Category Archives: Art

Don’t Miss the Stars Wars Costume Exhibit!

April 6, 2017

It’s not too late to visit the Star Wars Costume Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.  It has been extended to April 9th, so there is one more day!  Tickets for adults with audio are $28 and appointment times are available every 15 minutes though many times are sold out.

I was fortunate to go a few days ago when it wasn’t very crowded.  I believe any Star Wars fan will appreciate the exhibit, but an of those who like movies and fashion might like this exhibit.  It probably suits Star Wars and fashion fans the best.

The costume designers, artists and George Lucas went through significant processes to create these costumes.  They started with sketches, then story boards, then small models, and then the final product.  Many of the costumes looked like wool, yet were mostly made of silk because it was a lighter material that could swing around in fighting scenes.

My favorite part of the exhibit was watching the video on C-3PO…poor Anthony Daniels, the actor who has played the droid in every movie.  The costume legs were tight and stiff so that he couldn’t walk well.  “Perfect,” said George Lucas, “it looks like a robot walking.”  In addition, Anthony Daniels couldn’t sit down in the costume, so during the breaks in 115⁰ weather in the desert, he had to stand there while someone helped him drink water!  Sometimes the costume would fall apart and other times he’d just fall down while walking and have to be helped up!

Another actor for whom I felt sorry was Peter Mayhew.  He played Chewbacca, loaded down in 15 pounds of yak hair in the original Star Wars series.  In these movies, there wasn’t a cooling system as there is now.

The exhibit wasn’t too long.  It only took me about an hour to go through after listening to the audio for 13 stations.  There was a large exhibit of Padme’s costumes, and those who like materials and embroideries would really like this.  I tended to like the plastic storm trooper costumes.  Overall, it is worth seeing.  Hurry and get your ticket!  ETB

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Parade of Lights

Parade of Lights
Location: Downtown near 16th St. Mall
Website: http://www.denverparadeoflights.com/

December 5, 2015

So, since I have lived in Denver and have known about the Parade of Lights, I have wanted to go.  The one time I planned on it, it was -9 degrees Fahrenheit.  I decided frostbite wasn’t worth it.

This year the weather was magnificent.  David and I decided to go downtown early for dinner and then watch the parade.  We stumbled upon a Peruvian place on Champa between 15th and 17th where we found a place to park.  We were surprised to find a meter, but later we realized we were between the parade route, though it wasn’t a problem.

After dinner, we wandered up to 17th and found a spot right on the corner at 6pm.  We lucked out as the street was lined with spectators four people deep and we only had to stand behind one person.  I suppose for a better view, getting there before the parade started would be a plus.  The start of the parade was about 20 minutes from us.  The floats were somewhat spread out which lengthened the parade to about an hour.

 

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Museum of Outdoor Arts

November 5, 2015

Museum of Outdoor Arts
Indoor Gallery and Sculpture Garden

1000 Englewood Parkway, Suite 2-230
Englewood, CO 80110
phone: 303-806-0444
email: see http://www.moaonline.org/contactus/
website: http://www.moaonline.org

Hours for Indoor Gallery: Tuesday-Thursday 9-5, Friday 9-4, Saturday 11-4, but check their website for special events and when they are setting up new exhibits

Fees: Free, but $5 donation suggested

Today my friend Tanya and I decided to visit the Museum of Outdoor Arts Indoor Gallery located in the City of Englewood’s Civic Center. We tried visiting about a month ago, but it was closed while staff was setting up the current exhibit, Altered Reality.

We found a few of the exhibits to be rather thought provoking. My favorite piece were 2 dimensional images that were printed by a 3-D printer. Each two dimensional image was rotated 360 degrees on its Y axis for the 3-D object to be created. It was really fascinating to see an image of a small plane look like a spinning top in 3-D. It’s amazing what the human mind deciphers when compared to a computer that only copies an image.

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We also enjoyed the exhibits the displayed images of deconstructed boxes used in everyday products like toothpaste and deconstructed envelopes shown before they are folded.

Many of the other exhibits were a play on words, images, and letters.

