Portrayal: Figurative Art in the Madden and University Art Collections

Opening reception: October 15, 2021 5-8 PM MST

On view: October 15 – November 28, 2021

The University of Denver, The Madden Museum of Art and the Vicki Myhren Gallery are excited to present Portrayal: Figurative Art from the Madden and University Art Collections. The exhibition will be on view by appointment October 15 through December 5, 2021 at the Vicki Myhren Gallery within the Shwayder Art Building on the University of Denver campus.

Portrayal explores the genre of portraiture expressed in a variety of mediums and styles. This student-curated exhibition investigates the figurative art from multiple perspectives. Portrayal is co-curated by eight DU students from the Winter 2021 Curatorial Practicum course taught by Nicole Parks, Madden Museum Program Director.

During the course students worked collaboratively to curate Portrayal, drawing from the University of Denver’s Art Collections which includes the Madden Collection. Although the course took place during the global COVID-19 pandemic, student-curators were able to navigate what is a typically hands-on and interactive course, to find new ways to collaborate and plan Portrayal. Throughout the course, students juggled co-curating a section with one other student, and managing a larger exhibition task like, checklist organization, facilitating the exhibit design, developing interpretive materials, and designing the graphics for marketing materials. Through this experience, the students developed invaluable curatorial and project management skills.

Students also used real-life problem-solving in the staging of the exhibition. Originally, Portrayal was created for the Madden Museum, an art venue in Greenwood Village operated by DU. It is a much larger venue with a different floor plan and restrictions than the Vicki Myhren Gallery. Unfortunately, over several months the museum experienced consecutive climate emergencies—ranging from small drip-leaks to substantial flooding— that made the museum unavailable for exhibitions this year. The artwork is safe but repairs to the building are needed before the museum is usable as a venue.

Portrayal found a new home this fall at the Vicki Myhren Gallery.  Many of the student curators returned to install the exhibition this fall, helping to coordinate the undertaking and seeing their work come fully to fruition. TO learn more about the Madden Collection and the University Art Collections, click on the links below. To make an appointment, email us at vmgallery@du.edu.