This volume presents the work of ten scholars who shared their research at the Denver Art Museum’s 2017 symposium hosted by the Frederick and Jan Mayer Center for Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial Art. Centered on the theme of murals, each chapter discusses how this art form functions as a powerful tool for the expression of political, social, or religious ideas across diverse time periods and cultures in the Americas, from the ancient rock cave paintings of Guerrero, Mexico, to the murals of the 1960s Chicano movement.
- Artist Judy Baca discusses her practice with Jesse Laird Ortega (Denver Art Museum).
- Claudia Brittenham (University of Chicago) considers the Rainbow Serpent mural from Chichen Itza’s Temple of the Chacmool.
- Severin Fowles (Barnard College) and Lindsay Montgomery (University of Arizona) reevaluate rock art across the American plains and Southwest.
- Kelley Hays-Gilpin (Northern Arizona University) and Hopi artist Ed Kabotie survey dry fresco mural painting in Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, and Rio Grande Pueblo communities from the fifteenth century to the present.
- Heather Hurst (Skidmore College) reconstructs the sequence of drawing the Oxtotitlán cave paintings in Guerrero, Mexico, some of the earliest mural paintings in Mesoamerica.
- Lucha Martinez de Luna (INAH/independent scholar) examines how Chicano artists used mural arts to make statements about identity and cultural heritage in the context of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, with a focus on Denver artists.
- Franco Rossi (Boston University) provides a detailed examination of the Xultun mural images and texts, which shed light on the training of Classic Maya scribes and the transmission of artistic knowledge.
- Maria Teresa Uriarte (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) brings thirty years’ insight to the striking iconography of the murals of Teotihuacan.
Victoria I. Lyall is Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Art of the Ancient Americas at Denver Art Museum.