Sunday: summer’s last hurrahs are coming in shorter and shorter supply. Art was in the air today; unfortunately, it didn’t always turn out in Colorado’s favor. Kyle Orton, despite being outgunned by Peyton Manning, threw a Monet of an arc to Brandon Lloyd; though I didn’t see the Rockies all-but-season-ending game, I read that Melvin Mora homered with his characteristic Coltrane cool; but, to top it all off, summer’s shuffle out the door included at least one last day of perfect temperatures, sun, blue sky, and bluer mountains. It makes me sad to be leaving.
Fittingly, Fiancee and I made for the Denver Art Museum. I hadn’t been there since Daniel Libeskind’s addition of the Frederic C. Hamilton Building, that delta-shaped metal spearhead of an art gallery that looks like a Star Destroyer. The addition came in 2006, so, suffice to say, I hadn’t been to the DAM in a while.
The big draw to the DAM nowadays is, of course, the King Tut exhibit. Deliberately unclear, however, is the fact that it is not the boy king himself on tour (the Egyptian government has locked up the rights to the Tutankhamun Rock of Ages Tour: 2010-Doomsday). We decided to forego the exhibit for the regular artwork, including the renowned Western Art Exhibit and its collection of Native American art. The first highlight for me was Daniel Sprick’s 2001 “Release Your Plans.” It’s bewildering attention to detail (check out the folds in the fabric!), Sprick’s symbolic red herrings, and, most of all, an entire display in which the artist guides the viewer through his process, made this one of the more engaging works we saw:
Elsewhere in the modern art section was a piece entitled “Fox Games,” consisting of a red room in which a skulk (yes, a skulk) of foxes traipses around a red dining room. Fun for sure, but this philistine didn’t quite get the artistic aim of it all. In the African art section, there was some do-it-yourself pastiche-making, which Fiancee and I took up with relish. Our mission? Create, inspire, wow. Our materials? Twistie Ties and pieces of beer bottle boxes. This reinforced my inchoate theory that by drinking beer, I’m actually facilitating artistic discovery.
No trip to any art museum worth its weight in acrylic is complete without some of the masters, of course. The DAM boasts artwork by many of the biggies: Rembrandt, Matisse, Homer, Monet, and Picasso. While we did get to enjoy these, a fire alarm (later revealed to be a false alarm) quickly ushered us outside and into the midafternoon sun. Our dogs were barking, so we made a beeline for the nearest pub, Katie Mullen’s, where we treated ourselves to some gastronomic art: sliders and artichoke dip. In the spirit of supporting the struggling artist, we even downed a beer or two. We’re total patrons.