“Building Behavior” Brings High Style, Art and Stories to Doors Open Denver

The architectural salon creations of "Building Beauty" for Doors Open Denver 2017.
The architectural salon creations of "Building Beauty" for Doors Open Denver 2017.
Photos by Kevin Alexander

Since the Denver Architectural Foundation took over the task of fine-tuning Doors Open Denver from the city in 2014, the massive event celebrating Denver’s great architecture has blossomed. Last year was the first year the foundation added an arts-oriented element to the annual weekend of building tours and lectures, but this year, executive director Pauline Herrera Serianni delegated more responsibility to curator Cortney Lane Stell in planning Doors Open Denver 2017 collaborations with local artists.

“Last year, they gave a couple of grants to different arts organizations to produce their own events,” says Stell, whose major gig is with the Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum. “It’s nice to see them switch this year to producing authentic content.” That gave her more freedom to link the architectural tours with arts programming, a job she’s well qualified to tackle.

Amber Cobb, Work in Progress, 2017, for Peep Show at the Castle Marne.EXPAND
Amber Cobb, Work in Progress, 2017, for Peep Show at the Castle Marne.
Amber Cobb

“In a way, working on both the Biennial of the Americas and Black Cube has helped prime me for thinking about art spaces in non-traditional venues,” Stell explains. Black Cube alone has mounted exhibits in kiosks on the 16th Street Mall, in mountain meadows near Boulder, in parks and on rooftops since its inception.

“This prepared me to think about activities in non-traditional spaces and art and culture in relation to architecture,” she adds. “When looking at the city and trying to plan cultural activities, I decided to focus on how architecture affects how we feel and respond to those feelings and how they cloak our experience of the city in a different way. It’s more about expanding the types of exhibits I've already curated, but these also involve music, public activities and contemporary-art displays in other forms.”

This year’s art platform, “Building Behavior,” brings synthesizer music, high fashion, themed conceptual art, writing prompts, community storytelling and other offbeat elements, all with architectural tie-ins, into play, during Doors Open Denver 2017 on Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30. Stell credits a great team, the DAF and sponsorship by the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation for helping her get her creative juices flowing on these projects.

A "Building Beauty" creation. Hair: El Salon / Ron Lopez. Art Direction / Makeup: Katelyn Simkins. Model: Emily Jean / Wilhelmina Denver. Wardrobe Designer: LUBA by Hannah Payne.EXPAND
A "Building Beauty" creation. Hair: El Salon / Ron Lopez. Art Direction / Makeup: Katelyn Simkins. Model: Emily Jean / Wilhelmina Denver. Wardrobe Designer: LUBA by Hannah Payne.
Photo: Kevin Alexander

She has her favorites. For one, “Building Beauty” — for which two top Denver salons, El Salon and Matthew Morris, created six over-the-top wigs inspired by buildings — Stell had a chance to collaborate with her sister Katelyn Simkins, a world-renowned makeup artist, who provided art direction. “My favorite,” she says, “is the Brown Palace wig. Most of the other buildings were interpreted more literally, but this one is opulent, like a chandelier.”

Also dear to Stell’s heart is Peep Show, an exhibit that takes over the Castle Marne, an Uptown bed-and-breakfast in a renovated 1899 stone castle designed by Victorian-style architect William Lang, with works by twelve artists, all of whom she’s “worked with and trust with my life.” With permission from the owners of the Castle Marne, they each claimed rooms, including seven of the nine bedrooms, to create installations that somehow told stories of people who’d lived or stayed there. “A lot of artists’ concepts were in some way about honeymooners or lovers or intimacy,” Stell describes. “And some channel the tension between public and private that’s present when you stay in someone else's house.”

The building itself also casts a certain feeling of being lost in time, with many features intact from the once-abandoned building’s ’80s decor, she adds: “It’s an inn, but it’s unique because there are no TVs in the building; It’s a very analog space.”

