Best Group of Related Exhibits - 2012
The marvelous Marvelous Mud, on display last summer throughout both Denver Art Museum buildings, was not a single show, but eight separate ones, all about clay — at least to some extent. The main display was Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, which showcased current trends in ceramics; Focus: Earth & Fire also concentrated on contemporary works. Then there were shows that looked at historic ceramics, including Blue and White: A Ceramic Journey, which examined classic Chinese ware; Marajó: Ancient Ceramics at the Mouth of the Amazon, made up of prehistoric Brazilian ceramics; the self-explanatory Mud to Masterpiece: Mexican Colonial Ceramics; a solo devoted to the first American Indian woman to gain individual fame for her pots, Nampeyo: Excellence by Name; and a look at some industrial archaeology with Potters of Precision: The Coors Porcelain Company, which showed how that outfit manufactured beautifully designed laboratory vessels. The celebration was so all-inclusive that there were even relevant photos displayed in Dirty Pictures. On their own, the shows comprised by Marvelous Mud were all wonderful diversions; taken together, they created a cohesive whole, a vessel filled with amazing ideas and art.