The Denver Art Museum is the only scheduled U.S. venue in 2012 for two exhibitions imagined as crowd-sources: Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective, and Becoming Van Gogh. One of these exhibitions will be the most well attended in DAM history. My prediction? Yves Saint Laurent, which opens March 25 and runs through July 8, 2012, will feature 200 haute couture garments, photographs, drawings and films will draw more crowds to Denver than any other exhibition. It will also bring in the stylish, the fashionista, the well-heeled. Let’s just hope those in the tourism office aren’t so busy trying to promote Colorado skiing that they blow this opportunity for the city to roll out the red carpet for the Vogue crowd. Becoming Van Gogh opens October 21 and runs through January 20, 2013 and is an in-depth exploration of the artist’s work. Perhaps Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith will be released in paperback around that time.
Beyond blockbusters, I’m looking forward to seeing Ed Ruscha: On the Road, which opened December 24 and runs through April 22, 2012. In 2009, Ruscha created a limited edition artist book version of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the continuous 120-foot-long scroll recording Kerouac’s road trip. For this exhibition, Ruscha has created a new body of paintings and drawings inspired by passages in Kerouac’s novel. I’m particularly interested in the beat poets and their influence on contemporary art. Particularly overlooked in my opinion is The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied poets at Naropa University founded by Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, John Cage and Diane di Prima. The avant-garde and the counterculture collided in Boulder, Colorado.
Also on my radar is the Mark Grotjahn exhibit at the Aspen Art Museum, February 17 through April 29. Art critic at The Nation, Barry Schwabsky will discuss Grotjahn’s work on March 15. And skiers in Aspen can purchase limited edition Grotjahn designed lift tickets featuring the artist’s exuberant mask sculptures.