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New Horizons

At the new Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, everything comes in fives: five gallery spaces inspired by the five elements of Chinese philosophy, redefined by the museum's own principles of art, architecture, light, nature and human experience.

And, as you might expect, when the MCA opens the doors of its sweet, state-of-the art, LEED-certified, David Adjaye-designed, translucent-skinned digs, the process will be modern and sleek — designed to attract attention, but without the virtual marching-band-style trumpeting that accompanied the debut of the DAM's Hamilton wing a year ago. Beginning today, members of the public are invited to segue naturally into the artwork by entering through a doorless corridor, discovering each exhibit space before eventually landing on the Gates Rooftop Garden, itself a work of art designed by landscape architect Karla Dakin and ceramics artist Kim Dickey.

Along the way, that course will lead viewers through Star Power: Museum as Body Electric, the building's inaugural exhibit, which features works by seven diverse artists from around the globe, including Maori artist-in-residence Rangi Kipa's ancestral house and Canadian artist David Altmejd's mirrored installation, along with site-specific creations from Carlos Amorales, Candice Breitz, Wangechi Mutu, Chris Ofili (he of the infamous elephant-dung virgin) and Collier Schorr — all inspired by poet Walt Whitman and, in turn, by the body's relationship to architecture.

The museum, all aglow at 1485 Delgany Street, will be open to the throngs for free today from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; special activities include workshops and an Idea Box for families, an opportunity to create and send your own postcards from the museum and an MI5 educational program based on psychologist Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. "It'll be a welcome respite from all the Rockies fever," museum director Cydney Payton notes. Rocktober, indeed.

For details, call 303-298-7554 or visit
May 27-Sept. 21, 2008


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