Shelf Lives

We all have a personal cabinet of curiosity lurking inside, but do we know how to open the doors? To truly understand Cabinet of Curiosities, a whimsical new exhibit that opens today at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, knowledge of its history helps: “The concept goes back to the sixteenth century, when cabinets of curiosity were entire meditation rooms that people filled with visual memories and encyclopedic knowledge,” MOA creative director Lonnie Hanzon explains. “They actually once thought they could just sit in a room of stuff and by osmosis understand the whole world. Later, cabinets of curiosity morphed into everything from museums all the way down to Grandma’s curio cabinet.”

With that in mind, MOA is presenting the disparate COC visions of twelve artists, whose artistic impressions range from Arthurian tackle boxes and couture paper dolls of fictional archetypal women to blown-glass conundrums and scientifically exact object collections. It’s territory that Hanzon, an artist/designer with a baroque sense of adventure and a predilection for the antique, clearly loves. “My own contribution is ‘Lewis Carroll’s Imaginary Cabinet,’ which is a full room of Lonnie going completely berserk,” he says. “It’s packed with fairy-tale reliquaries containing things like Little Red’s riding hood and Miss Muffet’s tuffet.”

The curious are welcome at an opening reception on October 10 from 5 to 9 p.m., or you can see the show at your leisure; it’s open weekdays through March 5, 2010, at MOA, 1000 Englewood Parkway, in the Englewood Civic Center. Admission is free; get details at or call 303-806-0444.
Oct. 10-March 5, 2009

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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