Staff Trip

Venice Biennale, Part Three

Chief Curator Janice Driesbach recently travelled to Italy where she experienced the Venice Biennale 55th International Art Exhibition. This is the third post in a series of three. Read the first post here and the second post here.

Venice is awash with tourists, although we had a nice conversation with a native Venetian one day. Among visitors, Italian seems to be the predominant language, followed by German. British and Australians are numerous among English speakers.

An English couple we encountered directed us to the Richard Mosse installation at the Irish pavilion, about 15 feet from a vaporetto stop or, since swimming in the canals is discouraged, half a mile following passageways around the canals. A marvelous multi-screen video captured in outdated military infrared film, part of which we had seen when Mosse spoke in Cleveland last year (pictured below and here is a link to an interview of Mosse at the Biennale)

Richard Mosse installation at the Irish pavilion

Richard Mosse installation at the Irish pavilion

Iraq offered both food and food for thought…

Iraq pavilion

…while Cyprus and Lithuania shared space in an arena/warehouse near the Arsenale:

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At the Correr Museum was a very nice installation of Tony Caro sculpture, many pieces in spaces by themselves. That led to the Cuban pavilion in the adjacent archaeological museum, which featured a number of artists. An installation with birdcages with videos by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and Neil Leonard was superlative.‎

image18And, back at the Arsenale, we discovered amazing digital animations in China’s display, including one by Zhang Xiaotao called Sakya (approx. 15-min video viewable online via this gallery site). Was incredibly complex and defies description (cosmic, perhaps?).

image19Unfortunately, it was impossible to take in all the collateral Biennale exhibitions. And certainly with the hour+ long line to see San Marco (hordes of people pour out of gigantic cruise ships each morning), we missed the usual tourist destinations. At the end of our final day in Venice, we could have easily spent another several days just taking in Biennale events.

Explore the official Venice Biennale 55th International Art Exhibition site here.

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A Week In Denver Part Two: …and ALE

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By: Corey Jenkins, Communication Volunteer/Visitor Services

Those of you who read my previous blog know that I recently  spent a week in Denver, during which  I was fortunate enough to experience some of the city’s art offerings. The art was only part of the experience. This particular region of Colorado is home to several breweries, two of which I visited.

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My first night in Denver I was treated to dinner at the Breckenridge Brewery. Breckenridge is a microbrewery, and much like you might find at Goose Island in Chicago or Great Lakes in Cleveland, they operate a restaurant with their brewery. I enjoyed a platter of smoked wings and pork covered in a unique sauce that complimented the Breckenridge Agave Wheat ale that I had chosen to try. The Agave Wheat is an unfiltered American style wheat ale with a hint of agave. This particular ale was flavorful and bitter, yet still refreshing and light. Although I did not tour Breckenridge, it was an excellent experience and introduction to Colorado brew.

A couple of days later I made it the largest single site brewery in the world, Coors of Golden, Colorado.  I realize that those of you with sophisticated beer palettes may not be excited by Coors, however in terms of an everyday beer of choice Coors Banquet is my go to, so I was particularly excited for the tour. The brewery looks exactly like the Coors mythology would lead you to believe, nestled in the Rocky Mountain Foothills with a fresh flow of mountain stream water running beside it.

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Coors offers free tours that guide the visitor through their entire process and history. From their beginning in 1873 with founder Adolph Coors to their survival during Prohibition making malted milk, to Bill Coors’ innovation of aluminum cans in the 1950’s all the way up through their merger will Miller and their latest offerings.

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MillerCoors produces and feature a large variety of products including Coors Banquet, Coors Light, Keystone Light, the Miller Family of Beers, Killian’s Irish Red, Blue Moon, Colorado Native, Leinenkugel and Batch 19 among the others that they either produce, import or have partnered with. Midway through the tour, visitors of age are offered a sample of fresh beer. I opted to sample Banquet, and I can honestly say that it may have been the best sip of beer I have tried. It carried a quality that I have never experienced in any beer I have found at the store.

