15 tips for traveling in Seattle, Washington

25 05 2014

I recently traveled to Seattle for the American Alliance of Museums Annual Conference, and in my downtime I made the effort to get to know this ‘Emerald City’ on the sound. Seattle itself has a population a little over 600,000, but its metropolitan area comesΒ in at over 3 million. It feels similar to both Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado in both size and attitude. It’s casual with a touch of urban, and boasts great food, music, and beer. What’s not to like?

10374070_10154175521310068_2266983958889457939_n Read the rest of this entry »


Endings and beginnings

23 03 2014

IMG_1221 All beginnings end, leading to new beginnings. The job I consider the beginning of my museum career comes to an end this month. Next month I begin a new job at the University of Colorado Art Museum.

I am thankful for the opportunities for professional and personal development my job at the Denver Art Museum allowed. I will forever be in debt to the mentors that took me on – I could spend a lifetime learning from them. Most of all, I’m thankful for the one who finally pushed me out of the nest. Read the rest of this entry »

Some days…

19 07 2013

…my job leaves me awestruck by the incredible creativity and beauty in our world.
Yesterday was one of those days.

6.18.13 cave

This summer the Denver Art Museum is hosting an exhibition of nearly all new works by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave. The exhibition, Nick Cave:Sojourn, is breathtaking in its own right but what’s more is that the Denver Art Museum has brought not one but TWO performances with Nick’s soundsuits to Denver as well.

The first performance was June 28. Nick worked with three area dance companies to create vignettes with a variety of Nick’s wearable sculptures. The second performance is tonight in collaboration with the city of Denver’s Biennial of the Americas and will occur in the middle of Civic Center Park. Tonight’s performance features 30 of Nick’s horse soundsuits, which are created primarily from natural and synthetic raffia and weigh approximately 60 pounds. It takes two people to ‘man’ these wearable sculptures, and quite a bit of strength and coordination.

I had the good fortune of witnessing the dress rehearsal yesterday under the bright blue Colorado sky with Denver’s downtown skyline in the background. These magnificent creations truly came alive; inspiring a sense of child-like awe in all of us watching. Adults and children alike watched with glee and delight as these ‘animals’ took over the park. And I for one could not have wiped the ear-to-ear grin off of my face if I tried.

June: cupcakes, collections and snow globes. Oh, my!

30 06 2012

I’ve had the delight this month of having been invited to participate in ArtSocial’s collaborative Pinterest pinboard: collections & cupcakes. We’ve had a great deal of fun posting all things cupcakes, including some of the most amazing recipes I have ever seen: Blue Moon, Cosmopolitan, or Matcha cupcakes anyone? We also found ourselves discussing the conundrum: is a ‘giant cupcake’ just a cake in the shape of a cupcake, or is a cupcake just a small cake with a particular shape? I’m not sure we ever did come to a clear conclusion…

As the title illustrates, the pinboard also featured all thing ‘collections’. We’ve seen delightful collections of Pez dispensers, ice cream flavors, painted sticks, books, and even a wall of fertilizer bags.

June also found me visiting the studio of Denver-based artist Phil Bender for work. Phil is known for his eclectic use of found materials, usually the nostalgic detritus of our consumer culture, in rigid geometric compositions reminiscent of Minimalist works from the 1970s. You can view some of his works here. I found my visit to Phil’s studio was a study in what collecting can be in its most extreme state (see example below).

June also marked the beginning of the DAMC Salon Series. Each event in this series is a visit to a private home and collection of a Denver-area patron of the Museum. Attendees, who pay a not-so-trivial sum to attend, hear from collectors about how they got started collecting and what keeps them excited about collecting, and living with, contemporary art. These events are always a success for us; as it turns out, we all like to have an excuse to see how other people live. I’ve facilitated three years of Salons, and one thing I’ve noticed is that over the years the same sentiment keeps popping up with many of the collectors I’ve worked with: collecting is like a disease. Oh, and that one should always collect what they love.

All of the focus on collections this month made me reconsider my own habits of collecting. I’ve always accumulated things, which I attribute to my over-sentimentalizing of objects. There is one particular standout: for whatever the reason (and I genuinely don’t recall how it started) I have a collection of snow globes.

They’ve been mostly boxed up and stored away for the past four years, but when I was invited to collaborate on the “collections & cupcakes” pinboard I knew I would have to unpack them. And unpack them I have. And in unpacking them and lining them up to photograph them I realized something: I love them. As absurd as they are, I truly love how they flood me with fond memories whenever I pass them.

Why did I ever box them up and try to tell myself I was ‘over’ collecting them? As I saw all of the snow globes lined up, memorializing so many places I’ve been (and some I haven’t), I became ashamed I ever ‘stopped’ collecting them because I was worried what house guests would think of my collection. Missing now are Budapest, Prague, Kyoto, Tokyo… such significant moments in my life are absent from my collection!

Now I find myself dusting off my collection, displaying them proudly, and scouring eBay for snow globes to fill the gaping holes in my collection.

Art World Shenanigan Post 4 – Museum Basement Finds

8 06 2012

Today we began cleaning out a storage area in the basement of the Museum office building. Here are some of the gems we discovered:





The Joys of Teaching!(?)

3 06 2012

I’ve recently started teaching 20th century art history at a Denver-area art college. I love it! My students are passionate, eager, and open-minded. They contribute to our seminar-style class with thoughtful comments. They are inspiring!Wahrhol-TV

All of that being said, there are also times I don’t love it. When I realize that there are gaping holes in their education I begin to feel a little down. I begin to wonder what students are learning in high school if not proper punctuation usage and basic grammatical principles. I wonder what was more important than a basic understanding of 20th century global history. Then I begin to ask myself, how are students graduating without a solid understand of the history of their own country, especially of the 20th century? And how am I supposed to teach 20th century art, which is often a reaction to what’s happening in the larger context of our culture, if students don’t have a solid grasp on the larger context of what was happening in our culture in a given decade?

When I have to take time out of my lecture on art in order to teach history, that’s a problem. And I don’t love that.

Another Art World Shenanigan (and another reason I love my job)

25 03 2012

How did you spend your Friday?

I spent 8 hours of mine making this installation happen for the black-tie opening gala forΒ Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective at the DAM.

This installation, called Black Pearls, draped down three floors of the El Pomar Atrium at the DAM. It consisted of 2000 balloons tied to a central line of parachute cord. No big deal right?

Along with 10 of my museum peeps, I started work at 7:30am. And because the Museum was open from 10am-3pm on Friday we staged the massive 400 foot length of balloon-y goodness in the auditorium.

We cranked up a little reggae through the Museum auditorium’s dolby sound system and had a grand time blowing up and bouncing balloons around. The process took until 3pm, at which time the Museum closed and we could begin to snake the 400 feet of balloons up the stairs from the lower level to the main level of the atrium.

Once we had the massive snake of balloons in place in the atrium we began the process of fluffing and filling in the line (we invariably had some popping occur during transport). By 5:30pm we were free to leave to get ready for the gala, and arrived back at the Museum at 6:45pm all dolled-up and ready for an amazing night of fashion, friends, and cocktails. (And a little added excitement of a balloon occasionally popping!)



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