MCA Denver and Clyfford Still Museum Reopen to Members July 1

MCA Denver before COVID-19.
MCA Denver before COVID-19. Erin McCarley
COVID-19 rates in Colorado are rising again, just as Denver's largest cultural institutions reopen.

While many galleries and some of the larger nonprofits, including the Denver Art Museum, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Denver Zoo are back in business, medium-sized museums are just now reopening. Starting the first of July, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and the Clyfford Still Museum will be letting guests back in.

When MCA Denver opens its doors to members on July 1 with the urgent exhibition Nari Ward: We the People, there will be some serious changes in place to keep guests safer from COVID-19.

New cleaning procedures are in effect, cash will be prohibited, and masks will be required for all visitors over three. New signage will encourage people to stay at a safe social distance. The MCA has also created a timed ticketing system; visitors will be required to purchase tickets in advance. The museum is extending its hours to allow more people to come inside, but many of the in-person events the MCA has built its reputation on have migrated online.

The museum's opening day, July 1, will be for members only, and Mondays will be reserved for members, too. Weekends will be free, and Tuesday mornings will be designed for high-risk guests.

All this will allow visitors the chance to enjoy Ward's work without jam-packed crowds. And his work will be well worth spending time with. The New York-based artist's installations are created from found objects, and look at the politics of immigration, identity and urban life.

"For decades, Ward’s work has highlighted some of the most searing aspects of American culture, including racism and power as well as national identity and immigration," explains the MCA in a statement. "Now more than ever, we believe it will resonate with our city in this moment of crisis."

For those not ready to go to the MCA, the institution will continue to offer robust virtual programming, including a virtual opening for the Ward show that will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1.

At the virtual opening, there will be comedy from Janae Burris, a tour of the exhibition from MCA director Nora Burnett Abrams, a talk with Gary Carrion-Murayari, one of the curators of the exhibit, and Ward himself. The event will be hosted by Colorado artist Michael Gadlin and Andy Guevara. DJ Bella Scratch will host a live dance party afterward.

For more information about online programming and COVID-19 safety precautions, go to the MCA Denver website.

click to enlarge Dean Sobel oversaw the construction of the Clyfford Still Museum. - CLYFFORD STILL MUSEUM
Dean Sobel oversaw the construction of the Clyfford Still Museum.
Clyfford Still Museum

The Clyfford Still Museum will also open to members on July 1; the general public will be allowed back on July 7. Timed ticketing will be in effect.

"In addition to strictly limiting the number of visitors, the Museum is also posting one-way directional guidance, installing plexi-barriers at check in, and requiring visitors ages three and older and staff to wear adequate face covering while inside the Museum," explains the CSM in a statement. "The Museum has implemented enhanced and more frequent facility cleaning measures and adopted additional safety protocols for both visitors and staff, which are included in detail on the CSM website. The website also includes policies that strive to make each visitor’s experience as safe as possible."

The museum will reopen the exhibition The Early Years: Clyfford Still in Canada, 1920–33.

"We're delighted to be in a position to safely reopen our entire facility and, with the reduced occupancy and enhanced safety and cleaning protocols, to provide visitors with an even more intimate experience with the artworks within our light-filled galleries,” says Clyfford Still Museum head Dean Sobel. “We are asking each visitor to monitor their own symptoms and practice good hygiene and prevention measures to help ensure the Museum maintains a safe environment."

For more information about ticketing and exhibitions, go to the Clyfford Still Museum website.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris