The Denver Art Museum's outlandish Hamilton Building (100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org) has fans and detractors. As for myself, I love it and think it's one of the great landmarks of the city.
But there are some problems with the handling of the interior. The cheap and already decrepit lobby furniture is a shortcoming, as are the smaller exhibition spaces, none worse than the intimate room on level three just inside the Bonfils-Stanton Gallery.
At first the room housed impressionist paintings, and they looked terrible there, despite being some of the most important pieces in the DAM's collection. That selection was followed by the shameless public pandering of a group of baseball photos. Then there were the overflow paintings from Color as Field. Nothing worked, so design director Dan Kohl, who thought up this room, went in to correct it. By straightening out some of the walls, Kohl finally made it a fit place to display art.
The space is under the domain of Christoph Heinrich, the head of the museum's Modern and Contemporary department, so it was up to him to think up a new use for it, and he decided to dedicate it to works on paper. It's the perfect solution, as revealed by the initial offering there, a print exhibit titled Varied Voices.
The show features a portfolio donated by Boulder artist Melanie Yazzie and Clark Barker. Yazzie, a member of the Navajo tribe, grew up in northern Arizona and earned her MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she now teaches. For Varied Voices, she sent out an e-mail (which is posted in the gallery) to a group of artist friends and asked them to participate.
The title, Varied Voices, hits the mark, since the only thing linking these works is the personal relationship that each artist enjoys with Yazzie. As you might expect, Yazzie's own print, "Talking About Change" (pictured), is one of the standouts.
Varied Voices runs through October 26.
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