Vance Kirkland self-portrait Denver 2009Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art
1311 Pearl Street

From the self-portrait there, I would say Vance Kirkland fancied himself quite the man about town, though I suspect there are art references in this painting I don’t get. (If anyone wants to clue me in, please do so in the comments.) He was founding director of the art school at the University of Denver and now has an eponymous museum in the Golden Triangle Museum District/Capitol Hill. The museum included his studio, Denver’s oldest commercial art building; the rest was added on. However, from the way paintings and furniture and design objects are crammed into every nook and corner, I’d say the collection needs about 3 more museums the same size.

I went to the Kirkland Museum to attend an ekphrastic poetry reading. Each of the poets in the group Poets Beyond Reason (PBR) had visited the museum, selected three works of art, and written poems about them. Wednesday night, they stood by the works that inspired them and read the poems, over and over, for new groups of people. Every half hour, they moved to the next work of art, and repeated the process.

Here’s Barbara next to Kirkland’s painting, “Moonlight at Timberline,” reading “One Wing” (I haven’t included the poem because doing so would have published it, according to most literary magazines. Such is the silliness of poetry publishing today.)Moonlight at Timberline by Vance Kirkland, Barbara Sorensen reading Denver 2009

See the straps in the picture below? Kirkland liked to work on large canvases laid flat, so his paintings would have neither a bottom nor a top. He hung these straps so he could float above the canvas to paint. That’s one of his “dot” paintings on the table.Kirkland's straps for painting, Denver 2009

Here’s something for you Pop Art lovers, a Campbell’s Soup label signed by Andy Warhol.Campbell's Soup label with Warhol signature, Kirkland Museum, Denver 2009

I really wanted to sit in this MAgriTTA chair, but it wasn’t allowed. Of course, I was down there by myself…MAgriTTA chair at Kirkland Museum, Denver 2009

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  1. Barbara March 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Great pics & coverage Beth. I did not see the Magritta chair! It would have been hard to resist sitting in it with no one around to scold you. Your website is getting more and more lovely each time I see it.

  2. Beth March 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Barbara. I wonder how much one of those chairs goes for? It would be cool to have one.