High Hopes

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In addition to painting and sculpture, the Moore galleries include spaces devoted to textiles and decorative art. Architecture, design and graphics curator Craig Miller was put in charge of the decorative art section, and he's imbued it with his solid grounding in art history--in stark contrast to the thematic hijinks seen elsewhere. Miller marches viewers from the Middle Ages to the turn of the last century with a group of vignettes arranged in chronological order. The walls of the gallery have been painted yellow with pink clouds, which sounds worse than it looks. The unorthodox color scheme actually works well with the mostly dark furniture Miller has included here.

The Moore galleries wind up with a lone exhibition, British Painting: The Berger Collection, which highlights a glorious cache kept right here in Denver. The exhibit, which has generated press attention back in England, includes more than seventy paintings collected by local financier William Berger in the form of portraits, landscapes and sporting pictures. Unfortunately, as seen elsewhere in the Moore galleries, these paintings suffer from having been arranged thematically.

The DAM's effort to recast itself--and thus generate more public support--is laudable. And the worthwhile new attractions should guarantee increased attendance. But was it wise for museum officials to play to the general public--as they've done on the sixth floor--and in the process risk offending their core constituency of art lovers? Stay tuned.

The remodeled Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 640-4433.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia