The Denver Art Museum prepares for the big one, Marvelous Mud

Categories: Visual Arts

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Part of Linda Sormin's yet-to-be-titled installation.
Clay is arguably the first medium ever invented by humans -- one of the oldest prehistoric artifacts ever found was a drinking vessel made of sun-dried clay -- and it'll soon be the star of the largest single-subject exhibition the Denver Art Museum has ever mounted: Marvelous Mud, scheduled to open June 11. "Literally all of our curatorial department are doing something for it," says DAM communications associate Ashley Pritchard. "We've never had such a large exhibit."

In fact, Marvelous Mud is a collection of eight exhibits altogether: six smaller exhibits along with two major ones -- Marajó: Ancient Ceramics at the Mouth of the Amazon and Overthrown: Clay without Limits, the latter of which takes advantage of the Hamilton Building's crazy angles and cavernous spaces for a collection of site-specific installations made primarily with clay-based and ceramic materials. It's a big show, and these are big installations.

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Sormin surveys the scene.
And because they're big, they're already getting put together. We ambled over to DAM today to stroll around and see what's up so far, and while we were there, we chatted with Canadian artist Linda Sormin, who heads the ceramics department at the Rhode Island School of Design and had been in town scavenging materials for her installation, which doesn't yet have a title -- "I'm running a little behind," Sormin somewhat breathlessly admitted, surveying the agglomeration from above and calling down directions to the crew of workmen piecing it together.

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Hey guise amidoinitright?

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Re: the contemporary part of the show at the Hamilton building: A few beautifully conceived pieces could not elevate the terribly curated show, which was more effect and form based than exploring the nature of a material that is indelibly linked with ideas of groundedness, plastic yet fragile.

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