Will Call: Down in the Mile High City | PostIndependent.com

Will Call: Down in the Mile High City

As a child, I generally viewed a trip to Denver as an unpleasant necessity when visiting family or hopping on an airplane.

I appreciated Tattered Cover and the Natural History Museum, but the endless concrete and look-alike strip malls overwhelmed me. Honestly, they still do, but I’ve learned to appreciate cities like Rome and, more recently Chicago and New York.

I have been slower to realize how much even Denver has to offer.

Case in point, the Denver Art Museum.

No, it’s not the Met or the Art Institute. Still, most of its permanent collection is on par with the very best of what you’ll see on the Western Slope (in fact, former Silt resident Dan Sprick is represented). Some of the short term exhibits, meanwhile, are up there with anything you would see in Paris or Florence, if not so extensive.

In the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of attending two displays of prominent impressionists. Just last weekend, I caught the works of Andrew and Jamie Wyeth.

If you’re not familiar with their work, it’s worth looking up. Andrew’s realism is distinctive in its supreme command of texture and eternally overcast palette, while Jamie takes his father’s style and adds a pop art flair.

It runs through Feb. 7.

If your next visit to the Front Range is a little further out, you may still be able to catch the works of Walter Ufer and E. Martin Hennings, two German-American painters who applied their well-trained eyes to the American Southwest. Ufer’s alla prima approach lends it a jarring immediacy, while Hennings renderings are somehow accurate without being too literal.

I may be the very last person to realize that a midsized city still has things to offer that even proximity to Aspen doesn’t provide. You’d be hard pressed to find a music venue to match Red Rocks and the Botanic Gardens is regarded as one of the best in the country — to say nothing of the city’s full array of professional sports teams. I have even come to appreciate Blucifer, the homicidal mascot of DIA.

If that’s old news to you, I hope you’ll forgive my small town sensibilities. If, like me, you get a headache at I-25 and consider the Elitches strange and unusual punishment, take heart. All else aside, cities have something for everyone.

Will Grandbois still feels more allegiance to the Colorado River Basin than to the state that takes its name. He can be reached at 384-9105 or will@postindepenedent.com.

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