I had the privilege last Wednesday of visiting the Embrace! exhibit at the DAM for the second time (yes, it’s that good) in the company of two children who made it come alive.
The DAM solicited a bunch of artists to create the Embrace! exhibits using the strange geometry of the Hamilton Building.
The first exhibit, on the ground floor, uses the walls but doesn’t take quite as much advantage of the corners as some of the others. Rupprecht Matthies asked immigrants to Denver to give him words (in any language) describing their initial experiences here and then carved the words in wood, plexiglass, and foam. The words were finished with help from volunteers, staff, and visitors. For example, the words on the walls themselves were supplied by visitors to the museum, who can add a favorite word to a card. The word is then cut out and put on the wall.
Kids can pick up the foam words and read them or, if they’re not familiar with the language or alphabet, read the translation.
My favorite exhibit was “Chamber” by Charles Sandison. Using projectors and computer-generated words, numbers, letters, and symbols, he created the effect of a room lit by firelight. We had fun playing with our shadows and trying not to let the lights “get us.” This man had the right idea: lie down and watch the patterns.
My friend’s children were fascinated by this exhibit, “Mirage,” by Zhong Biao, especially the funhouse mirrors. Here’s a small section in closeup.
Possibly the kids’ favorite exhibit was this one by Tobias Rehberger. Several of the Embrace! exhibits encourage visitors to touch, but Rehberger’s installation lets you walk (or, more accurately, struggle) through the bungee cords. If you look closely, you’ll see a child in the back. You’ll also see a window on the left with bright colors peeking through it. That installation takes up several floors.
I’ve shown you only 4 of the Embrace! exhibits, though we saw about twice that many, and there are at least 3 that I missed, even in 2 visits. As my friend’s daughter said late that afternoon, “But we haven’t seen all of it.”
We did, however, get some good cheese at Mad Greens and Wine.