Now that museums are reopening, here are our top picks of exhibitions to see

by Nick Gonzales

Now that it’s September, significant chunks of public life are reopening not only in Colorado but in New Mexico as well. Down in the Land of Enchantment, closure orders shutting down all of the state-run museums just expired on the first day of the month. This reminded us of one more thing we haven’t been doing since COVID-19 put everything in lockdown mode: checking out museum exhibits and the like.

Inspired by this realization, we checked out what people and institutions in both states have been putting on display and came up with the top three exhibitions we want to see in the near future. If you check any of them out, keep in mind that many places have social-distancing programs in place and may require you to make reservations in advance.

Displaced (SITE Santa Fe)Starting off on a somber note, “Displaced: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis” features works from around the globe, in a number of mediums, that shine a light on forced migrations of the past, present, and future. The Santa Fe art space’s website says the exhibit “will take the visitor on a powerful, emotional journey and serve as a catalyst for human compassion and activism by reigniting a sense of common humanity, leveraging empathy, and cultivating understanding across communities.”

We don’t know about you, but to us, that sounds like exactly the type of thing the world can use more of right now — perhaps even more so now than when this show was originally planned. “Displaced” was originally supposed to open in the spring and be gone by Labor Day. Among the works featured are the documentary film “Human Flow” by Ai Weiwei and the flag and anthem created by Syrians Yara Said and Moutaz Arian to represent the Refugee Nation at the 2016 Olympics.

[image:2]The exhibit runs from Sept. 11 through Jan. 24, 2021. Admission is free.

Laughter and Resilience (Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian)On a lighter note, “Laughter and Resilience: Humor in Native American Art” highlights the role humor plays in indigenous cultures. As the museum points out, tricksters have always found their way into stories, and today parody and satire play an important part in critiquing political and cultural issues relevant to Native American tribes. It also serves to combat both overly-serious stereotypes of indigenous peoples and the idea that light-hearted art is somehow less important than serious art.

The exhibit only runs through Oct. 4, so if you’re interested, get on that. Admission to the museum, also in Santa Fe, is $8.

The Art of the Brick (Denver Museum of Nature & Science)After taking a gander at the list of exhibitions currently at Denver’s nature and science museum, it was very difficult not to immediately hit the road and begin driving there. One, “After the Asteroid: Earth’s Comeback Story,” features fossils from the Corral Bluffs near Colorado Springs that help shed light on the changes that occurred after the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Another, “Dogs! A Science Tail,” demonstrates how dogs see, hear, and smell their surroundings and “explores why humans and dogs are best friends.” (Even this author, a cat person, really wants to check this out.)

[video:1]The thing most likely to get us to make a pilgrimage to the DMNS, though, is “The Art of the Brick.” The exhibition features works by artist Nathan Sawaya made entirely out of Lego bricks. Some, such as the 80,000-brick Tyrannosaurus skeleton, are his own creations. Others are three-dimensional re-imaginings of classic works including Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” the “Venus de Milo,” and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.”

While we spend nowhere near the amount of time building stuff out of Legos as we did when we were, say, eight years old, we’re excited as heck to see someone use them to recreate something like Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” (What is this unusual feeling growing within us … is it … glee?)

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has a complicated ticketing structure and a timed ticket and museum admission are both required to see this exhibit. Check out their website for more details.

Nick Gonzales

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