The Denver Art Museum doesn't do enough to support the artists working around here, either, but unlike at the Lab, the locals are part of the mix. Sure to draw crowds there is the reappearance of Linda, the remarkably realistic sculpture of a nude woman by Colorado's own John DeAndrea.
The sculpture is in a niche-like gallery space just off the atrium on level three of the Hamilton wing. This area is big enough for a small show, and it's great to see it being used for temporary displays. Linda has been closely associated with the DAM since it was first exhibited in 1984, and it's the piece most often requested by visitors. Alas, they usually leave disappointed, because the sculpture, which was created from a painted polyvinyl that turned out to be extremely light-sensitive, must be kept mostly in dark storage. The recumbent nude appears only about once a year or so, and then for only a very short time.
Detail of Liam Gillick's Weekend in So Show, mixed materials.
Through March 18, MCA Temporary Contemporary, 1840 15th Street, 303-298-7554. Through April 1, the Lab at Belmar, 404 South Upham Street, 303-934-1777. Through March 4, Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000.
DeAndrea became internationally famous in the late '60s and early '70s by adopting a photorealist approach to sculpture, as seen in Linda. Years ago, the artist told me his initial inspiration was the nineteenth-century religious statues he'd seen as a child in his Italian-American neighborhood in north Denver. Despite these traditional sources, the sensibility of his sculptures dovetailed beautifully with the contemporary art of the time, especially the late expressions of pop art, like photorealism.
My ordinary practice is to go to the DAM in the morning hours on a weekday so I can count on being virtually alone with the pieces I'm writing about. Sad for me but good for the museum is the fact that now that the Hamilton is part of the complex, it was even crowded when I went there last Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Lewis Sharp really knew what he was doing when he set about to expand the institution, in particular when he put Daniel Libeskind in charge of conjuring up that stop-you-in-your-tracks facility. It's already fulfilling its implied guarantee of drawing crowds. Linda doesn't hurt matters, either.