Obstructed View begins with “XXXXXXXXXXX L (hole),” which is sited in such a way that it cannot be seen unless a viewer is right up against the museum’s atrium railings and looks down. Velasquez has outlined the opening with courses of crown moldings slotted into each other so that they step down toward the center; the moldings are all based on traditional motifs like the “egg and dart” and the “urn and swag.” Joined in the corners and painted metallic gold, the entire piece looks like a gaudy gilt picture frame. But what you see when you look into the middle is not a picture, but a black floor a story below. Velasquez notes that the work reflects his research into Versailles as well as his more recent interest in Donald Trump’s New York penthouse. Despite the Versailles reference, the piece more effectively conveys the pretentious insincerity of Trump’s idea of elegance.
Among the other pieces in the show are a series of photos of property lines in Highland, with an old house on one side and a new one on the other. Also noteworthy is the fake structural pillar Velasquez has installed near the bottom of the staircase that actually makes the whole space work better.
Obstructed View runs through August 27 at MCA Denver,1485 Delgany Street; call 303-298-7554 or go to mcadenver.org for additional information.