The Denver Art Museum (DAM) announced today its next installment of Eyes On, a focused multi-year contemporary art series, featuring the work of Minnesota-based visual artist Julie Buffalohead and Japan-based conceptual artist Shimabuku opening in July 2018. Sponsored by Vicki and Kent Logan, Eyes On will highlight about four emerging contemporary artists each year through 2020 in the Logan Gallery and Fuse Box on level 4 of the Hamilton Building.
Eyes On: Julie Buffalohead and Eyes On: Shimabuku is a two-part presentation organized by the DAM’s Native arts and modern and contemporary art departments. Curator of Native Arts John Lukavic and Denene De Quintal, Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow in American Indian Art at the DAM, will curate a presentation of Julie Buffalohead’s large-scale oil paintings on canvas in the Logan Gallery. Rebecca Hart, Vicki and Kent Logan Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the DAM, will present a video installation in Fuse Box gallery on level 4 by conceptual artist Shimabuku. The second rotation of the Eyes On series will be on view July 29, 2018 to Jan. 20, 2019.
“We’re proud to present the second installment of our focused contemporary art series Eyes On,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director at the DAM. “The works presented in each of these installations will challenge our visitors to think about the narrative of self and place, and topics of ancestral history and modernity. As always, we hope that the artists provoke a sense of curiosity and creativity in each and every visitor.”
The Eyes On artists selected for this rotation in the Logan Gallery and Fuse Box have a thematic relationship to one another as well as to Stampede: Animals in Art, on view at the DAM through May 19, 2019. Although the visuals and artistic media are vastly different, both Buffalohead and Shimabuku use the depiction of animals as a vehicle to explore both familiar and unfamiliar narratives related to their personal heritage and the world around them.
Eyes On: Julie Buffalohead will showcase new work by the Minnesota-based American Indian artist, who is a citizen of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. Buffalohead uses metaphors, iconography and storytelling narratives in her artwork to describe emotional and subversive American Indian cultural experiences, and often analyzes the commercialization of American Indian cultures. Buffalohead frequently includes animals as subjects, and her eclectic palette and whimsical subjects evoke a childlike innocence. While she works in a variety of mediums, including painting, printmaking, drawing, illustration, bookmaking and sculpture, this exhibition will feature a new series of works on canvas that explores her own life experiences, as well as ancestral knowledge. Buffalohead’s work has been featured in exhibitions at the National Museum of the American Indian—New York, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Eiteljorg Museum, and the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.
“Julie Buffalohead’s new body of work will present an example of exceptional Native art being produced all across the country,” Lukavic said. “The work will connect our visitors with tribally specific narratives that are culture-bound, emotional, and sometimes evocative, and I look forward to seeing how visitors respond to the work.”
In Fuse Box, Eyes On: Shimabuku will showcase a video by Japan-based artist Shimabuku titled “Do snow monkeys remember snow mountains?” Three years in the making, this video illustrates the adaptation of a group of Japanese snow monkeys living in a Texas desert sanctuary since they were brought to the U.S. in 1972. Initially featured at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, this film analyzes the displacement of the monkeys from their natural habitat in the snow-capped mountains of Japan. The film also symbolically explores human migration and reconnection with environment through genetic memory and ancestral history.
“After Shimabuku was featured at the 2017 Venice Biennale, his international reputation grew,” Hart said. “The snow monkey, or Japanese macaque, natively lives in a variety of habitats but none as harsh or even similar to the arid brush land of their American preserve. Humans and monkeys are genetically similar. It is brilliant that Shimabuku uses the Texas primates as surrogates for humans to explore ideas of migration, environmental adaptation, and memory that I hope visitors will find appealing.”
An Eyes On publication profiling the series and each artist will be available in the gallery. Both artists will participate in the fall 2018 Logan Lecture series at the DAM. Additional artists and installation details will be announced at a later date. Eyes On will be on view on level 4 of the Hamilton Building in the Logan Gallery and Fuse Box through 2020, and is included in general admission and free for members and youth 18 and under.