Art Has Light


One of Denver Art Museum’s current exhibits is ‘The Light Show,’ focusing on physical, natural light, and metaphorical, symbolic, spiritual light. The exhibit came about partly due to the renovation taking place in the North Wing, requiring many art pieces to be moved from that space, resulting in this cross-departmental exhibit. This aspect of the exhibit was one of my favorite parts because there were many different types of art pieces presented. Usually, museums group pieces by types or collections and viewers must see the pieces according to that grouping. What was so refreshing about this exhibit was the way the curators brought together pieces incorporating the physical and symbolic aspects of light.

Gay Neilson met me as the museum was opening for the morning. Gay is a one of the museum’s docents, or person who gives guides, tours, and special requests. She has worked at DAM since 2010, giving her 9 years of knowledge around the museum, which allowed me to better understand the artwork. She started by volunteering in guest services, welcoming and directing people to different places in the museum, providing maps, and information. With Gay’s help and experience, I definitely learned more than I would have on my own, which made my experience so much more rewarding.

One piece that caught my eye was an amazingly detailed chandelier hanging from the exhibit ceiling. While the exhibit did have a section dedicated to lamps and lighting, this chandelier was in a different area, and due to its complexity and detail, I found it mesmerizing. Another piece that moved me was symbolic/spiritual. I have always loved paintings with angels and seeing how the artists portray the wings differently in each work. This piece had three angels incorporated into it and was titled ‘Abraham and the Three Angels’ by Josse Lieferinxe and was painted in the 14th century. The wings were beautifully detailed and looked more like a photograph than a painting. Another piece that I absolutely loved was the interactive glass corridor walk by Lucas Samaras called ‘Corridor #2.’ This was a rectangular mirrored box that one walks through and a truly unique concept that I will most certainly not forget. There are so many interesting art pieces that will appeal to and enlighten all kinds of viewers.

The Light Show was a very powerful exhibit because it made me think differently about art that I had seen from previous visits to DAM. I would certainly go back to this exhibit again with a friend or family member. I believe this exhibit is satisfactory for all ages. While there is a higher thinking aspect that asks teenagers and adults to consider and understand more of the meaning behind each piece, there are also interactive parts that younger children would enjoy, such as coloring projects, and the corridor walk.

I really enjoyed this exhibit and recommend it for the whole family. The Light Show brings perspective to how different pieces of art, even when from seemingly opposite styles and cultures, can all shed a little light.