The Art of Becoming

Dr. Timothy Standring’s sense of humor no doubt kept him going throughout the arduous seven-year process of co-curating the one-of-a-kind blockbuster exhibition Becoming Van Gogh, which opens today at the Denver Art Museum. Though it does sport seventy paintings and drawings gathered from more than sixty public and private collections, and he’s satisfied with the unique mixture of works hitting the DAM’s walls, Strandring admits he did suffer a few losses. “I’ve become the exhibit’s attorney of lost causes,” he jokes, alluding to the bargaining process. “Every curator is greedy, but it’s a good greed.” But museum patrons will most likely be unaware of any holes in the display, considering that the DAM doesn’t own even one van Gogh, to begin with. It will be enough just to experience the real thing, and the only place this collection will ever be seen is right here in Denver.

Also unique to Becoming Van Gogh is its focus on the concerted development of the self-taught artist’s instantly recognizable style and technical finesse over his ten-year career, rather than solely on its sheer emotional exuberance. “This is going to be a slow-food exhibition for people to savor his works of art as they never have before,” Standring says. “And then they’re going to say, ‘Now I get it. Now I see the relationship between his gestures and acts as an artist.’ It’s no longer going to be a cliché. It’s going to be a verity that they’ll continue discussing in bars and at dinner parties.” Standring is also certain that this is a show people will want to see more than once.

That said, see Becoming Van Gogh again and again through January 20 at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; timed tickets are $13 to $25 (or $11 to $18 for DAM members). For information and reservations, visit
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 21. Continues through Jan. 20, 2012

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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