Photo Diary: MCA Denver.

Parking Job: Gonzalo Lebrija’s, Entre La Vida y La Muerte, outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. Part of the exhibit Energy Effect (Elements). (Photos by Ben V.)

Over Thanksgiving break, I paid a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Denver for the first time. Founded in 1996, the museum’s website describes itself as “an activator, content provider and immediate research vehicle of culture in the making — a museum without a front door — a place for public engagement.” That all sounds good, minus the front door bit. The best part of the building was without a doubt the front entrance, which is an imposing, Mordor-esque door which slowly begins to open as you approach. After that grand entrance, it’s a pleasant, well-lit, navigable space for art, designed by rising starchitect David Adjaye.

My favorite aspect of the museum was the Open Shelf Library (see image at right), a curatorial project where displaying artists fill a shelf with the objects that inspired their work. It is stuffed with books, study drawings, test materials, and other objects — a way of making the artistic process a little more transparent.

More photos after the jump. And more from C-Mon contributor Ben V over at Contemporary Art Truck.

A close-up view of the Open Shelf Library—which included numerous unusual items, such as the boots, the doll’s head and the stack of cassette tapes, above.

Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Toxic Schizophrenia (Hyper Version).

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Over the River, a proposed project that has been quite controversial in Colorado.

Jim Sanborn, Terrestrial Physics. This room-sized installation was comprised of a diagram, video, and gigantic model of the first successful particle accelerator to split an atom. We have come a long way since (to the Large Hadron Collider), but it was extremely captivating nonetheless.

Another view of Sanborn’s Terrestrial Physics.

Jasmeen Patheja and Blank Noise, Moments of a Long Pause. This was a two-video projection depicting men and women talking about their interactions with the opposite sex in a street setting. Playing simultaneously, you might see a woman sharing an upsetting story of sexual harassment, while a man says he believes women crave this sort of attention.

Blank Noise Project, Step by Step Guide to Unapologetic Walking. Check out their blog.


  1. Art Aficionado

    This is a very thoughtful review. I have been to this museum and find the comments and photos provided by Valentine have expanded my visit. Very insightful!