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The outdoor museum has an indoor space because the City provides the space for free. The museum also displays several sculptures around the city center streets as well as nearby Fiddler’s Green. Each has an audio tour associated with it.

The museum doesn’t take long to visit, so it would be best to have something else planned in the area if traveling any distance. Overall, it was fun to check out. ETB

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Deborah Butterfield Exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens

September 26, 2015

Denver Botanic Gardens
10007 York Street
Denver, CO 80207
720-865-3500, press 0
email: see contact us on website
http://www.botanicgardens.org/

Hours: 9am-8pm

Fees: Members/Free, Adults/$15, Students and Seniors/$12, Kids (3-15)/$9, Kids under 3/Free

David and I went to the Denver Botanic Gardens to check out the Deborah Butterfield: The Nature of Horses exhibit. We were prepared to pay, but it ended up being a free day at the gardens, so we were pleasantly surprised, especially given that it wasn’t crowded on a gorgeous September afternoon.

We were thoroughly impressed with the horse sculptures which were made of wood, then bronzed, and then painted to look like drift wood. I would have never guessed that the sculptures were bronzed and painted. The horses looked just like they were made of drift wood. They were quite amazing.

The gardens were nice as well. We enjoyed a light snack at the outdoor restaurant and admired a variety of beautiful flowers. What a pleasant Saturday afternoon in Denver! ETB

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Blue Columbine website

Matisse and Friends Exhibit

February 6, 2015

Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century
Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Ave Pkwy
Denver, CO 80204
Phone: 720-865-5000
Website: http://www.denverartmuseum.org/exhibitions

Fees: Colorado adult resident – $10, non-resident adult $13; for seniors and youth pricing check the website; member – free
Hours: Tues-Thurs, Sat-Sun 10-5; Friday 10-8

While I have to say Tanya and I enjoyed a lovely day on this splendid, Denver afternoon, I recommend not paying for the Matisse and Friends Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. And given it is closing today (February 8, 2015), don’t feel bad if you missed it.

We started out with lunch on the patio at Lo Stella enjoying 60 degree temperatures in February! My grilled seafood salad was fantastic as well. Tanya ordered the Nicoise which wasn’t traditional, but a nice salad once she added salmon.

Lo Stella is just a few blocks from the museum, so in no time we presented our member cards, and had access to a large, exhibit room on the first floor that seemed like it would house several Matisse paintings which we were excited to see. Much to our dismay, the exhibit displayed more of his “friends” work, than that of Matisse. And while I am no art connoisseur, both Tanya and I liked some of his “friends” work, better than the four Matisse paintings hanging on two walls.

Due to the bright colors, we liked Matisse’s “The Open Window” the best. It was also cool to see how he depicted the scene compared to a black and white photo of the window located at the entrance of the room.

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Our favorite painting in the Matisse exhibit was by Rauol Dufy. It was of sailboats.

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Despite the limited number of paintings in the exhibit, only 14 in total, the atmosphere with different colored walls and cozy seating arrangements were an added touch.

Fortunately, the museum is large. Since we strolled through the Matisse exhibit so quickly, we wandered through part of the regular museum. Some of the western art was fantastic, along with “junk” art made of cardboard and styrofoam.

There was also a neat piece made of the metal pieces that cover the tops of wine bottles. All in all we had a nice time, though we wished there were more than four Matisse oils. ETB

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Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century

December 13, 2014

Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century
Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Ave Pkwy
Denver, CO 80204
Phone: 720-865-5000
Website: http://www.denverartmuseum.org/exhibitions

Fees: Non-member weekend with audio: $27, Non-member weekday with audio: $25; for member pricing and other discounts check the website
Hours: Tues-Thurs, Sat-Sun 10-5; Friday 10-8

Cartier was founded in Paris, France in 1847 by Louis Francois Cartier.  The company remained family owned until 1964.  Louis Francois Cartier’s grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, who were responsible for making the brand recognizable world wide.

Cartier sold its jewels to royalty and movie stars and produced several different styles of clocks, vanity cases, and jewelry influenced by a variety of cultures.  I was suprised to see the Asian Influence at the Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.

