ART SPACE(s): Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
Five Takeaways from the MCA Denver
The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver successfully breaks down barriers between communities and contemporary art through its architecture, content, and programming. This post concentrates on five elements that impressed me during my recent visit to this modern trove located on the fringe of Denver.
“MCA Denver is an innovative forum for contemporary art that inspires and challenges all audiences, creating understandingand dialog about the art of our time.”
The galleries do not have object labels or wall text. Instead, the museum offers laminated sheets listing artworks on-view or concise gallery guides in both English and Spanish. The advantage of this kind of presentation is that it provides an uninterrupted aesthetic experience for visitors. Wall-based works hang against white-washed walls, and freestanding sculptures pervade pristine galleries. The gallery guide opens with an excerpt from an interview with Curator Nora Burnett Abrams and the currently featured artist, Tara Donovan. The snapshot of this interview is an intriguing beginning because it allows participants to hear the artist’s voice and intention. The remainder of the gallery guide is broken down by photographs of each gallery space and about three sentences of interpretation. This might seem uninteresting, but as someone who writes gallery guides, I am impressed with the museum’s ability to clearly create connections between audiences and contemporary art, a form of art that many find intimidating (example below).
“The juxtaposition between these two bodies of work asks viewers a question about an artistic idea realized in two different ways–how does it affect perception and vision? The implication here is that the experience of one body of work complicates the experience of the other. But, it also invites the viewer to reevaluate the way in which one perceives images versus objects. The works provoke questions as to what is concrete and what is material.”
Aside from the dedicated studio space for teens, MCA Denver’s rooftop boasts an indoor cafe and generous outdoor seating. The modern cafe is a mixture of reflective surfaces, dark wood paneling, white wire furnishings, and potted terrariums. The sun deck surrounding the cafe offers a sprawling view of downtown Denver and the central Platte Valley. They make a mean chai but also have a selection of beer and wine. The visitors gathered around the deck on a brisk Saturday morning were mostly people in the mid 20’s to mid 30’s sipping hot drinks. There were also a couple of families with young children.
Regardless of your age, if you find yourself in Denver, or have friends and family in the area, encourage them to visit the progressive museum and their engaging art exhibition, Fieldwork.
Interested in learning more? Check out the links below for people, places, and artworks referenced in this article.
David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates