Denver Art Museum
(above: aerial view of Denver Art Museum building designed by Gio Ponti. Photo © 2005 John Hazeltine)
In 1893, local artists formed the Artists' Club of Denver to provide a venue for their work. Anne Evans, who lived in the home now known as the Byers-Evans House Museum, joined the group and her family supported the club -- the forerunner of today's Denver Art Museum -- for many years. 
The Denver Art Museum has had a number of temporary homes, from the public library and a downtown mansion to a portion of the Denver City and County Building. The museum opened its own galleries on 14th Avenue Parkway in 1949, and a center for children's art activities was added in the early 1950s. In 1971, the Museum opened what's now known as the North Building. The Museum's most recent expansion, the Frederic C. Hamilton Building, was completed in the summer of 2006.
The Denver Art Museum has the largest and most comprehensive collection of world art between Kansas City and the West Coast, with over 55,000 works of art. Its American Indian art collection is internationally renowned, and its pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial art collection is outstanding. Other collections include Painting & Sculpture, Asian, Architecture, Design & Graphics, Modern & Contemporary, and Textile Art. Two completely renovated floors -- devoted to European, American and Western painting, sculpture, decorative art, textiles, and photography -- opened in November 1997.
The 28-sided, two-towered North Building, completed in 1971,was designed by Gio Ponti of Italy in collaboration with James Sudler Associates of Denver. It has seven floors of gallery space, stacked vertically to enable visitors to reach desired exhibits quickly by elevator. The exterior is covered with more than one million faceted, shimmering gray tiles specially designed by Dow Corning. The building is itself as much a work of art as the objects it contains.
The Frederic C. Hamilton Building
In 2006, the Denver Art Museum nearly doubled in size and boasts one of the country's most unique structures. Construction on the Frederic C. Hamilton Building, designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, began in July 2003 and includes permanent gallery space, special exhibition venues, a restaurant and a rooftop sculpture garden with spectacular mountain views. (left: Frederic C. Hamilton Building designed by Daniel Libeskind, under construction as of June, 2005, is located to the right of the present building in this aerial view. Photo © 2005 John Hazeltine)
"The Hamilton Building is creating galleries that will allow us to share hundreds more artworks from our collections with this community," said Director Lewis Sharp. "We felt that by using the changing spaces for the display of permanent collections during this first year, we could introduce the exciting new galleries while at the same time providing a broader view of the Museum's holdings."
The first-floor changing exhibition space, named the Gallagher Family Gallery, opened with works from the Japanese art collection of Kimiko and John Powers. This installation features two rotations of approximately 120 works spanning nearly seven centuries by Zen priests, professional artists and artists experimenting with Western techniques. This Colorado collection, amassed over three decades, focuses on folding screens, hanging scrolls, handscrolls, sculpture and lacquer ware.
The second-floor Anschutz Gallery opened with Radar: Selections from the Logan Collection . In 2002, Vicki and Kent Logan donated more than two hundred works to the Museum's modern & contemporary art collection. This opening exhibition featured works from that gift, as well as works from the Logan's personal collection and objects the Logan's have donated to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The Martin & McCormick Gallery, also on the second floor, opened with a collection of contemporary Native American art donated in December 2003 by Virginia Vogel Mattern. The gift consists of 320 works of art, including Pueblo ceramics, contemporary oil paintings and Navajo and Hopi textiles. The gallery installation, which includes approximately two hundred of these pieces, represents the finest work being done by contemporary American Indian artists.
By exhibiting more of its own collection prior to hosting traveling exhibitions in the three gallery spaces, the Museum is attaining its two primary goals for the expansion. "We are pleased to introduce the Hamilton Building to our visitors by exhibiting almost exclusively the Museum's extraordinary collection and we greatly look forward to bringing major exhibitions to this community in the years following our opening," Sharp said.
The Denver Art Museum is located at 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway (13th Avenue at Acoma Street, just south of Civic Center), Denver, CO 80204-2788. Please see the museum's web site for admission prices and hours.
1. Colorado Historical Society, Byers-Evans House Museum
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