Denver Art Museum’s Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion to Depart Following 6 Years of Contributions

Curator and Scholar Florence Müller Transformed the DAM’s Textile Art and Fashion Department into a National Powerhouse

DENVER—April 28, 2022—The Denver Art Museum (DAM) today announced that Florence Müller, Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion, will leave the museum in May 2022 to pursue projects as an independent curator. Since joining the DAM in 2015 to helm the museum’s Textile Art and Fashion Department, Müller built the department’s focus on fashion, growing the collection, organizing critically acclaimed exhibitions, and overseeing the reimagining of the Textile Art and Fashion galleries.

Müller was first introduced to the Denver Art Museum as the curator of the 2012 traveling exhibition Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective. In 2015, she moved to Denver to formally join the DAM’s curatorial department. During her time at the museum, she built a significant fashion collection for the DAM through national and international acquisitions. In 2021, she oversaw the reopening of the DAM’s Avenir Textile Art and Fashion Galleries as part of the larger campus transformation project, encompassing 4,451 square feet of gallery space and 1,161 square feet of studio space devoted to temporary presentations and conservation.

Mannequins displaying fashion in the Carla Fernandez exhibition
Gallery view of Carla Fernández Casa de Moda: A Mexican Fashion Manifesto, a new exhibition on view May 1–Sept. 5, 2022.

Müller was also responsible for organizing major exhibitions, including Dior: From Paris to the World; Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s–90s; Drawn to Glamour: Fashion Illustrations by Jim Howard; Paris to Hollywood: The Fashion and Influence of Véronique and Gregory Peck; and Suited: Empowered Feminine Fashion. Most recently, she curated Carla Fernández Casa de Moda: A Mexican Fashion Manifesto, a new exhibition on view May 1–Sept. 5, 2022, that showcases the work of Carla Fernández, a pioneer in ethical fashion who works in close collaboration with craftsmen and guardians of thousand-year-old traditions to fulfill her contemporary vision of fashion.

"We are fortunate to have had Florence’s vision and talent in-house at the Denver Art Museum for these past six years," said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. "Her program has been enthusiastically received and has provided many opportunities to grow the museum’s permanent collection. We look forward to seeing the mark Florence continues to make on the art and fashion world, as well as how the Denver Art Museum’s textile art and fashion program evolves into its next chapter."

"During my six years at the DAM, I had the opportunity to work with an amazing team who helped me to bring ambitious projects to Denver," Müller said. "I enjoyed my time curating exhibitions on new and diverse topics that helped to develop the permanent collections of the museum. With the reopening of the Textile Art and Fashion Galleries last fall, I feel that now is an opportune moment to pursue other projects, and I look forward to watching the museum continue to grow its fashion program."

Prior to joining the DAM Müller served as the director and curator of UFAC at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, as well as an editor, journalist, author, consultant and professor of Fashion Culture at the French Institute of Fashion.

An anonymous $25 million endowment gift to support the Textile Art and Fashion program received in fall 2021 ensures that the ambition of the department and its work will not only continue, but grow, well into the future. The museum will initiate an international search for a new curator of Textile Art and Fashion in the coming weeks.

About the Textile Art and Fashion Collection

The Textile Art and Fashion department encompasses more than 5,000 objects from Asia, Europe and North and South America. Collection works range from archaeological textiles to contemporary works of art in fiber and fashion from the 18th century to today.

The origins of the department date back to 1927 with the gift of a Saltillo serape and a Kashmir shawl to the museum. Over the ensuing decades, the diversity of the collection grew dramatically under the tenure of several curators, alternately specializing in textiles and fashion, starting with the appointment of the first curator, Lydia Roberts Dunham, in 1955. Following major acquisition and publication support by the Neusteter Fashion, Costume and Textile Institute starting in 1962, Imelda Gatton DeGraw served as curator from 1965 to 1992. DeGraw was followed by Alice Zrebiec, who curated the collection through 2014.

In 2012, the Avenir Foundation endowed the department, which allowed for the remodeling of the sixth-floor textile art and fashion gallery, which was completed in 2013 and includes the PreVIEW textile conservation lab and the Nancy Lake Benson Thread Studio. In 2015, Florence Müller became the department’s curator and has successfully grown the fashion collection through international and local acquisitions. In 2021, an anonymous $25 million endowment gift was announced, which will support programming, collection acquisitions and outreach for the department.

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 mission is to enrich lives by sparking creative thinking and expression. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro voters 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 www.denverartmuseum.org.

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