Pacific Northwest On the Front Range

Winter                    First Moon of the New Year

The Denver Art Museum (DAM as it describes itself) has a wonderful Pacific Northwest gallery.  Undergoing reinstallation when Kate and I visited the museum last year, I saw its bones and wanted to see what I though was a new gallery.  Turns out it’s an old gallery newly installed with several new works added.

There are two sets of two large story poles (totem poles) which have hung between them on a braided rope a puppet by Richard Hunt, creator of the MIA’s raven/sisuitil transformation mask.  A wall between them has many masks, some from the late 19th century, but many from latter decades of the 20th.

A bear clan living space partition is huge and has the usual womb located space for the chief to enter through wearing and carrying clan regalia.  The collection also includes several bent wood boxes and two story poles from the 19th century, weathered and furrowed, haunting in their quiet presence.

If you’re ever in Denver, this is a real treat.

The new DAM buildings, I’m afraid, are not so fine.  Now three years or so old, they include many dark areas with little natural light, oddly shaped galleries that draw attention to themselve rather than the art.

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