What a treat for Denverites as Denver is the only US city where this exhibit will travel.  It stays open until March 15th and is worth a visit.  Crown jewels displayed at the beginning reflected the light so brightly, I couldn’t even snap a good photo.

I found a few favorites.  One bracelet which I thought was ruby and diamond also included enamel and onyx.  I was surprised to read about the extra gems and stopped to take a closer look at all the intricacies.  So subtle and spectacular at the same time!

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I also loved the Tutti Frutti line of jewels.  How colorful and so detailed!  One of the necklaces on display was worn by Daisy Fellowes, an American heiress to the Singer sewing machine, daughter of a French duke, and married to a French prince, known for her taste in fashion.

It was interesting to learn about the Mystery Clocks.  The hands look as it they are floating and no operating mechanisms can be seen.  It turns out each hand is enclosed into its own crystal disc.  Each of the crystal discs turn, not the hands.  Speaking of clocks, the first Cartier wristwatch was inspired by aviation as pocket watches were unreliable and impractical.

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After the war, when metal and money was scarce, Cartier turned to using less expensive gem stones and gold. The designs were still amazing…sleek and bold!

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Other items on display were Grace Kelly’s engagement ring along with a magnificent diamond necklace she used to wear as well as a ruby and diamond necklace worn by Liz Taylor.  I’m so glad I was able to join Tanya and her family to see this exhibit.  ETB

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Lighthouse website

Visit the Clyfford Still Museum

October 31, 2014

Clifford Still Museum
1250 Bannock St.
Denver, CO 80204
Phone:720-354-4880
Email: info@clyffordstillmuseum.org
Website: http://www.clyffordstillmuseum.org

Fees: Adult-$10, Membership-$45; See website for details on groups, seniors, and children
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday/Sunday 10am-5pm, Friday 10am-8pm

The Clyfford Still Museum offered a free day on Halloween. Knowing nothing about Clyfford Still, I took advantage of it. I am still stumped as to why there is an entire museum dedicated to Clyfford Stills in Denver. I know upon his death, his will stipulated that his work go to an American city that was willing to dedicate a permanent museum to his creations, but I wonder how his wife picked Denver given he spent most of his life on both coasts. The short stint he spent in Colorado was for teaching, and he did not paint during that summer in the state. I suppose I should just consider Denverites lucky.

Clyfford Still was one of the first artists to develop abstract expressionism, a new approach to painting that began shortly after World War II. I was expecting to see lots of modern art on canvas; however, his work ranges depending on the period of his life. I’m generally not the biggest fan of “modern art”, as I don’t see how one line or splatter paint can be so coveted when it seems like a three year old could do it!

Having said that, I’m not knocking Clyfford Still’s work. In fact, I was quite impressed. I loved moving from room to room in the stark museum to see how his work changed over time. In addition, his talent was recognizable given the variety of techniques and medium in which he practiced. The museum exhibited watercolors, oils, carvings, etchings, charcoal and more. He painted landscapes, self portraits, and abstracts.

Much of his work at the museum has never been seen as he kept it rolled up in his studio. While most of his work has been in very good condition, the museum has restored some of his work and offers a rotating exhibit to display his all his pieces. I enjoyed the museum and made it through the space in an hour or so, probably a little faster than most. ETB

Side Note: Photography is allowed without a flash and available for personal use, but not commercially. Given I don’t write my blog for money, I understand it is OK to post a few photos to encourage my readers to visit the museum.

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Lighthouse website

Union Station Whistle-Stop

September 29, 2014

Union Station
1701 Wynkoop
Denver, CO 80202

Website: http://www.unionstationindenver.com
Email: info@unionstationindenver.com

The newly renovated Union Station in Downtown Denver deserves more than a whistle-stop, more like a weekend, but I thought “whistle-stop” was a catch title!

On a rainy Monday night, I was fortunate to visit Union Station with my friend Caro, who is a member of the Denver Art Museum’s Design Council. Through programs and events, the Design Council, which was established in 1990, provides a variety of unique opportunities to it’s members and a tour of Union Station and the Crawford Hotel was no exception. What a treat! http://www.denverartmuseum.org/membership-support/design-council

Having only been in Denver a few years, I was not familiar with the history of the station, but I understand that it was somewhat dilapidated, stinky, and threatened to be demolished at times. The station opened in 1881 to serve four different railways. During its heyday in the 1900’s it served 80 trains a day. Today it serves 2 trains a day though the service will be expanding with the new and improved station that has an “old-timey” feel, but looks lovely.