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The end of the tour also included free beer, at which point I had the chance to enjoy Colorado Native, a superb lager that Colorado is apparently keeping to themselves, Batch 19, a lager brewed according to a Pre-Prohibition recipe, and of course a mug of fresh Banquet beer.

I would encourage any beer lover to check out the local flavors of any given region they are visiting, as well as the ones that may be in your own back yard that you never considered visiting. Many breweries and distilleries for that matter offer free tours along with free samples, and typically only take up forty-five minutes of your day.

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Some of you might be wondering what this has to do with the museum. It has everything to do with Art and Ale on March 8, 2013. Each year some of the greatest local brewmasters in the region bring their beer to the museum for adults to sample while enjoying the museum and for the first time, the galleries will be open for the first hour. The sooner you purchase your tickets, the cheaper they are. Also, a “green” membership for the year is including in the price!

A Week in Denver Part One: ART

By: Corey Jenkins, Communication Volunteer/Visitor Services

In December, I completed my B.A. in Communication Studies at Kent State University, and I decided it was time to take a short break. Two of my close friends had relocated to Denver last year, so I chose the Mile High City as my destination.

The Denver area has many geographic and cultural offerings, including everything from the Rocky Mountain foothills to Coors, the world’s largest single site brewery. One thing evident in the city is a strong commitment to art. In the late 1980’s Denver established a percent for art ordinance in which one percent of the design and construction budget of any single City capital improvement project over $1 million must be set aside for the inclusion of art in the new project. I was lucky enough to experience some of the city’s art offerings during my week in the area.

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I happened to be in town for First Friday in the Santa Fe Art District. The area reminded me of the Chelsea Art Galleries on a smaller scale and offered a wide variety of art. A highlight of this experience was my time at the Denver Art Society, an open-minded co-op in which many of its members keep workspaces. The artists involved in the Denver Art Society work in a wide range of mediums, and one member, Bill Manke creates “Tipsies” which are wooden toys that walk down a ramp. I was fortunate enough to purchase a piece from Travis Hetman, a Minnesota native who is an artist in residency at the Denver Art Society.

“My work is more or less a visual continuation of existential curiosity.  The treat of visual art to me is the privilege of making wild associations and the general lawlessness that comes with creative thinking.”  –Travis Hetman

I purchased a print of a drawing Hetman completed in 2009 titled The Volunteer and I returned later in the week to photograph several of his new works so that Hetman can upload them online.

Additionally, on my First Friday art walk was a visit to Core New Art Space, which was exhibiting Juego by Lola Montejo. Juego featured vibrant works that feel very active and full of motion. According to Montejo, the “work is about the process, the play.” The artist functions on intuition and considers the image to be “secondary to the art making.”

During my visit to the Denver Art Museum, their staff was in the process of taking down their Anatsui exhibit and the major exhibition was the world exclusive “Becoming Van Gogh.” Unfortunately, “Becoming Van Gogh” was sold out on the day of my visit. Fortunately, the Denver Art Museum is enormous and plenty of exciting exhibits were available to view.

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I loved walking through Fox Games by Sandy Skoglund, the opportunity to view Oceanic art and the museum’s wonderful displays of design before and after 1900. The exhibit that left the most lasting impression with me however was the historic Western American art. Located on the top level of the North Building, the pieces are displayed along with small windows that do not affect the lighting within the gallery space, but provide stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. The museum makes fantastic use of its space, and provides many fun hands on activities, for example: I made a postcard!

MCA Heart

Finally, I made my way to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Of the several exhibitions at MCA Denver, I favored Pie-Fights and Pathos. The paintings, by Adrian Ghenie are complex, thought provoking and pull inspiration from a range of sources such as early cinema pie fight film stills to twentieth-century acts of extremism. MCA Denver also offered hands on activities including a Bubble Garden for relaxing and an area to create a butterfly to pin up on the wall. The building also boasts a deck providing a great view of the city.

Bubble Garden

Denver is a town with a deep commitment to art; however, viewing art was only part of how I spent my time. Stop back next week to read about my experience having dinner at the Breckenridge Brewery and my visit to the Coors Brewery in nearby Golden.