News & Events

The School of Art & Art History proudly hosts a diverse array of artists, scholars and visiting speakers throughout the academic year, providing students, faculty and the community with new perspectives and an unparalleled window into the art world. At the Vicky Myhren Gallery, you'll find an always-fresh display of challenging contemporary art by artists ranging from the globally recognized to the newly emerging. 

With regular new exhibitions and guests joining us from around the world, there's always something happening here to inform and inspire your creative spirit.


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Art and Creative Dialogue

The School of Art and Art History provides a safe space to learn and explore ideas and emotions. We invite you to take time with each work of art. Art provides room for unexpected responses, discussion and growth. 

We welcome your participation in our creative dialogue. Please share your comments, questions and reactions:

Alumna Helen Davis (EdD '61) was a smart and funny woman who was a devoted benefactor to the students at the University of Denver. Helen’s contributions changed the lives of our students by supporting the Davis Gallery and Davis Classroom at the School of Art & Art History. In 2009, Helen was honored with an Alumni Award.

Annabeth Headrick, Faculty, Director of the School of Art and Art History Davis Gallery
Student participants of the SAAH Art History Symposium.

Annual DU Art History Student Symposium

DU undergraduate and graduate students have an opportunity to gain professional conference experience and share their research with the community at the Annual DU Art History Student Symposium. Each April, students present on topics related to the history of art and visual culture. All students, staff, faculty, family and friends are welcome to attend this School of Art and Art History sponsored event. At the event, one undergraduate and one graduate student are selected to represent the department at the annual Front Range Art History Symposium. Contact Bilha Moor for additional information.

Photo: Undergraduate and graduate student presenters at the 23rd Annual DU Art History Student Symposium. (Left to right: Mya Vander Pol, Morgan Fleetwood, Ashley Bertolino, Sheridan Posschelle, Anne Drysdale, and Katie Jacobs.)

Photo by Antonio Martinez.

  • Submitting a Proposal

    All DU undergraduate and graduate students are invited to submit a one-page proposal to give a 20-minute talk on a topic within the history of art and visual culture. Students should propose topics derived from completed class research papers or presentations. This is a professional conference and accepted papers may be included in your resumé. The call for papers is sent each Winter Quarter and the Symposium takes place in early April.

    Contact Bilha Moor for additional information.

2023 Lanius Lecturer Lee Aeryung (center) with DU professor Sarah Magnatta and translator Minsoo Song

Lanius Lecture

The Lanius Lecture series brings to the DU campus distinguished artists, scholars, and curators working in areas formerly marginalized by art historical and museum institutional narratives.  By shifting our attention to these areas of focus, particularly the global south, diasporic communities, and indigenous communities, this lecture series reaffirms the DU School of Art and Art History’s commitment to amplifying these voices.

Photo: 2023 Lanius Lecturer Lee Aeryung (center) with DU professor Sarah Magnatta and translator Minsoo Song.

Photo by Antonio Martinez.

About Professor Emerita Mary Lanius

Mary’s interest in art history started as an undergraduate at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire in the 1950s. She continued her studies at DU, graduating with a BA in Humanities in 1954. Mary then spent time traveling throughout Asia where she was especially drawn to the art and architecture of India and Southeast Asia.

Mary Lanius sits with 2022 Lanius Lecturer Siddhartha Shah.
Mary Lanius (left) sits with 2022 Lanius Lecturer
Siddhartha Shah, the John Wieland 1958 ​​Director
of the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.

She received a Fulbright scholarship to return to India in 1961 and lived in Kolkata (then, Calcutta) while working at the Asutosh Museum of Indian art at the University of Calcutta.Mary returned to the U.S. to attend graduate school at the University of Hawaii where she continued her art history studies.

The Denver Art Museum, building on earlier acquisitions, opened its Asian Art department in 1956. Two years later, Mary joined the department, thus working at the DAM both before and during her education at DU and then in Hawaii.

Her curatorial work at the DAM brought forth the stories of the South Asian collection, mainly sculpture, and Mary’s lasting impact at the museum can be found in several catalog essays, entries, and label information.

After leaving the DAM in 1969, Mary began her 35-year teaching journey, first at the Colorado Women’s College, and then at the University of Denver.

