Denver Art Museum
Jürgen Gregor/age fotostock
With over 70,000 works of art, the Denver Art Museum can’t be fully taken in during just one visit. Its permanent collection has a number of focuses, including art of the region, but it also contains works from farther afield. The museum began in 1893 as the Denver Artists’ Club, and the growing collection was moved around town until a purpose-built museum was constructed in 1949. Since then, the facility has continued to expand, and the museum now takes up more than 350,000 square feet. An extensive calendar offers special events and programming for families, students, and adults.
Soak in Downtown Architecture
One of the highlights of Denver is the Daniel Liebeskind-designed addition to the Denver Art Museum juxtaposed next to the Michael Graves-designed Denver Public Library. Circle the two properties if you have time—new vistas will reveal themselves every few feet.
DAM: Oldie But a Goodie
The art museum’s Hamilton Building gets the bulk of traffic, and it deserves it. But don’t forget to check out the North Building, which, back in the day, was one of the most cutting-edge feats of architecture in the country. It’s covered in a million glass tiles that glitter in Denver’s endless sunshine. More traditional exhibits are housed here, including an incredible Native American collection. Look for George Catlin’s “The Cutting Scene, Mandan O-kee-pa Ceremony"—it’s mesmerizing. And if you like pottery and beads, then you’re in luck! Try to go the day after a snowstorm, the glittering continues on the top floor, among the bold architectural cut-outs on the roof.
I first saw one of Mark di Suvero’s metal-bending sculptures on the campus of Vanderbilt University, where I work. I spent a half hour one night trying to get a good shot of it, finding the composition a bit challenging! Several months later while on vacation, I spotted more of di Suvero’s work in San Francisco‘s Crissy Field. We weren’t planning a stop at Crissy Field, but I had to pull over and see the sculptures. This time I had a wide-angle lens with me, and I was pretty happy with the pictures I took. And spending a couple of hours in Crissy Field on an unseasonably warm June day turned out to be just about the most pleasant thing ever. More recently, I was in Denver for work with a free afternoon to explore downtown. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going, so I was surprised to turn a corner and see yet another di Suvero piece towering above me! I didn’t have a wide-angle lens with me this time, so I opted for a detail shot. The orange of the sculpture on the bright blue Colorado sky was impressive.