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Left, “Wild Man of the Woods” mask has been attributed to the carver Willie Seaweed. Right, Jennifer Pray working on the newly reopened American Indian galleries at the Denver Art Museum. Denver Art Museum. Matthew Staver for The New York Times

When the Denver Art Museum’s signature American Indian art galleries reopened last week after a seven-month overhaul, the biggest change wasn’t the new display cases or the dramatic lighting. Rather, it was in a less obvious place: the wall labels.

For the first time many of the works on display are attributed to individual artists instead of just their tribes. It is a revolution in museum practice that many scholars hope will spread, raising the stature of American Indian artists and elevating their work from the category of artifacts to the more exalted realm of art.


Judith H. Dobrzynski
New York Times