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Scene Colorado/Sin Colorado



(above: Gary Sweeney, Scene Colorado/Sin Colorado, 1994, hand-tinted photograph into vinyl billboard, 84 x 150 inches, Denver Art Museum; funds from Polly and Mark Addison.)


Opening on May 8, 2004 is the last exhibition of the Denver Art Museum's modern and contemporary art collection before it moves into new galleries on the top two floors of the Frederic C. Hamilton Building in 2006. Scene Colorado/Sin Colorado, an exhibition of 75 objects by 44 Colorado artists drawn from the Museum's permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, will be on view through August 22, 2004.

"Although it is only a handful of the work by Colorado artists in our permanent collection, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to show off great Colorado art in this exhibition," said Dianne Vanderlip, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Denver Art Museum. (right: Stephen Batura, Mid-Winter - 1903, 1998, casein and gesso on birch plywood. Denver Art Museum; funds from benefit sales at Ron Judish Fine Arts and William Havu Gallery, and from Colorado Contemporary Collectors, 1999.28)

The exhibition, which has a loose thematic structure, includes acquisitions from the late 1970s through 2004, bringing together many different mediums from the collection-painting, sculpture, photography, conceptual art, and a video surround-sound installation.

"In piecing together this exhibition I resisted the natural tendency to arrange it thematically or chronologically, but rather looked to the visual connections of the artwork to create each gallery," said Vanderlip.

Scene Colorado/Sin Colorado features artists who are regarded as leaders in their specific fields and whose individual artistic statements have contributed to the rich culture of Colorado. This includes photographer Robert Adams, the only Colorado artist to have won a McArthur "Genius" Grant; Mark Amerika, a University of Colorado professor, who was selected for the 2000 Whitney Biennial and is a pioneer in internet art; and James Surls, a relative newcomer to the state, who is recognized as one of the country's foremost sculptors.

Also included in this exhibition is Phil Bender's hubcap work. Bender, who dubs his work "found object art," creates using items he finds - from hubcaps to mud flaps to playing cards and shovels. (right: James Surls, American, born 1943, All in the Wind, 1999, pine, oak, walnut and steel. Denver Art Museum; funds from Colorado Contemporary Collectors: Polly and Mark Addison, Noël and Tom Congdon, Suzanne Farver, Cathey and Richard Finlon, Sue and Grafton Jhung, Laura and David Merage, Louise Merage, Lu and Christopher Law, Vicki and Trygve Myhren, Beverly and Bernard Rosen, Annalee and Wagner Schorr, and Suellen and Travis White, and departmental acquisition funds, 2004.tbd)

The earliest work included in Scene Colorado is David Yust's 1972 Circular Composition #53, which was commissioned for the current building. The most recent acquisition is a wooden hanging sculpture by Surls. Oneonta, NY by Andrea Modica, another Colorado transplant from New York, who has recently had great exposure in the national art press, appears in the exhibition as well.

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from a work by Gary Sweeney, a one-time Colorado artist who now resides in San Antonio, Texas. Scene Colorado/Sin Colorado shows a classic Rocky Mountain vista with a hand-colored effect on one side and a black-and-white photograph on the other. The black-and-white landscape photograph on the right is the Sin Colorado of the title. Sin (pronounced "scene") Colorado is Spanish for "without the color red."

"In selecting these works -- particularly the black-and-white photos -- I deliberately chose to include several scenes of Colorado, which reflects the duality of the title," said Vanderlip. (right: David Yust, American, born 1939, Circular Composition #53, 1972, acrylic on canvas over laminated wood frame. Denver Art Museum; gift of the artist, 1972.55)

For more than 30 years, the Denver Art Museum has collected works by artists living in Colorado whose creations mirror not just the interests of this region, but those of the contemporary art world beyond our state borders. Other artworks by Colorado artists can be found on view throughout the Museum's permanent collection; they are designated with a Colorado flag on their labels.

Generous support for this exhibition comes from Kirkland Museum, Denver.

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Copyright 2003, 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.