Denver Art Museum

In the late 1990s, the Denver Art Museum sought to bring the “Bilbao effect” to Colorado. It selected architect Daniel Libeskind to oversee a $110 million expansion, and he designed a jutting, crystalline building with sharply sloped walls and ceilings. While some critics praised the unconventional structure, which opened in October 2006, others panned it, decrying in particular the challenges its angled spaces presented for the display of art. Not helping perceptions were a leaky roof and attendance that fell below optimistic projections.

In 2008, a year after his arrival from Germany as curator of modern and contemporary art, Christoph Heinrich announced his desire to hit the reset button. He conceived “Embrace!” an ambitious exhibition in which seventeen artists from around the world would create works responding directly to the building’s architecture. These participants ranged from

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