The museum, which after COVID-19 closures had just reopened in early 2021 with a promising show celebrating the new year, was forced to shutter again on February 15.
When the polar vortex hit Denver this winter, freezing temperatures caused a pipe valve in the building to burst, and water wreaked havoc on all three floors. Staff responded quickly, moving thousands of artworks out of harm's way. The Kirkland's collection includes more than 30,000 pieces; just a few were permanently damaged. Most that were affected have been restored and will be back on display.
Although the structural damage was limited to the museum's new building — and did not affect Vance Kirkland’s historic studio, which houses an art school — the new building required major repairs, including the replacement of drywall.
But now, finally, the repairs are wrapped. “The Museum is back!” notes associate director Renée Albiston, in an announcement of the reopening date.
The first exhibit will be Truth, Beauty and Power: Christopher Dresser and the Aesthetic Movement, a look at how the British designer influenced the little-explored movement that ran from 1865 to 1900. Many objects from the museum's massive collection will be on display for the first time, including a fascinating five-legged chair.
“In conjunction with our exhibition opening with the Museum on August 27, we are delighted to announce that per Harry Lyons and Dorman Museum, we believe this chair was designed by Christopher Dresser,” says Albiston. “The chair was always intriguing, lovely and extraordinarily good design, and is only enhanced by this connection to one of the central designers of the era.”
The show runs through January 2 and is included with general admission.
Also on display when the museum reopens will be Vance Kirkland's signature 1971 painting, "Four Suns in Space."
Concludes Albiston: “We can’t wait to welcome visitors again to immerse themselves in our beautiful collection and galleries.”