Denver Art Museum

Yesterday I visited the Denver Art Museum.  It is always a refreshing experience, but yesterday it was kind of dull because of the temporary exhibits that they were featuring.  On the first floor, they were exhibiting the pins from previous Secretary of State Madeline Albright.  I did take a quick look around the exhibit but did not pay too much attention because of lack of interest and it really wasn’t the kind of medium that I wanted to talk about.  On the second floor, there was the main temporary exhibit that was attracting a large crowd, which was displaying the fashion from Yves Saint Laurent.  I was a little disappointed with the selection of temporary exhibits because I am not a fashion person in the least, and I don’t want to write about pins.  Even though the selection of temporary exhibits was not up to par in my opinion, admission to the museum was free so I could not complain.  I proceeded up to the third and fourth floors where they held their contemporary art galleries.  The pieces that I chose were not from the same galleries, but rather I selected ones from several galleries.  I did this because there were several pieces that struck me and grabbed my attention right away.

This piece was the first painting that caught my attention.  It is titled “Surveying the Siberian Explosion” by Roger Brown.  I was entranced right away.  The way he paints the perspective is really intriguing because it feels like the viewer is looking right down on the subject in the middle.  The collapsed trees encircle a perfect canvas of destruction around the subject.  The contrasts from the black trees to the white, snowy ground is remarkable.  The vibrant colors of the horizon also add a new texture to the piece as well.  The symmetry of the way the trees have fallen down was an interesting and simplistic way of depicting the actual event.  The simplistic nature of the painting gives off the vibes of a cartoon to me, but the artists pulls off the devastation as well.  I really like this piece because to me it is easy to comprehend, and gives off an almost nonchalant charisma to a serious event.  In this piece, there is no suggestion as to what caused all of the trees to collapse, but the main theory is an asteroid exploded over one of the remote forests inside Siberia.  My love for astronomy feeds into this piece, as well as the next piece I will discuss.

This piece is called “Four Sons in Space” by Vance Kirkland.  I feel like the artist really captured the feeling of glancing at actual stars because the colors of the dots and fluidity of them really play with your eyes when observing from a distance.  There is a fluidity to this piece, and the dots appear to move when one glances at the piece, almost making it hard to look at.  I feel like this is intentional because it is very difficult to view our own sun, which translates well into this piece.  As the viewer begins to step closer to the painting, the image is easier to see and you can see the artist’s technique as to how he created the image.  I almost feel like the space between the stars is the gravity that is pulling them or pulling them to their ongoing paths through the cosmos.  The gravitational pulls are represented by the dots, hence their fluid like nature.  It is an overall great piece, which was only one in several pieces in his collection.  This one was the largest and the one that demanded the most attention in the room, since a viewer could see it from a far distance away.

This piece was in the African Art Exhibit, and was one of the few contemporary pieces.  It was by an artist that our class looked at.  His name is El Anatsui, and this piece is called “Rain Has No Father?”.  This is the only installation piece that I am featuring, and it was also my favorite in the museum.  He made the piece by collecting bottle caps from liquor bottles, and then flattened them and stitched them together.  I think what this piece accomplishes is that the artist proves that there can be a liquid nature to anything.  In this case, it is metal.  I think this is the best photo that I took from my visit because the way the light hits this piece really shows in the picture.  There are many different aspects of this piece that all show up at once.  The way some parts shine, and the dark crevasses in other spots are two different places that are competing for attention.  Some parts are really smooth, and other lids have more space between them, creating a net like presence.  I also wonder if there was a distinct reason why he used liquor bottle caps and not water bottle caps.  Maybe it was chance.  Maybe he had a certain motivation.  I find it interesting he makes his piece out of liquor bottle caps and then the subject in the title is water.  Maybe the caps from the bottle doesn’t mean anything except that any kind of bottle can contain water, which then makes it its’ father or master.  This is a really great installation which can create a lot of conversation.

This piece is without a doubt my favorite painting in the entire museum.  It is called “Second Day Nothing” by Jonas Burgert.  It is a massive painting and probably one of the largest in the contemporary collection.  There is just so much going on in such great detail it is almost hard to analyze everything.  What is really interesting is that in this entire piece, there is only one character that is looking at the viewer.  This is not the best photo taken, but he is visible on the bottom middle, to the left of the guy who is showing his back to the audience.  I’m not sure if this character is a self portrait, but it definitely comes to mind since he is the only one that is addressing the audience.  What confuses me about this piece is the theme, or the story behind it.  Everybody in the middle is working with this glowing goo that is a bright gold color.  I’m not sure if they are trying to clean it up or move it outwards.  I don’t know if this goo is an accident or something that was planned.  No matter how hard I look into this piece, I do not find any answers to my own questions.  I feel like that is the purpose of this piece; to confuse any and every observer who looks at it.  I have seen this piece many times and still I can never find any kind of resolve.  The mystery behind this piece will always remain a secret I feel.  The man in the plaid pants is holding some sort of bar, and he appears totally clean of the goo.  He could possibly be the one who is controlling the event that is taking place.  It is not present in the photo that I took because this piece is way too big, but in the back there is a huge man that is laying lifeless on his back.  He is much bigger than anyone else in the picture, so maybe there is some kind of revolt against him.  Every time I look at this painting, there is another question that pops into my head.  Maybe the artist has released a statement of what his meanings were behind this piece, but I don’t think I would want to know.  It is the mystery behind this piece which holds all the intrigue.  If I knew exactly what was going on in this painting, than I feel like a lot of the beauty would vanish from this piece, as the magic dies when a magician reveals his trick behind the illusion.

Overall, I did enjoy my experience at the Denver Art Museum.  I am aware of the next several exhibits, and they seem to be really exciting and interesting.  I enjoyed involving myself with new art, as it is always a joy to see new creativity.

2 Responses

  1. I didn’t go to the Denver museum but i’d have to say the artwork named “Second Day Nothing” is a interesting piece of work. it has alot going on and i like the way you tried to analyze it but then drew back and realized that maybe the point of the piece was to distract and confuse the viewer that it might not meant to be understood. I like it because that is a great possibility

  2. I think the way you structured this paper was really successful with great and honest descriptions in detail and i also appreciated the photos in between the writing which give me the image in my head immediately. All of these pieces you have talk about are quite different from each other and I’m glad you used this variety. I would say that the most appealing piece to me would also be from the African exhibition, “Rain Has No Father?”, it is amazing how the artist has manipulated the material in that way, i would never have known that they used to be liquor bottle caps. Great piece!

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