Christoph Heinrich, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Denver Art Museum, must be having a contest with the MCA’s Cydney Payton to see who can find the most obscure, yet internationally known, artists and bring them to Denver. Fitting this description is Bjørn Melhus, a Norwegian who lives in Germany.
Melhus has made a specialty of appropriating sound tracks from American television and movies and then making videos based on them in which he acts out all the parts. In “Weit Weit Weg (Far Far Away),” he has taken the soundtrack from the Wizard of Oz and in the video-still that’s pictured, dressed up as “Dorothy.”
His videos have been described as unnerving, but they’re also funny (see image). Melhus is said to be well-known in Germany, but he has only exhibited in this country a handful of times. The DAM is premiering a group of his videos to inaugurate the Fuse Box on level four of the Hamilton Building. This space, just off the atrium within the modern and contemporary rooms, had originally been described as the replacement for the Close Range Gallery, which focused on artists with connections to Denver, but unfortunately the funding for that much needed space was lost.
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The Fuse Box opening today, May 22, coincides with an appearance by Melhus, who’s in town to speak at tonight’s Logan Lecture. The Melhus talk starts at 7 p.m. in the Sharp Auditorium on the lower level of the Hamilton. Tickets are $8 for students, $12 for DAMContemporaries members, $15 for DAM members and $18 for non-members. For information and reservations, call 720-913-0150. -- Michael Paglia