Here's the Truth about Untitled: Fake Out

Here's the Truth about Untitled: Fake Out

Untitled: Fake Out (download the program PDF) at the Denver Art Museum on April 24 is no joke. We’re taking all methods of trickery and deception—from sleight of hand to lying—very seriously. Starting with polyvinyl, the true illusionist’s material of choice. Denver’s favorite hyper-realistic sculpture, Linda, is coming back on view after a six-year vacation in the DAM’s collections storage (in a completely dark, climate-controlled locker—not everyone’s idea of a day at the beach). See the new exhibition Starring Linda: A Trio of John DeAndrea Sculptures and hear from DAM conservator Kate Moomaw how and why Colorado artist John DeAndrea’s much-beloved piece looks as good today as she did in ’83 (somehow this blogger doesn’t think that a basement would have the same effect on an actual person).

Polyvinyl isn’t the only option for a truly incredible optical illusion. Artists working in a variety of media have their own ways of faking you out. Learn how to make your own photo-realistic artwork in a tromp l’eoil-style drawing lesson from artist Anna Kaye. Magician Max Mago has an art-inspired magic trick involving coins, cards, and a lot of skill up his sleeve. And while Max Mago probably won’t divulge his secrets, DAM curatorial assistant Zoe Larkins will tell us all about how artist Mark Wallinger achieved mind-bending effects in his video installation Angel—filmed forwards but played backwards to totally psych you out. Then watch stage makeup artist Anne Davis transform a model (i.e., a DAM intern) into the spitting image of a portrait from the European and American collections using primers, powders, and pigments.

Sometimes illusions are just too good—you’ve got to be on the lookout for those! Get a lesson in forgery 101 (not how to make a forgery, but how to catch one!). Artist and restorer Angela Swedberg shows you how to distinguish an artifact from an “artifake,” focusing on Native American beadwork. People, like looks, can be deceiving too. Body language expert Alicia Cuello’s got you covered—find out how to read someone’s hand gestures and even their feet gestures (bet you didn’t know about those!) to tell if they’re lying.

But is a total fake out really all that bad? Civic health club Warm Cookies of the Revolution asks a politician, an ordained minister, and a TV producer if it’s ever OK to lie. Join this group for a quick round of the game Two Truths and a Lie, then discuss.

And while anyone who knows them would bet that Joan and Charlie from Buntport Theater’s Joan and Charlie Discuss Tonight’s Theme aren’t afraid to break the third wall, Buntport Theater for Young Audiences is ready to transport you to Joan Miró’s studio to watch the artist at work.

Find more details about Untitled: Fake Out on our Facebook page. See you April 24!

Image credit: John DeAndrea, Linda (detail), 1983. Oil polychrome paint on polyvinyl. Denver Art Museum.

Rose Eason is the coordinator of adult and college programs in the education department at the Denver Art Museum. Rose has been at the DAM since 2012 and her favorite artwork that has been on view here is Mud Woman Rolls On.