Nancy Blomberg, the Denver Art Museum’s longtime chief curator and Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Native Arts, died last week at age 72, ARTnews has reported. No cause of death has been given. In her memory, the DAM and her husband, Art Blomberg, are launching the Nancy Blomberg Acquisitions Fund for Native American Art “to ensure her legacy lives on within the collections and institution she dearly loved,” the DAM’s Director Christoph Heinrich announced in a remembrance of Blomberg.
Before arriving in Denver in 1990, Blomberg held positions at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Los Angeles, and the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. At the DAM, she oversaw the institution’s collections of American Indian, African, and Oceanic art, while championing the work of Native American artists and fostering connections between the museum and Native American communities. Her scholarship focused primarily on Navajo textiles, and one of the landmark exhibitions of her tenure was 2013’s “Red, White and Bold: Masterworks of Navajo Design, 1840–1870.”
“People go to the Modern and Contemporary art floors or the European art floors and expect to see artists; however, when they come to the American Indian art galleries, they don’t,” Blomberg told Westword in 2011. “I want to challenge that. I want visitors to look at a group of, for example, Navajo weavings and see the distinct style and hand of the artist involved. I want people to see 2,000 years of continuous artistic creation.”