Monday, October 16, 2006

DAM Fine Building

Those of you who know me know I’m an art and architecture freak.

So I was geeked up big time last Friday when Jan and I went down to the brand new Denver Art Museum Fredrick Hamilton Building. I’ve been waiting for two years. Last week was the grand opening.

The people who founded the Denver Art Museum had a genius for marketing. Could have called it the Denver Museum of Art according to common practice. But would have missed out on every opportunity to sell Denver Art Museum (DAM) products. DAM Fine Art. DAM Fine Paintings. DAM Fine Food in the DAM Fine Cafe. DAM Fine T-Shirts.

Daniel Libeskind--the guy chosen to design the new World Trade Center in New York—designed the Hamilton Building. He’s a painfully hip Swiss global nomad wearing the obligatory black but his work breaks through stereotypes in a big way.

Denver is a visually striking city. A lot of cool architecture. Big skies. Remarkable light. And of course, the Rockies as the backdrop. Very sophisticated arts scene. Very few folks here are easily blown away.

But the Hamilton is the shock of the new in the best sense of that term.

It’s a jagged titanium crystal formation erupting out of the pavement. Libeskind says he was trying to capture the sharp geometric jumble of rocks and shattered angles you see in the Rockies. He definitely pulled it off.

The inside is almost as cool as the outside. Almost nothing at 90 degrees in the whole building. Going up and down the staircase is a little like mountain climbing over irregular terrain.

I loved it but a lot of people who visited the first week said they got vertigo and had to hang on tight to the railing.

What could be better in an art museum? :^) That's what art and architecture are supposed to do--knock you a little cock-eyed so you'll look closely and stop taking things for granted.

At least for the moment, the "dusty old cow town" is at the center of the art world. Sweet!

Check out the pics.


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