Her courses included surveys of Indian art, Southeast Asian art, Chinese art, Japanese art, and Korean art (she received a Fulbright foundation grant to support research in Korea).

Mary’s research has been published in the Arts of Asia amongst other journals, and she continued in her role as advisor to the Denver Art Museum for several decades. The Lanius Lecture series, started in 2012, continues Mary’s legacy as a supporter of the arts and art history.

A note from Sarah Magnatta, Assistant Professor, School of Art and Art History:

I was one of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of students fortunate enough to have Mary as a professor during her 35 years at DU. I vividly recall Mary’s stories of various temples, their art historical information interspersed with her lively tales of travel (in fact, I was inspired to travel to Angkor Wat and surrounding temples after a particularly fascinating class on Southeast Asian Art in the early aughts). I’m so thrilled that we have remained friends in the decades since. Thank you, Mary, for your ongoing support and for this wonderful lecture series!

  • Lee Aeryung, “The Beauty of Buncheong Ceramics”

    March 12, 2024

    2023 Lanius Lecturer Lee Aeryung
    Photo by Isaac Maldonado.

    Lecture Abstract

    Buncheong ware and white porcelain are considered the two representative traditions of the Joseon dynasty ceramics. Buncheong ware, decorated with white slip on a bluish-gray base, was produced in kilns across the country for about 150 years during the early Joseon dynasty; while competing with white porcelain, it paved new and innovative paths in ceramics. Rooted in the celadon tradition of the late Goryeo dynasty, buncheong experienced continual transformations aligning seamlessly with the newly founded dynasty's aesthetic preferences and styles, until it faded into history and gave way to white porcelain eventually. Despite its relatively brief dominance of a mere 150 years in the extensive history of Korean ceramics, buncheong ware is still receiving such widespread love today. Its enduring appeal likely stems from its unique ability to candidly capture the Korean spirits, aesthetic sensibilities, and their life more so than any other ceramic tradition. This lecture aims to explore the unique allure of buncheong ware, its historical context, and the people who created it.

    Lecturer Biography

    Lee Aeryung, Director of the National Gwangju Museum, started her career as a curator at the National Museum of Korea, before taking roles as the Head of the Children's Museum Division and the Director of the Fine Arts Division at the same museum. She si now serving as the Director of the National Gwangju Museum since 2023. Her interest in Korean Buncheong ware was sparked by her participation in the 1992 Gyeryongsan Hakbong-ri Kiln Site Excavation, collaboratively led by the National Museum of Korea and the Hoam Art Museum. Throughout her career, she has published several research reports on Korean ceramics, including Ceramics from M.t Gyeryong kilns (2007)-a comprehensive report detailing everything about the Buncheong ware excavated there-and The Royal Ceramics of Goryeo Dynasty (2008). She has curated and overseen more than 20 special exhibitions.

  • Siddhartha Shah, “The Legacy of Independence on Modern Indian Art”

    October 27, 2022

    2022 Lanius Lecturer Siddhartha Shah with DU Professor Sarah Magnatta

    Lecture Abstract

    The Partition of British India in August 1947 divided the subcontinent into the nations of India and Pakistan and incited the largest mass migration in human history. Independence from colonial rule was thus cause for both celebration and despair—a paradox that artists of the period represented in varied and arresting ways. Post-independence art reveals a unique confluence of mixed emotions and histories, where ancient tales and modern abstraction convey both sorrow and hope, separation and unity. In honor of the 75th anniversary of independence, this presentation entitled “Crossing the Line and Closing the Circle: The Legacy of Independence on Modern Indian Art” examines the dreams and visions of artists working after 1947, through works that convey tremendous cultural pride as well as visions of a hopeful though undetermined future. 

    Lecturer Biography

    Siddhartha V. Shah is the John Wieland 1958 Director of the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.  He was previously the Director of Education and Civic Engagement and Curator of South Asian Art at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, which is home to one of the leading collections of modern Indian art outside the subcontinent. Dr. Shah earned his BA in art history from Johns Hopkins University, an MA in Hindu philosophy and Jungian psychoanalysis from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a PhD in art history from Columbia University.  His academic and curatorial projects have been featured in publications ranging from The Times of India and India Today, to The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and Psychology Today.

