Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Before & After: Changes in the Galleries Between Exhibitions (Photos)

The exhibitions department is responsible for preparing the museum’s many galleries for each new exhibit, as well as many smaller gallery rotations. Our usual tasks include repairing gallery walls, removing platforms, pedestals, graphic panels, and labels; lighting, painting, and fabrication. For larger exhibitions, such as the recent Nick Cave: Sojourn exhibit, we often work with several subcontractors to carry out the designer’s plans. As the department’s manager David Griesheimer said to me when I first started with the team, “We are the first team into the galleries, and usually the last to leave.”

To prepare for the museum’s Passport to Paris exhibitions, we met several times with the various ECS (exhibitions and collections services) teams to create a timeline in which to achieve the de-installation and gallery preparation between the dates that the Nick Cave, Red, White, and Bold, and Figure to Field: Mark Rothko in the 1940s exhibitions closed on September 22 and Passport to Paris opened for a members' preview on October 26. Our team had just over one month to transform three of the Hamilton Building’s largest galleries to reflect three very different looks for the exhibits Nature As Muse (Gallagher Gallery, level one), Drawing Room (Martin And McCormick Gallery, level two) and Court to Cafe (Anschutz Gallery, level two).

Our team of three (David Griesheimer, Josh Amati, and I), oversaw and coordinated over a dozen contractors (the most ever for any suite of shows) including dry wall installers, stencilers, wallpaper specialists, painters, upholsterers, lighting specialists, and furniture, pedestal, and wainscoting fabricators to create all the incredible textures, finishes, furniture, and lighting effects in the galleries. Over 15 different paint colors were chosen to transform the galleries, and Scott's Painting worked tirelessly and carefully to cover the vast gallery spaces in under a week! Please click here to see an article in the Denver Post about the painting scheme for Passport to Paris.:

The exhibitions were creatively lit by Tom Payetta, Shannon Johnson, Jamie Whitey, and Jane Spencer.

While we were very proud of our efforts in transforming the galleries we had little time for rest or relaxation, as no sooner was Passport to Paris open to the public, than we began preparing for the challenges of the next exhibitions that will be filling these same spaces in the winter and spring of 2014. We look forward to working with more talented designers, local artists, and craftspeople in the future.

Please view the slideshow detailing the many facets and scope of production involved in mounting these three amazing exhibitions: