Denver / York / historic bldgs/ art

York was an African American explorer born into slavery who was owned by William Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame. He bravely and competently facilitated the long and difficult expedition to the Pacific Coast. While Clark eventually manumitted York, he did not do so early enough in York’s life for him to be able to track down the wife he left behind to travel west.

I started my day with this well-made little YouTube video about him.

If you prefer to read, here’s a link to a narrative on the Denver Library site. I believe the statue above is located near the library.

Next up, an informal walking tour of one of the historic districts of Denver: the Highland District. It was a mix of well-maintained expansive homes, well-maintained cottages, and derelict structures. A lot of building going on.

We had time to kill before our brunch date, so stopped for coffee in a hopping place situated under (and named for) an iconic sign: Olinger Mortuaries.

The building originally housed a mortuary and was the first in Denver. Billy the Kidd’s body came through the place. Now, they dropped the “O” to call the restaurant, “Linger.” K and I were two of four people over the age of 35.

Smart toilets taken to a whole new level.

After brunch (food to be posted later), we toured around in the car, always taking care not to hit motorized scooters. They were EVERYWHERE.

A quick stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art was sufficient: a small-ish space and unimpressive works.

Is it crankiness or the entitlements of age (and are those two things different?) that I didn’t feel the slightest obligation to like the works on view or to accord them extra credit for being hung in a museum?

The first floor featured a tattoo artist who has innovated a “watercolor” style of applying ink. I thought her subjects looked like they rolled in a paint box, leading to the conclusion that just because something is original doesn’t mean it’s good.

Wachob’s use of tattoo inks on paper were also “meh” (below). While the application of tattoo inks on paper may be novel, the results were not.

Her works on lemons filled a small alcove and were fun, but art? Maybe not.

It is common, I learned, for tattoo artists to practice their trade on fruit.

By far the most interesting of Wachob’s works were large monoprints that she photographed, transferred to canvas, and then assembled in large patchwork-like pieces. But even with those, respect for the technique surpassed the appraisal of the result.

Upstairs, the curator’s organizing theme was a good one: artists’ creative responses to Georgia O’Keefe. Apart from some skillfully rendered abstractions on 10×10″ pieces of wood, though, I thought the work was uniformly awful. I didn’t photograph much of it.

I don’t know if the hall pictured below was part of that show, but as I said to K, “it’s hard to be enamored of a painted grid when you’ve seen it skillfully rendered with 1/4” strips of fabric.

(Hand positioned for scale. It is not actually touching the painting).

I DID like the building. A lot. The architect alternated compact nooks and wide views in a compelling geometry.

The top level featured a cafe with expansive views of the city and a rock garden.

Returning to the car I found a chalky design on the sidewalk. I liked it better than anything in the museum — by a sizable measure.

7 thoughts on “Denver / York / historic bldgs/ art

  1. Michael

    The chalky design’s mesmerizing. Glad something made your visit to the MCA worthwhile 🙂 I found Chicago’s MCA to be underwhelming, with only a few pieces leaving an impact. So much of the work was merely interesting – meriting a brief stare and not much more.

    Reply
  2. Michelle Slater

    Intrigued to hear about the conspiracy theories you indicated to Mo. Meanwhile, you are a great tour guide in the virtual and I’m sure you would be in person as well. If you ever need a new career, it might be a winner. The Video was indeed well made and totally engaging.

    Reply

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