  • Anila Quayyum Agha, “Artist talk: Anila Quayyum Agha”
    Lanius Lecturer Anila Quayyum Agha with DU Professor Sarah Magnatta.

    May 25, 2018

    Lecturer Biography

    Anila Quayyum Agha (b. Lahore, Pakistan) received her BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore and an MFA from the University of North Texas. Major solo shows include the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, TX; Columbia Art Museum in South Carolina; Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, National Sculpture Museum in Valladolid, Spain, The Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, FL. Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, North Carolina Art Museum in Raleigh, and the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.

    For the 2019 Venice Biennial, Agha was included in a collateral event, She Persists, with 22 contemporary feminist artists. Agha has received the Efroymson Art Fellowship, Cincinnati Art Museum’s 2017 Schiele Prize, the DeHaan Artist of Distinction Award twice (2018 & 2021) and the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors award in 2019. Agha’s 2014 ArtPrize entry, titled "Intersections", earned the Public Vote Grand Prize and split the Juried Grand Prize in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    She is the recipient of numerous grants from Indiana University like the New Frontiers Exploratory grant. For her creative research, Agha, was awarded the highest research honor by Indiana University in 2016 titled Glenn W. Irwin Research Scholar Award.

    In 2020, Agha received an Endowed Chair position titled Morris Eminent Scholar in Art at Augusta University in Georgia, as well as the prestigious Smithsonian Fellowship in the arts for 2021 and worked with both SAAM and AAA in Washington DC in May 2022. Her work has been collected by both institutions and private collectors; nationally and internationally.

    This biography is from the artist's website.

  • Tenzing Rigdol, “Contemporary Tibetan Art with Tenzing Rigdol”
    Lanius Lecturer Tenzing Rigdol.

    October 20, 2015

    Lecture Abstract

    Contemporary Tibetan art is a quickly rising field of interest for art collectors, scholars, and the public alike. In 2014, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City acquired its first contemporary Tibetan work from artist Tenzin Rigdol: Pin Drop Silence: Eleven-headed Avalokiteshvara. Rigdol’s output in the past decade includes paintings, collage, and an installation project in India that was documented in the 2014 film “Bringing Tibet Home.” For this lecture, Rigdol will be discussing his art and its relation to Tibetan traditions and struggles.

    Lecturer Biography

    Born in 1982 in Kathmandu, Nepal, Rigdol and his family were granted political asylum in the USA in 2002. Rigdol studied Tibetan sand painting, butter sculpture and Buddhist philosophy in Nepal. In 2003 he earned a diploma in traditional Tibetan thangka painting and in 2005 he was awarded a BFA in Painting and Drawing and a BA in Art History at the University of Colorado Denver, USA. Rigdol is also an accomplished poet, having published three collections of poetry, “R”– the Frozen Ink (2008), Anatomy of Nights (20011) and Butterfly’s Wings (2011), printed by Tibet Writers.

    He has been widely exhibited internationally and his artworks are included in public and private collections around the world. In 2011 his widely reported Our Land, Our People involved the covert transportation of 20 tonnes of soil out of Tibet, through Nepal, to Dharamsala. There, displaced Tibetans were given the opportunity to walk on their home soil once again. The journey to smuggle soil across three borders is documented in Bringing Tibet Home, a documentary directed by Tenzin Tsetan Choklay, which  was awarded the Young European Jury Award (Prix du Jury de Junes Européens) at the 27th edition of FIPA (International Festival of Audiovisual Programmes. In 2014, Rigdol became one of the  only two contemporary Tibetan artists to be included in the exhibition Tibet and India: New Beginnings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His work Pin Drop Silence: Eleven-Headed Avalokitesvara was also the first work by a contemporary Tibetan artist to be acquired by the Met.

    This biography is from the Rossi & Rossi Gallery website.

  • Lectures prior to 2016
    • Karl Debreczeny, Curator at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York City
      • May 6, 2015
      • “From Hand of the Master to Workshop Production: Paintings Attributed to the Tenth Karmapa (1604–1674)”
    • Susan Huntington, Distinguished Professor at The Ohio State University
      • April 19, 2012
      • “Early Buddhist Art and the Emperor’s New Clothes”