Best Mysterious Art Museum - 2009
Madden Museum of Art
It seems unlikely: an art museum in a Denver Tech Center office building. Granted, the Palazzo Verdi isn't an ordinary office building. It's a slick and handsomely appointed but understated structure blessed with a 55-foot atrium sporting an inset replica of the cathedral labyrinth at Chartres, an ethereal chandelier by Lonnie Hanzon and Todd Siler's monumental wall mural. It's also home to a cafe, Larry DiPasquale's Mangia Bevi. And, yes, it's got a museum, too, one dedicated primarily to showcasing works from the vaults of major art collector and Palazzo Verdi developer John Madden, which means its exhibits can be over-the-top eclectic and, just a little, a means to an end. But the Madden Museum is still more than a rich man's toy, since it offers us the opportunity to share a smorgasbord of works by the likes of Thomas Hart Benton, Robert Rauschenberg, Thomas Moran, Jackson Pollack and other strange but wonderful bedfellows — and to do it in the midst of the south suburban wasteland. And that fills a pretty tall order.