That’s just a tiny preview of all “Building Behavior” has to offer. Following is a complete schedule of Doors Open Denver arts programming, so get out your datebooks and plan ahead. All “Building Behavior” events are free.

Theresa Anderson, “body double,” goose down feathers, pantyhose, 2016, for Peep Show.EXPAND
Theresa Anderson, “body double,” goose down feathers, pantyhose, 2016, for Peep Show.
Theresa Anderson

Peep Show
Castle Marne, 1572 Race Street
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30

Twelve Denver-based artists have created experimental artworks that respond to the building’s psychological underpinnings as a place for honeymooners, tourists and architectural enthusiasts.

Extra Vitamins, for Architecture Stories, 2017.EXPAND
Extra Vitamins, for Architecture Stories, 2017.
Extra Vitamins

If These Walls Could Talk: Architecture Stories With Sam Pike
Denver Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 29

What’s your favorite building in Denver? Which building holds within its walls an unforgettable story? Which building needs its story told before it is forgotten? These are some of the questions Sam Pike is asking participants to talk about at his Central Library story booth. Help Sam give a voice to the buildings of our city by telling him your most memorable experiences with Denver’s architecture.

From Green Rooms To Catwalks: A Haiku-Video Tour of the Ellie, Buell and Boettcher
Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 30
Denver Theatre District LED screen, 14th and Champa streets

For decades, theater enthusiasts from all over the world have enjoyed the award-winning productions brought to the stages of the Ellie, Buell and Boettcher venues. We tend to forget, however, about the alleyways used by actors or the caged rooms housing the symphony’s instruments, as well as other rooms and walks that make all the shows possible. Watch these behind-the-scenes video tours of the theaters’ more utilitarian spaces paired with some architecturally inspired haiku on the giant outdoor screen.

Building Beauty
Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30

Building Beauty captures six of Denver’s most notable buildings through the lens of fashion and beauty. Two of Denver’s top salons, El Salon and Matthew Morris Salon, created hairstyles inspired by six iconic Denver buildings: Denver International Airport, the Brown Palace Hotel, the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library, the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building, the Daniels & Fisher Tower and the Denver Art Museum. Wilhelmina Denver models gracefully balanced these hairstyles while sporting the fashions of Denver-based designer LUBA. Come on by Union Station to get a photograph of yourself trying on one of these structural masterpieces.

Syn-Sunday modular synthesizer sound patch.EXPAND
Syn-Sunday modular synthesizer sound patch.
Rudi Cerri

Synthesizer Sunday (Syn-Sunday): A Union Of Architecture And Sound
Denver Performing Arts Complex Galleria, 14th and Curtis streets
Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 30

Like architecture, which starts from basic elements — glass, sand and stone — to create a building, synthesizers start from basic sine waves modulated to turn sound into music. Join us for this open-air concert at one of Denver’s most prominent cultural facilities, where five musicians taking turns playing synthesizers will dedicate their performances to the distinctive glass roof of the Galleria.

Extra Vitamins, for Wanderbout, 2017.EXPAND
Extra Vitamins, for Wanderbout, 2017.
Extra Vitamins

Upcoming Events

Wanderbout
OZ Architecture, 3003 Larimer Street
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30

Wanderbout is a "choose your own adventure" architectural tour. Using directional signs and altered symbols, experimental design studio Extra Vitamins sheds light on often overlooked architectural features, creating a playful journey through the OZ Architecture building.

For information about all Doors Open Denver tours and programs, visit DoD online.

Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Denver Central Library

10 W. 14th Ave.
Denver, CO 80204

720-865-1111

www.denverlibrary.org

miles
Union Station

1701 Wynkoop St.
Denver, CO 80202

www.unionstationindenver.com

miles
Denver Performing Arts Complex

14th and Curtis streets
Denver, CO 80202

800-641-1222

www.denvercenter.org/home.aspx


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