Explore the world with famous photographers

Posted 4/27/10

While the Denver Art Museum began collecting photographs in 1937, it didn’t have a dedicated department with curator and gallery until recently. …

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Explore the world with famous photographers


While the Denver Art Museum began collecting photographs in 1937, it didn’t have a dedicated department with curator and gallery until recently. The debut exhibition , opening April 30, is “Exposure: Photos from the Vault” in the newly remodeled Anthony and Delisa Mayer Photography Gallery on the seventh floor of the North Building.

Curator Eric Paddock, former curator of photography with the Colorado History Museum and visiting professor at local universities and colleges, joined the DAM staff as first curator of the Department of Photography in summer 2008 and dove into a 7,000-object collection, selecting more than 50 diverse works, including photographs by Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Chuck Close and Garry Winograd.

“I had a lot of fun digging to the depths of this exquisite collection to create the debut display,” Paddock said. “We’re presenting a wide range of photos, from portraits and landscapes to abstraction and Surrealism that photo enthusiasts will enjoy. This first installation is a way to say hello to the community and start a conversation about photography.”

Upcoming department programs will include traveling and temporary exhibitions, including “The Place We Live,” a retrospective of Robert Adams’ work organized by the Yale University Art Gallery, in fall, 2011.

Paddock’s text about the exhibit says it includes perennial favorites and items no one has seen before.

“Every person with a camera sees the world in a different way and every photographer is on a path of exploration. The photographs in this exhibition are a sampling of the many ways photographers encounter the world— and show us what they discover.” His comments about the photos illustrated:

Harold Edgerton, “Milkdrop Coronet:” “The strobe light was an obscure piece of laboratory equipment before MIT professor Harold Edgerton got his hands on it and turned it into a common tool— every flash camera has one nowadays, thanks to him. Edgerton’s improved strobe could create a burst of light so short and so bright that he could create a photo of something that could not be seen with the naked eye. Yet his work was about much more than stopping time; Edgerton had a real sense of beauty and drama.”

Chuck Close, “Self Portrait:” This self portrait by Chuck Close is made with a camera the size of a dishwasher. When I look at it, I almost feel like I’m being watched through the mail slot on my front door, because the face is so big and crowded into the black edged of the photograph. Of course I know this is a photograph and Chuck Close can’t really see me, but it sure feels like he can.”

David Levanthal, “Untitled (Standing Scout With Rifle):” David Levanthal created this with a tiny plastic cowboy figure — the same kind he played with in childhood. He posed the cowboy against a “sunset” that he cooked up in the studio, then photographed it with a gigantic camera and 24 x 20 inch Polaroid film. When I look at it, I feel like I’m seeing every cowboy book, movie or comic I ever saw, all rolled into one picture. It reminds me how much ideas and images of the West are shaped by fiction, or by wistful notions that live on in the imagination.”

The opening of “Exposure” kicks off with a Final Friday of the month celebration: Untitled # 28 (F - Stop). The Untitled series runs until 10 p.m. and is included in general admission.

Guests can choose between two photographs, by Chuck Close and Gary Winograd, to fill the final spot in the new exhibit, as well as listen to Paddock spin stories about assembling the show and artist Kevin O’Connell talk about his displayed art.

The contest winner will be installed at the end of the evening

Visitors can decorate their own Polaroid frame, listen to local bands Still City and Astrophagus in the Duncan Pavilion and DJ The Postman in the atrium. Buntport Theater will perform its monthly sitcom, “Joan and Charlie Discuss Tonight’s Theme” in the third floor freight elevator/stage.

On future days, the photo gallery will be open during museum hours.

If you go:

The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets. (Entrance to parking garage is on 12th, just west of Broadway). Hours: 10 a.m. to5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays; Noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission: Colorado residents, $10/$8; $13 /$10 for non-residents. $5 for ages 6 to 18. Students with ID can buy 2 fo


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