Public Programs: Exhibitions: Planning

Period of Performance

5/1/2021 - 4/30/2022

Funding Totals

$50,000.00 (approved)
$50,000.00 (awarded)

Curatorial Planning and Research for an Exhibition: The Near East to the Far West: French Orientalism and the American Frontier, at the Denver Art Museum

FAIN: GE-278190-21

Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO 80204-2788)
Jennifer R. Henneman (Project Director: August 2020 to present)

Planning for an exhibit that examines the impact of French Orientalism depictions of the American west in art, literature, and popular culture.

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will conduct curatorial planning and research for an exhibition, The Near East to the Far West: French Orientalism and the American Frontier (working title), to debut at the DAM in February 2023. This major traveling exhibition will include public programs, a catalog, and symposium, with input from multidisciplinary humanities scholars and Indigenous-, Muslim-, and Arab-American voices. Curated by the DAM’s associate curator of western American art Jennifer R. Henneman, Ph.D., the exhibition will reach wide audiences in Denver and additional venues in the United States. The Near East to the Far West explores how the style and substance of French Orientalism directly influenced representations of the people, wildlife, and landscapes of the American West in art, literature, and popular culture during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, representations that continue to impact American attitudes towards history, identity, and place.

Media Coverage

Denver Art Museum exhibition sparks difficult conversation (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Victoria Valenzuela
Publication: 9News, KUSA TV
Date: 3/31/2023
Abstract: Local news feature discussing the exhibition Near East to Far West. "The Denver Art Museum is offering an opportunity to grapple with colonial history by pairing unlikely artworks together."

Associated Products

Near East to Far West: Fictions of French and American Colonialism (Exhibition)
Title: Near East to Far West: Fictions of French and American Colonialism
Curator: JR (Jennifer) Henneman, PhD, Curator and Director, Petrie Institute of Western American Art
Abstract: Organized and presented by the Denver Art Museum, Near East to Far West (March 5, 2023 to May 28, 2023) featured more than eighty paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative arts displayed over 10,000 square feet in the Anschutz Gallery. Near East to Far West considered the influence of French Orientalism on American artists and depictions of the American West, a region that is integrally linked to a unique sense of American identity and place. Presenting a fresh take on the history of western American art, the exhibition and its programs explored the ramifications of Orientalism in the context of two expanding empires: France into North Africa, and the United States into the West. A product of their time, the French and American artworks on display reflect racial and political biases, curiosity, thirst for physical and aesthetic challenge, and desire to succeed in an art market that favored depictions of “unknown” lands. Humanities content in Near East to Far West considers themes of: artistic life, practice, and virtuosity; decorative arts, popular culture, spectacle, and text; adventure, discovery, pilgrimage, and tourism; representations of race; religion: symbolism and practice; and animal symbolism.
Year: 2023
Primary URL: http://

Near East to Far West: Fictions of French and American Colonialism (Catalog)
Title: Near East to Far West: Fictions of French and American Colonialism
Author: Jennifer R. Henneman
Author: Jacob Rama Berman
Author: Emily C. Burns
Author: Betsy Fahlman
Author: Richard V. Francaviglia
Author: Christine Garnier
Author: Danielle Haque
Author: Molly Medakovich
Author: Jennifer W. Olmstead
Author: Jennifer E. Sessions
Author: Scott Manning Stevens
Author: Robert Warrior
Author: Marie A. Watkins
Abstract: The catalog is conceived as a companion to the exhibition and will be a substantial contribution to the field of American art. Its essays mirror the exhibition’s themes and focus on viewpoints and content that complicate and challenge Eurocentric perspectives. Because the essays generally follow the flow of the exhibition, object images follow the essays with which they are most closely associated.
Year: 2023
Catalog Type: Exhibition Catalog
Publisher: Yale University Press and Denver Art Museum