During 2018, the Denver Art Museum strategically enhanced the breadth and depth of its collection through a variety of major acquisitions, both purchases and gifts from generous museum supporters including artists.
DENVER, CO.- This ongoing refinement and expansion of the museum’s collection exemplifies the DAM’s enduring commitment to maintain a diverse collection that reflects the community and provides invaluable ways for audiences to learn about cultures from around the world. Following are some selected acquisition highlights from 2018.
The Eames Storage Unit (ESU), which entered the architecture, design and graphics collection in 2018, will be included in Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, which will be on view at the DAM May 5–Aug. 25, 2019. Following World War II, the American home emerged as a site for architectural discourse, as architects and designers explored new ways of living. Perhaps the most influential American designers of this period were the husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames. Their ESU series—an inexpensive solution to the changing storage and display needs of midcentury families—was constructed of standardized and interchangeable parts and easily adaptable to a variety of uses, while expressing a playfulness in design. The colorful panels of this model also reflect Ray’s appreciation of the art of Piet Mondrian from her days as an artist in New York in the 1930s.
The Asian art department was the recipient of several Chinese artworks bequeathed by Justine Kirk in memory of her mother, Justine Sarkisian Rodriguez, and her uncle, H. Medill Sarkisian.
The bequest included a Tang dynasty sculpture of Guanyin (pictured), a well as a pair of famille noir vases with floral and bird motif and a pair of bowls with dragon and phoenix motif from the Kangxi period (1662-1722).
The modern and contemporary art department acquired a number of significant works this year.
In 2018, in addition to other pieces, the photography department acquired a selection of photographic works previously on view in Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989-2013 and New Territory: Landscape Photography Today.
Ether is a poetic series of photographs created by Fazal Sheikh in Benares (Varanasi), India, a city on the Ganges River that is sacred to Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Muslims. Ether is a reflection on sleeping and dreaming, death and transcendence that evokes the universal mysteries underlying human belief.
Abelardo Morell has adapted an ancient technology to make surprising and unique photographs of urban and rural landscapes. His image of Cathedral Rocks acquired in 2018 is one of a series of tent-camera pictures Morell made at National Parks throughout the U.S. It relates directly to the mid-19th century photographs of Carleton E. Watkins, whose grand style views of the Yosemite Valley have been a touchstone for American landscape photographers for 150 years.
Matthew Brandt’s triptych, Lake Isabella CA TC 2, incorporated water from the lake depicted in the image into the ‘development’ process and is an example of Brandt’s highly experimental approach to the photographic medium. Throughout his work, Brandt manipulates historical processes and occasionally invents new ones to make photographs using a wide variety of materials.
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