The mile-high city of Denver doesn’t immediately conjure images of modern architecture, yet the City’s downtown boasts works from Gio Ponti, Michael Graves and, most recently, Daniel Libeskind all within a few yards of one another. Hoping to avoid the crowds following the initial opening in October, I finally visited Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum expansion. The titanium-clad building is a dramatic addition to Denver’s skyline with its sharp, angular lines playing off the Rocky Mountains on the distant horizon, while limning itself against the urban landscape. Libeskind wanted to create a dialogue between the new building and the original museum designed by Ponti in 1971. In response, the building cantilevers above the street, resembling the bow of a ship that’s about to merge with Ponti’s modernist castle. The Ponti building is also nicely framed by the new building from several other vistas.
Inside, the interior’s sloping walls, labyrinthine galleries and winding staircases produced a dizzying effect that made me wonder whether it was the building or the shot of espresso I’d had earlier. Despite a recurring sense of vertigo, I enjoyed viewing DAM’s modern art collection and was surprised by its size and breadth, considering DAM isn’t exclusively modern. I particularly enjoyed the global focus of the temporary exhibit “Radar: Selections from the Vicki and Kent Logan Collection” with works from Western artists like Ed Ruscha, Kiki Smith and Damien Hirst shown alongside contemporary Asian artists including Yue Minjun and Wang Guangyi.
Not to be outdone, Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art also has a new building underway with London-based architect David Adjaye at the helm. The MCA building should be completed in Spring 2007. Stay tuned.
Posted by Meghan Sheedy, Boulder Studio