Last night I was thinking about today’s blog. Not sure of my chosen subject’s appeal, I went to Ruth, showed her a photo for an upcoming exhibit, and asked her if she thought people would want to know about it. Eyes widening, she gave me that are you crazy? look. That’s why I’m writing about the Denver Art Museum and “Brilliant” today.
I mentioned in a 8/15/14 blog (Race to Racine’s) that Ruth & I passed through Denver, Colorado, in June so that she could see what’s commonly known as DAM. I had been to the Denver Art Museum without her shortly after the Hamilton Building opened in 2006.
In 1971, a 7 level building designed by Gio Ponti became the Denver Art Museum. It quickly became not enough room to display the treasures of the largest museum between Chicago and the West Coast. A second facility, the Hamilton Building, was built and connected to what is now called the North Building. Daniel Libeskind, Hamilton’s architect, wanted to echo the Rocky Mountains in his bold use of 9,000 titanium panels; but, to me, it looks more like a Superpower military installation intended to intimidate. The two buildings connect via an over-a-street bridge on level 2 and, to me, it’s like getting out of a Fiat 500 (North), walking a few feet, and sliding into a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta (Hamilton). It’s such a stunning creation that Hamilton makes it a bit hard for me to pay attention to the art inside, which is not true of the more traditional North that focuses on European Art, Pre-Columbian & Spanish Colonial stuff, DAM’s Native American collection, etc.
Back in the Ferrari, most of what I see when I can stop myself from admiring Libeskind’s 5 Compass genius, is, appropriately, Modern and Contemporary Art. However, I also appreciate its Oceanic objects representing cultures less seen in American museums and lots of Western Art, one of DAM’s predictable specialties. I highly recommend taking the stairs in Hamilton if you don’t have vertigo issues. See the photo above as a preliminary test.
Why did Ruth’s eyes sparkle? On November 16, 2014, “Brilliant” opened. Its subtitle was “Cartier in the 20th Century” and promo materials featured a necklace with what looked like too-many-to-count diamonds surrounding an enormous emerald. The Denver Art Museum called this show a “world exclusive exhibition” that displayed timepieces and objects Cartier created between 1900 and 1975. Unfortunately, this now-closed show will not travel to any other venue. But Ruth is hoping that some nearby museum like SAM, the Seattle Art Museum, will revive it.