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Denver Art Museum (DAM) Acquires Six Site-Specific Installations from Landmark Exhibition Embrace!

Community Provides Funding to Give Works a Permanent Home at the Museum

Denver, Colo. – Spurred by the enthusiastic response of the Denver community, and building on its commitment to expand its collection with new works, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) will acquire six site-specific installations from its monumental exhibition Embrace!. For the exhibition, the Museum commissioned 17 artists to create large-scale installations in its Daniel Libeskind-designed Frederic C. Hamilton Building. Works by Lawrence Weiner, Matthew Brannon, Charles Sandison, John McEnroe, Rupprecht Matthies, and Rick Dula, which resonated strongly with Museum visitors, will become part of DAM’s permanent holdings thanks to the generous support of its patrons and volunteers.

Embrace!, organized by Denver Art Museum Director and former Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Christoph Heinrich, was conceived to create a dynamic dialogue between art and the Hamilton building’s unique architectural elements, and to break down traditional barriers between the artist and museum visitor. The exhibition was on view at DAM from November 14, 2009 through April 4, 2010.

“The installations that made up Embrace! explored Daniel Libeskind’s angular spaces from a multitude of artistic perspectives,” said Heinrich. “The exhibition succeeded—far beyond our hopes—in engaging the diverse communities of Denver and the surrounding region with the Museum, its architecture, and the works of art themselves. We are delighted that through the generosity of DAM’s volunteers, members, and patrons, we are able to acquire six major contemporary works that reflect a range of early 21st century art and our own vibrant community.”

The artists whose works will be acquired range from first-generation American Minimalist Lawrence Weiner to Scottish video artist Charles Sandison and the Denver-based painter Rick Dula. Some of the works will remain on view in the spaces for which they were originally created, while others will be relocated within the Museum.

AS TO BE IN PLAIN SIGHT, by New York-based conceptual art pioneer Lawrence Weiner, was created for the apex of the Hamilton Building’s four-story atrium. In keeping with the self-referential quality of Weiner’s work, the wall where the towering words appeared is plainly visible, yet rarely seen. The work has been acquired by Vicki and Kent Logan in honor of Lewis I. Sharp, Director of the Denver Art Museum Director from 1989-2009, and will be reinstalled on the exterior wall of DAM’s Palettes restaurant, on the north side of 13th Street.

Idaho-born and New York-based artist Matthew Brannon explores the concerns of contemporary society through the carefully structured collision of images and context. In Last to Know, a series vinyl wall murals, kitchen knives and a cleaver cascade down an irregularly shaped wall opposite the DAM’s Robert and Judy Newman Overlook (commonly known as the poetry corner). Last to Know will be purchased with funds from Baryn, Daniel and Jonathan Futa.

Charles Sandison’s video installation Chamber uses computer-generated projections of light in dazzling fashion—in an otherwise dark room, multi-colored projections form words, symbols and abstract imagery that dance across the raw surfaces of the walls. The Scottish artist’s paradoxical work employs 21st century technology to evoke primal feelings of wonder and awe. Funding for the acquisition is provided by Polly and Mark Addison, Cathey and Richard Finlon, and Baryn, Daniel and Jonathan Futa.

Denver-based artist John McEnroe created The Bathers for the Hamilton Building’s fourth level atrium walkway. Its large, organic, oblong forms, made from nylons filled with sand and shaped into slender structures, offer a stark contrast to the angular space. The work will be acquired with funds from Tom and Noël Congdon and the 2009 Salon du Musée Fundraiser.

‘Being Home’, by German artist Ruprecht Matthies, examines how cities are perceived by new immigrants and long-term residents. Matthies surveyed newly-arrived refugees and longstanding members of the Denver community to find out what words they would use to describe their hometown, and created sculptures of the words in various languages. The resulting installation, created in collaboration with community groups including the African Community Center and the Emily Griffith Opportunity School, invites viewers to consider what the diverging views say about the city and the many people who call it home. The riotously colorful installation was a favorite of young museum visitors, and also proved to be an engaging teaching tool for literacy groups. ¿Being Home? will be purchased with funds from Nancy Benson.

Denver-based painter Rick Dula, who photographed the Hamilton Building throughout its construction, created a hyper-realist painting that appears to peel back the interior walls of the building to expose its steel girders and underpinnings, and reveals the angular skeleton of Libeskind’s structure. Popular with museum members and volunteers, A Moment in Time: Here will be acquired by the Museum’s Volunteer Endowment Acquisition Fund.

Image: Lawrence Weiner, AS TO BE IN PLAIN SIGHT, 2009. Language + materials referred to. Denver Art Museum ; gift of Vicki and Kent Logan in honor of Lewis I. Sharp, Denver Art Museum.

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