Our tour was led by Dana Crawford, for whom the Crawford Hotel is named. What a lady! Ms. Crawford has been involved in Urban Renewal for decades. She pioneered the redevelopment of Larimer Square in the 1960’s and was involved in saving Union Station from being demolished many years ago. http://danacrawford.net/home.html

Now the station will house RTD’s front range bus route, light rail, and a full Amtrak schedule. The light rail from DIA is scheduled to arrive in 2016! The station is also home to a few shops and a variety of bars, fancy restaurants, and a 112 room hotel. The hotel rooms wrap around the wings that extend from the station’s lobby. The 22 foot ceilings allowed for an extra floor to be added to create three types of rooms: small, art deco pullman rooms; classic rooms, and loft rooms. Several people like the small, pullman rooms, that emulate sleeping in a train car. I personally loved the lofts decorated with rustic looking furniture and complete with the wooden beams that cut through the bathrooms. http://thecrawfordhotel.com/

I’m not sure if we saw the deluxe or premium or superior category of each room, but rooms are available for about $260/night and increasing, not counting taxes. After seeing the rooms, we enjoyed cocktails at the lounge that overlooked the lobby before we finally ventured down to the Mercantile for a fantastic dinner! Caro ordered the short ribs. I ordered the fish. Both were flavorful. My “snack” (as they call it) appetizer which included a variety of spreads for bread was enough for two and only priced at $6. http://mercantiledenver.com/

Despite the stormy weather, the restaurant was quite full, and from what I understand, Union Station is packed on the weekends, so plan your visit for a dinner, night or a weekend…it’s worth it! ETB

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The Chihuly Exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens

September 16, 2014

Denver Botanic Gardens
10007 York Street
Denver, CO 80207
720-865-3500, press 0
email: see contact us on website
http://www.botanicgardens.org/

Hours: 9am-8pm

Fees: Members/Free, Adults/$15, Students and Seniors/$12, Kids (3-15)/$9, Kids under 3/Free

The Chihuly Exhibit has been at Denver Botanic Gardens’ York Street location since June 14th and remains in the heart of Denver until November 30, 2014.

I attended the exhibit opening night for garden members in the rain a few months ago and then again last night with a few of my girlfriends. I thought it would be interesting to see the glass in all different light…overcast, sunset, and night.

Being a member, the exhibit is free until October 3rd when Chihuly Nights begins. At such time, there is a $10 admission fee for members and $15 for non-members as the gardens are not usually open at night in the winter-time, though it appears members are afforded two complimentary tickets, so reserve them now!

Chihuly is from Washington, studied interior design and continued his education in glass in the late 1960s. In 1971, he co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State and is credited in revolutionizing the glass blowing industry. His pieces can be found all over the world. For as famous as he is, I thought maybe there would be more information on each piece of art. Perhaps it is just the statistician in me that made me wonder how much glass he used for each piece, how long it took to make each one, how much each one weighed, and his inspirations for each creation.

I didn’t find much of that information online (a little on inspiration) or at the Botanic Gardens, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the art work. Some of the pieces looked like snakes, others birds, feathers, icicles, fire, spouts of water and rocks, just to name a few. The pieces dotting the landscape of the gardens added to the majesty. I particularly liked the boat of balls. The colorful reflection in the tranquil pond equals “Serenity Now”.

We wandered along the sidewalks, trails, and the wending river rock path twice through the variety of gardens to not only get different view of the glass, but to also enjoy the waterfalls, ponds, flowers, cacti and fragrances. Along with the Chihuly Exhibition, the Denver Botanic Gardens offers a variety of programs and events from summer concerts, classes and plant and bulb sales. It’s important to check its website for special events and closures.

The York Street location is a gem. I have yet to visit the Chatfield location or Mt. Goliath but will have to soon! ETB

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