Sunday, April 6, 2014

Taking kids to the Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum
My sister was in town with her girls last week, so we did what my family usually does when any travel and family time comes round: we headed for the art museum.

My father being an artist, with an art degree and a penchant for teaching his family as much as he can about the world of art, we were attracted to the current exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. The Modern Masters exhibit is in town and worth a see.
Denver Art Museum
It was a nice exhibit! I saw a real Picasso, a Van Gogh, a Frida Kahlo, a Georgia O'Keeffe, a Pollock, an Andy Warhol, and then some and then some and then some. It runs through June 8th, and if you have a chance to go see it, then GO.

When most people think about art museums, they typically don't think family. My parents did their best to take us to as many art museums as often as possible--though I wish I could see them all. I've enjoyed the Norton Simon Museum, one of Santa Fe's museums, the Omaha museum is surprisingly lovely, and we were at the Denver Art Museum regularly when I was growing up. Interestingly, the Seattle Art Museum was my least favorite. You'd think a city like that would rock their art museum, but I found it to be very mediocre.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. - Pablo Picasso

Denver, in my opinion, has a fantastic art museum. Not just due to their collections, but because this museum is SO children & family friendly.
Denver Art Museum
On the first floor is an area to explore and create. I can't tell you what joy it gives me to see my child rush to an easel and pick up a pencil. She might have sat there all day, creating, if we hadn't have urged her on.
Denver Art Museum
People of all ages are invited to sit as long as they like and create.

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures - Henry Ward Beecher

Their current creative devices include tables where you can study art and movement. Like these machines and tops that create art when in movement. The cousins loved it.
Denver Art Museum
Or you can contribute to a collective display of art, where every page on the wall is created to mesh with the pieces next to it. {I didn't get the memo, can you spot my drawing?}
Denver Art Museum
As much as I dislike spiders, it was fun to watch Violet and her Papa create using a remote controlled tarantula with a marker attached. Getting children interested in movement and art....I love it.
Denver Art Museum
So if you thought that art museums were places that only adults can go to, to be observant, pensive, and quiet, think again! The Denver Art Museum embraces little ones with their many hands-on art exhibits.
Denver Art Museum
This exhibit was a room full of felt pieces to attach to the walls and figures, as well as a screen featuring dancing art...I think my mom enjoyed the dancing more than any of the kids.
Denver Art MuseumDenver Art Museum
Even Paxton was a happy camper {most of the time}.
Denver Art Museum
No food or drink allowed in the museum, but there are areas--like the bridge between the old and new building--where you can have lunch or snacks.
Denver Art Museum Denver Art Museum

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. - Pablo Picasso 

Sadly, I could not take any photos of the Modern Masters exhibit. The Denver Art Museum's own collections, however, you usually can take photos of. In the collection on the second floor of the new building, kids can grab a Bingo game to play while they look at art.
Denver Art Museum
I love this fairy-tale-like painting of the bears. Next to it is a painting of a spot in New Mexico, one of my favorite places to take a road trip to. I recognized it right away.
Denver Art Museum
On our visit to the DAM last week, we barely scratched the surface. We didn't even make it into the old building, which has several floors of art to see. The sixth floor in the old building will always be my favorite. The painting Dream of Arcadia by Thomas Cole is one of my favorite pieces in the entire world.

Every good painter paints what he is. - Jackson Pollock

Denver Art Museum
New since I've been there last, they are showing a collection of Polish movie posters. This was such a fun collection to see. American movies, Polish posters.
Denver Art MuseumDenver Art Museum
And a favorite, because it is hypnotizing to look at. This painting on the second floor, you'd swear would be a photograph. I never get tired of seeing it. This camera-phone photo does it little justice. It's a trippy painting to behold.
Denver Art Museum

The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it's dead for you. - Oscar Wilde

Off to the side from this exhibit is an area where you can create postcards, inspired by the Old West.
Denver Art Museum
The cousins spent a good 30 minutes there, stamping and coloring postcards.
Denver Art Museum
They have a stamp machine off to the side, so you can send your creation to friends and family from the DAM.
Denver Art Museum
I get a kick out of this painting every time I visit the Denver Art Museum. It's titled Fatherhood by Wes Hempel. Note the soccer ball beneath his foot. I love the bewildered expression.
Denver Art Museum
It's meant to be amusing, a take off on a famous Bouguereau {one of my favorite artists}.
Denver Art Museum
This painting is another one I could stare at. It looks so much like a photograph. Darn my camera phone and darn me for forgetting where we packed my Nikon's charger when we moved. This is a bad photo, but that's--you guessed it--baby Hitler. The painting, if I remember correctly, is referencing the Madonna. This painting was by Gottfried Helnwein and is thought provoking. Read more here.
Denver Art Museum

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream. - Vincent Van Gogh

Fox Games is a much beloved, and well known exhibit, to Denver residents.
Denver Art Museum
This is a piece you can walk through, as long as you stay on the path.
Denver Art Museum
It was created in the 1980s, but has not always been a part of the DAM's collection. It's one of the funnest parts of the museum. The kids loved seeing it. {And yes, there were a few times when I heard someone start to sing, What does the fox say?}
Denver Art MuseumDenver Art Museum
So if you live in Colorado, or will visit any time soon, but think that art museums are just for adults, I say: think again. Denver's art museum is so family friendly and inviting. It's composed of three buildings, and there is a ton of beautiful art to see. As a Denver native and self-proclaimed art snob, I'm quite proud of our museum.

This work is HUGE...all drawing. There is a room full of sketched works by this artist. It's awe inspiring.
Denver Art Museum
So visit the DAM. Bring the kids.
Denver Art Museum
If we can do it, you can do it.
Denver Art Museum
And then there's this:
Denver Art Museum
Boom.

Cheers,
Heather

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