The DAM's Blink! exhibit is a great way to get the kids out of your face on Spring Break

Categories: Visual Arts

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"With out you, this would not have been necessary."
Walking into the Denver Art Museum's current Blink! exhibit is kind of like walking into Willie Wonka's chocolate factory (except far less dangerous to children with slack morals): There's just a whole lot going on, and you really have no idea what most of it is or what you're supposed to make of it, but it's pretty wondrous to look at all the same. Set up around works of art that involve electronics and technology (animation is a pretty big component of it), the exhibit is by turns surprising, confusing and occasionally disturbing, but if there's one constant, it's that it will not fail at every turn to make you go, "coooool."

It's also -- although it opened last week -- pretty much tailor-made for spring break; I took my 8-year-old son Avry (who observed that the exterior of the Hamilton Building "looks kind of like kryptonite. You know," he clarified, "superman's weakness") today to look around, and before either of us knew it, we'd killed a few hours there -- not that that would be unintentional on the DAM's part. The museum seems well aware that you want to see some stuff that's nice to look at this week, sure, but possibly even more than that, you want your otherwise unoccupied kids to not be directly in your face for just a little while.

Kids, of course, love cartoons, and there are a lot of cartoons here -- some of them kind of disturbing, yes (and Avry's kind of a weird kid, but he loved Phillipe Grammiticiopoulas's 16-minute short "Les Ventres," featuring giant identical fat men graphically eating tiny identical fat men, for example), and certainly none of them Tom & Jerry, but cartoons nonetheless - along with plenty of activities to keep them busy, and the art itself, which is uniformly, uh, well, there's just no other word for it really than "neat-o."

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Charles Sandison's "Chamber," a ten-channel video production installation that enveloped the whole large room it occupied in 8-bit pixels and nonsense streams of random words.

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Nam Jun Paik's "Lady Secretary, Blingual, Will Travel" looks like something out of Max Headroom.

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A particularly unsettling one, Tony Oursler's "Zero" projected a video face -- yelling vaguely schizophrenic remarks -- onto what looked like a voodoo doll.

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