Buildings and history go hand in hand, but these days they seem to fall hand in hand, as well: One man's castle is another man's future condo; if it ain't modern, out it goes. Before you begin any painful pondering over what might happen to today's equivalents of the Acropolis, give it a rest, and be thankful for cameras: Elegy: Contemporary Ruins, the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver's latest exhibit, explores how we've endowed our modern buildings with a transitory nature; its adjuncts give us all a chance to join in. Those include a hands-on treehouse constructed by architect Petr Dostal, using a museum pillar as the trunk; an Endangered Buildings Wall, compiled by Colorado Preservation Inc.; and Memento Mori: A Collaborative Public Project, which features snapshots of local lost buildings -- submitted by you, me and anyone else who cares to immortalize a favorite missing place.
The latter, notes MCA program director Patty Ortiz, reflects Elegy's higher intent in more personal terms, because, she says, "That's really our job: creating possibilities for people to better understand the exhibition." So the call is out for contributions to the wall, which Ortiz says will evolve throughout the show. Think of it as a way to commemorate our own emotional wrecking balls -- the hatcheted climbing trees, razed verandas and vanished attic rooms of all our pasts; the lost trips to the Republic Building, Elitch Gardens, the Denver Dry Tea Room, the Zeckendorf Plaza ice rink or the Aladdin Theater. And if it can't quite bring them back, it might just help preserve our memories of them.
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Drop off photos at MCA, 1275 19th Street in Sakura Square; Elegy and its side exhibits will be on view through May 25. For information, call 303-298-7554.