Breaking the Rules: Fritz Scholder at Denver Art Museum

Fritz Scholder, American Portrait with Flag, 1979. Oil paint on canvas; overall: 40 x 35 in. Courtesy American Museum of Western Art—The Anschutz Collection/William J. O’Connor

Fritz Scholder, Hopi Dancers, 1974. Lithograph; overall: 22 1/4 x 30 in. Courtesy Denver Art Museum: Bequest of the estate of Suzanne W. Joshel

Known for facing stereotypes headon, mixing pop art with figurative methods and his vibrantly colorful brushwork, 20th century artist Fritz Scholder (1937-2005) was no stranger to controversy. “Scholder claimed he was not an American Indian artist, but he was,” John Lukavic, associate curator of Native Arts at the Denver Art Museum, says in a statement. “He claimed his art was not political, but it certainly polarized the art world. For every position he took, he also explored the opposite perspective.”

“SUPER INDIAN: FRITZ SCHOLDER, 1967-1980,” curated by Lukavic, is now showing at the DAM through January 17, 2016, and features more than 40 rarely seen paintings and lithographs from the artist who once vowed never to paint Indians. The exhibit also includes two portraits of Scholder, whose paternal grandmother was a member of the Luiseño tribe of Mission Indians, by Andy Warhol. For more information, visit the Denver Art Museum.

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