Art Exhibition Exploring Music Of The Ancient Americas To Open At Denver’s Museo De Las Americas

In Collaboration With The Denver Art Museum, Rhythm and Ritual: Music of the Ancient Americas will feature nearly 80 artworks

Denver’s Latin American Art Museum, Museo de las Americas (Museo), located in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe, is pleased to announce a collaboration with the Denver Art Museum (DAM) in creating its new exhibition, Rhythm and Ritual: Music of the Ancient Americas. The presentation will explore music of the ancient Americas through about 80 artworks that date from 1000 BCE to 1530 CE. Rhythm and Ritual will be on view at Museo from Thursday, March 26, 2020 to Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, with an opening event taking place on March 26, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Museo.

“As a community museum, it is important that our programming brings awareness to the history and present issues of the Latino community,” said Claudia Moran, Executive Director of Museo. “We are very excited to present Rhythm and Ritual, which is a unique exhibition that takes an in-depth look into the ancient civilizations’ relationship with music. Museo is deeply thankful to the Denver Art Museum for their colossal efforts to showcase their exceptional collection in our galleries, underlining their commitment to Latino culture.”

Unknown Maya Artist, Jaguar-costumed Figurine Flute with Blowgun, 300-600 C.E. Ceramic; 6.5 in. (16.51 cm). Denver Art Museum: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edward M. Strauss, 1984.521.

Works on view in Rhythm and Ritual will analyze the context in which music was performed throughout the ancient Americas, celebrate the lasting legacy of ancient music today, and invite visitors to play music on a limited selection of 3-D printed replicas of the musical instruments on display. The exhibition will feature works on loan from the DAM as well as a commissioned mural by local artist David Ocelotl Garcia and a video by Brazilian-born artist Clarissa Tossin.

The exhibition is co-organized by Museo and the DAM, and is curated by Jared Katz, Mayer Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow for Art of the Ancient Americas at the DAM.

Unknown Mixtec Artist, Carved Conch Shell Horn, c. 1300 C.E. Shell; 10.75 x 6 in. (27.31 x 15.24 cm). Denver Art Museum: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Morris A. Long, 1980.171.

Museo de las Americas is a vital pillar in our cultural community, and we’re always thrilled when we have the opportunity to partner with them,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “This is also an ideal opportunity for us to showcase works from the Denver Art Museum’s ancient Americas collection while the Martin Building is under renovation.”

The exhibition also will take a closer look at the rich and multi-sensory cultural experiences encountered by people living throughout the ancient Americas by exploring how sound and music impacted their daily and ceremonial lives. Additionally, Rhythm and Ritual will take a deeper dive into related subjects such as music from geographic regions that include Costa Rica, Ecuador, the ancient Andes, and the ancient Maya area.

At times, the past can appear to be static, as the objects are seemingly condemned to sit in silence,” Katz said. “In reality, each object has a rich life history. Rhythm and Ritual seeks to celebrate the life history of these instruments by populating people’s perception of the past with sound and music, helping museum visitors better understand the lived experiences of ancient people, while simultaneously creating a connection to culture and music that endures today.”

Exhibition curator Katz is currently the Mayer Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow for Art of the Ancient Americas at the DAM. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a focus on Mesoamerican Archaeology from the University of California, Riverside. He specializes in the study of ancient Mesoamerican music and digital archaeological methodologies. Katz has published numerous articles on the topic, and has held research positions at institutions, including the University of Texas at Austin’s Mesoamerican research center in Guatemala and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Museum.

Amongst his other positions, he has held a University of California Public Scholars Fellowship, a Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship, and a University of California Chancellors Distinguished Fellowship.

Museo de las Americas is the premier Latin American Art Museum of the Rocky Mountain region. Located in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe, Museo is dedicated to educate our community through collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting the diverse arts and culture of the Americas, from ancient to contemporary, through innovative exhibitions and programming.


  • Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204


  • Tuesday–Friday: 12 p.m.–6 p.m.
  • Saturday: 12 p.m.–5 p.m.
  • Sunday–Monday: Closed


  • $8.00 Adults
  • $5.00 Students/Military/Artists/Seniors/Denver Art Museum members
  • FREE – Children 12 years of age and under
  • FREE – Museo de las Americas members

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro citizens support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit