For the next 30 days, we’re providing free access to non-subscribers so you can see what we have to offer. And if you subscribe by May 1, you’ll get a 25% discount on your subscription!
We hope you’ll like what you see and want to support local media.
Click here to start a new subscription
“Don’t think pots,” advised Denver Art Museum director Christoph
Heinrich as he introduced “Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World,”
which is exhibited in eight different locations at the Denver Art
“This is the first campus-wide exhibition based on a single
substance, said DAM director Christoph Heinrich, adding that it’s
hoped visitors will explore the entire museum complex. More than
one visit may be required to experience these works that date from
25 B.C. China to cutting edge now.
Art created from this ancient material includes “Marajo: Ancient
Ceramics of the Amazon) circa 400 to 1300 A. D. — vessels created
by a people who no longer exist— and installations in an exhibit
called “Overthrown,” just now made for the space they inhabit at
“Working with artists onsite extends the core mission of the
museum,” said Heinrich, who introduced Gwen Chanzitt, curator of
Chronologically in between, largely from the museum’s rich
“Blue and White: A Ceramic Journey,” which explores the blue and
white ceramics made and loved around the world from early China to
the present day.
“Dirty Pictures,” how photographers have shown mud, clay and
dirt, with or without human interaction.
“Mud to Masterpiece: Mexican Colonial Ceramics” showing the
influence of global trade on traditional Mexican earthenware.
“Nampeyo: Excellence by Name” traces the influence of the first
American Indian woman to gain national personal recognition for her
pottery and the succeeding generations of family potters.
“Focus: Earth and Fire” pulls together visual artists’ responses
to natural elements and clay objects from the DAM collection.
“Potters of Precision: the Coors Porcelain Company” exhibits the
porcelain labware manufactured today in Colorado for scientists
Canadian ceramic artist Neil Forest, whose installation “Flake”
is included in Overthrown, lectured June 8 about his process in
creating the five large red slabs of clay — the largest is 10 feet
long and weighs 300 pounds. They float on chains attached to the
building’s steel structure. The forms were suggested to him by the
spaces created in wood by carpenter ants he noted, adding that
“what clay least wants to do is be long and thin—” exactly what he
required it to do.
His sculpture is an interaction between art, architecture,
science and material chemistry, with input from an engineering mind
in a Kansas studio where the pieces were built. His ongoing
inspiration comes from the historic Islamic tile decoration in
buildings such as the Alhambra and from other decorative art, he
said, citing “remarkable secular spaces.”
A number of the works in Overthrown are by Colorado artists,
including “Footing” by Nathan Craven, which is at the entrance
leading into the gallery — puzzle fans should take a hard look at
these thousands of interlocking pieces.
Kim Dickey, who teaches at CU Boulder, conceived “Mille Fleur,”
covered a wall with tiny glazed porcelain leaves, each precisely
applied, while Jeann Quinn, also a Colorado teacher, has filled a
corner space she chose with “You are the Palace, You are the
Forest,” a group of hanging white porcelain forms that recede into
a grey-painted corner, leading the eye away... The pieces are
digitally designed, she said.
And, don’t miss Linda Sormin’s extraordinary installation on the
first floor of the Hamilton Building. She teaches at Alfred
University, probably the most prominent institution in the U. S.
for training adventurous ceramic artists, including Forrest and
others in the show.
Related programs include the first floor Hamilton Building Mud
Studio, where visitors can get hands dirty if they wish, or watch
demonstrations by area artists on weekends. On weekends July 9-24,
families can help Bill and Athena Steen build a “Clayground” with
adobe and straw bales. (It will stay through September on the
Sculptor Roxanne Swentzel will periodically be working on her
10-foot-tall “Mud Woman Rolls On” at the entrance to the American
Indian Art gallery .
On Sept. 16 and 17, a Marvelous Mud Symposium with lectures and
a workshop about Overthrown is planned, as is a series of
Conversations with Curators..
Tours are offered regularly by trained docents. See the museum
website for details, www.denverartmuseum.org.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.