture artists have included Ed Ruscha, Katharina Grosse, El Anatsui, George Condo, Coco Fusco, Fred Wilson, Jordan Casteel, and Anthony McCall. Artists are invited to discuss their innovative work and respective backgrounds, demonstrating the wide range of disciplines and themes that encompass contemporary art.

Gallery view of an Eyes On exhibition

The Eyes On Series

Eyes On, a focused multi-year contemporary art series sponsored by Vicki and Kent Logan, showcases the work of contemporary artists who we believe should have broader exposure to our audiences.

Man sitting and reading on a bench in the galleries

Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive (CS)

The Herbert Bayer Collection contains over 8,000 works of art and is a part of the Denver Art Museum’s permanent collection. Ranging from photographs to paintings to poster prints, the Bayer Collection encompasses several departments including photography, architecture and design, as well as modern and contemporary art.

The Herbert Bayer Archive comprises extensive documentary material relating to the Bauhaus master. In September 2018, the 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 branch.

Having lived in Colorado for many years, Herbert Bayer designed the historic campus at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies. The institute builds upon Bayer’s legacy by opening the Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies in summer 2022 with funds donated by Lynda and Stewart Resnick.

Become a Denver Art Museum member

Membership and Museum Friends

Membership at the Denver Art Museum not only provides you discounts and access, but also the satisfaction of knowing your support helps us preserve and share art with present and future generations. Become a member today and see just how much the museum has to offer!

Are you interested in a specific type of art, while also enjoying opportunities to participate across the museum? If so, consider deepening your support by adding Museum Friends to your membership. Museum Friends enjoy access to free lectures, a deeper dive into a department of interest, and invitations to social gatherings for that department of interest.

Lit up hallway of the newly renovated Martin Building

The Martin Building Project

The gallery for this collection is closed during the Martin Building renovation project. Standing seven stories tall, the Martin Building will house collection galleries, a conservation laboratory, interactive classroom space, a family activity center, two restaurants, and the brand new Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center.