Among the many temporary exhibitions currently on view at the Denver Art Museum, perhaps none is more eclectic or future-looking than the showcase of artwork by students participating in our Mañanitas program. Here, within the cozy confines of the gallery space on the lower level of the museum’s North Building, you’ll find a microcosm of the diverse styles, mediums, and influences found throughout the museum’s permanent collection. Mixing landscape and portraiture with abstract painting and sculpture, the show features allusions to traditional cultural forms alongside daringly original artistic experiments.
In some cases, the influences on these young artists are readily apparent. One series of paintings reinterprets masterpieces by Van Gogh, while another pays homage to the pop art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Frank Stella, whose work was featured in the museum’s Modern Masters exhibition, is the inspiration behind a series of colorful paper sculptures. Other works in the showcase, however, are wholly unprecedented—like the drawing of a young artist who imagined a humble blade of grass as a superhero.
Among the showcase’s highlights are two very different takes on the human skeleton. Skulls painted elaborately in the tradition of decorations for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) occupy one corner of the showcase, inviting visitors to reflect on the roots and vitality of the festival. Meanwhile, another series of works riffs on the tradition of precise anatomical drawings, picturing whimsical characters—like a gingerbread man and a “crazy carrot” (see slide show below)—as bodies with organs and bones.
The Mañanitas program showcased in this exhibition is a partnership between the DAM and four Denver elementary schools serving large bilingual populations: Ana Maria Sandoval, Ashley, Aslup, and Goldrick. Student artists from Early Childhood to fifth grade classrooms have artwork on view.
The showcase will remain open through January 3, 2016, and is accessible free of charge via the entrance on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Street. Come just to check out the student showcase, or pair your visit with a tour of the museum. Admission to the rest of the museum requires a ticket (youth 18 and under receive free general admission). General admission is free for all on Saturday, December 5.
See the showcase during Winter Break and take in plenty of other fun at the museum Dec. 19–Jan. 3.