Marvelous Mud At The Denver Art Museum

By: Christopher Donaldson

Museum walls usually covet nothing but sterile white. It seems impossible to imagine from our tidy vantage points, then, that thick layers of mud have settled over The Denver Art Museum (DAM).

That’s right people. It’s time to get slushed. It’s time to get mucked up.

“For centuries, clay has been an important medium for artists. It has been used to make unglazed earthenware vessels, exquisite porcelains and flamboyant contemporary sculpture,” says Margaret Young-Sánchez, chief curator at the DAM. “We asked our curators to dive into their collections and create inventive exhibitions around this rich material while also taking advantage of loans from around the world.”

DAM’s first campus-wide exhibition based on a single substance, Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World, challenges both gravity and artistic canon with 300 pound clay flakes, a 23-foot chandelier, and a neon-tiled, vertigo inducing clown-house like enclosure.

They lead us us to magic-laced ceramic forests, fragile hand-made gardens that make it so hard to determine whether we should believe in nature or humanity. Here, maybe a little of both.

“We want visitors to explore the entire museum complex and experience our wonderful permanent collections and interactive options. Guests can even roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty if they’re feeling creative,” says Director of the DAM, Christoph Heinrich.

He’s talking about the many ways visitors can make their very own art with hand-building seminars and potter’s wheels at the Mud Studio in addition to indoor and outdoor creation stations just steps away from the Museum’s main lobby.

Creativity made manifest in what most see as the lowest common denominator. Dirt!


Now thru September 18, at the Denver Art Museum.

Tags: ART