In 1996, Denver philanthropist Sue Cannon teamed up with Marina Graves, Mark Sink, Dale Chisman, Lawrence Argent and others in the arts community to create a home for a 21st-century museum, one that would present art and events — world-class exhibits and lectures and parties in central Denver.
Things started with a renovated Sakura Fish Market for seven years while they looked for the right spot for a permanent home; were given a lot at 19th and Delgany; hired young British architect David Adjaye (who is now Sir David Adjaye) and opened a new museum in 2007, directed by Cindy Payton.
The building itself offers a distinctive experience that surrounds the ongoing changing exhibits of contemporary art.
In 2009, Adam Lerner was appointed director and brought a sense of humor to programming as well as imaginative exhibits. The MCA became a popular spot for evening events in addition to serious exhibits.
In August 2019, Nora Burnett Abrams was appointed the new Mark G. Falcone director of MCA Denver, after joining MCA as curator in 2010. “She has played a major role in conceiving, establishing and implementing the museum’s curatorial vision and has cultivated exceptional partnerships with artists, community members, lenders, donors and the national and international arts community,” we are told in an anniversary release.
Perhaps some of our readers have yet to discover this inviting spot in Denver — we hope you will want to get acquainted ...
Three new exhibits are open: “Keith Haring: Grace House Mural”; “Jaime Carrejo: Waiting”; and “Colorado in the Present Tense: Narkita Gold; Rick Griffith; Nathan Hall and Maia Ruth Lee.”
Gold’s exhibit is called “Black in Denver,” and includes a wall filled with strong portraits of local people she wants to recognize. It “investigates identity, specifically in a small black community.”
Carrejo’s “Waiting” is an installation that “explores the relationship between confinement and duration, through layers of Southwestern symbolism, mid-century design and objects from his own domestic space.” He is a Denver-based artist and faculty member at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design.
Haring’s “Grace House Mural” features, for the first time since it was created, a site-specific painting executed in 1983/84 for a Catholic youth center in Manhattan, with 13 panels and additional ephemera, including an original plaque, two doors and a mailbox. Haring’s graphic style continued to communicate in large public murals that followed in this mode.
“Grace House Mural” was designed specifically to inspire and elevate the spirits of some of New York’s at-risk teens and includes some of his most iconic motifs: “Radiant Baby,” “Barking Dog” and dancing figures. The work was created with oil-based paint on a cement wall.
MCA Denver is open at 1485 Delgany St., with general admission tickets, Tuesday from 1-7 p.m.; Wednesday to Friday from noon to 7 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reserve tickets by calling 303-298-7554 or going to mcadenver.org.
The rooftop Cafe Oasis is open and all food and drink must be consumed on the rooftop at present.