The museum's new wing, designed by Daniel Libeskind, houses a wealth of exhibits.
"The shape came to me as I flew over the mountains," says famed architect Daniel Libeskind of his plan for the Denver Art Museum’s gleaming new wing, which opened October 7. "I sketched the craggy cliffs of the Rockies on the back of my board-ing pass." The jagged, titanium-clad Frederic C. Hamilton Building nearly doubles the size of the downtown museum, already the region’s largest exhibitor of world art, and makes the original—a 35-year-old stone fortress—look hopelessly stodgy.
But it’s the art inside that really shines. Beyond a 40-foot-tall stone monolith near the entrance, high-ceilinged galleries house an exhibit of 17th-century Japanese screens and many objects never before on permanent display, such as African masks and a collection of shields and carvings from Melanesia. Western American and modern and contemporary exhibits showcase works by Remington, Russell, Calder, and Matisse. And out on the sculpture deck rises George Rickey’s Two Lines Oblique Down, Variation III with its thin stainless steel vanes that swivel and tilt in the wind.
How does a $90.5 million monument to art fit the Mile High City’s Western image? "Libeskind’s design," says Mayor John W. Hickenlooper, "embodies the potential and opportunity that have lured visionaries to the West for generations." (720) 865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org .
Photography courtesy Denver Art Museum
This article was first published in November 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.