Arts and Culture

The Denver Art Museum's reinstallation of ¿Being Home? means you don't have to be

The best thing about the holidays? It brings families together. The worst thing about the holidays? Right: It brings families together. But here's something enlightening to remember when that dark moment comes down and you fear you are going to do something horrible to your children the next time they say, "I'm bored," or more likely, "Can I and five of my bratty friends (whose parents sent them over here to get rid of them) help you make forty dozen Christmas cookies and smear frosting all over the kitchen and our faces and hands, mom?" Word of warning: Do not go to the Cherry Creek mall and think they can wear themselves out in the elbow-to-elbow Looney Tunes bin. Nope.

Instead, you can take them to a real urban jungle of a play place, because the Denver Art Museum had the brilliant idea to resurrect the installation Rupprecht Matthies: ¿Being Home?, a fabulous museum purchase that debuted two years ago as part of immensely popular, hands-on Embrace! exhibition. Pssst: Just as with a holiday movie for families that's shot through with double entendres for the adults, you don't have to be a kid to enjoy it.

Westword art critic Michael Paglia described it thus in 2009:

For this piece, facsimiles of words were created out of various materials and then piled up on the floor, mounted on the walls or hung from the ceiling. The words -- and even the handwriting styles -- originated with the diverse group of local individuals who submitted them. The words were made of different materials, with the cloth-covered pillow-like ones marking another layer of collaboration, as a crew of volunteer seamstresses ran them up in a kind of sew-in

Which in real life translates into something you can hug, squeeze and in some cases, climb over. A color-crazed environment of words in Plexiglass, Styrofoam, cloth, foam and what-have-you, ¿Being Home? reopened over the weekend on the first level of the DAM's Hamilton Building and remains on view through February 12. Museum admission is $3 to $13 (children ages five and younger are admitted free); call 720-865-5000.

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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