Light isn’t only about illumination.

It can be used metaphorically, spiritually and sometimes as a divine representation.

The Denver Art Museum will explore all shades of light in the exhibit “The Light Show.” Its first stage opens Sunday, and the second will open June 2. It runs through May 3, 2020.

“It’s more on the spiritual aspects of light, faith, enlightenment, knowledge, but also darkness,” said Jorge Rivas Pérez, DAM’s Frederick and Jan Mayer curator of Spanish colonial art.

Most of DAM’s permanent galleries are closed due to construction, so the director wanted to show off some of the museum’s 70,000-piece collection in an original exhibit. Pérez and his colleague, Rebecca Hart, the Vicki and Kent Logan curator of modern and contemporary art, dreamed up a show about light.

“This is a great opportunity for us to show to the public pieces not shown for many years or recently acquisitioned,” Pérez said. “We put them with the permanent pieces of the collection in dialogue. This is a way for us to showcase how rich the permanent collection of the museum is.”

The exhibit will encompass two floors and feature about 250 objects from nine curatorial departments. “The Way the Moon’s in Love With the Dark,” Fred Wilson’s enormous 2017 chandelier, will be displayed for the first time. Pérez’s favorite piece of the bunch, Lucas Samaras’ 1970 “Corridor #2,” features mirrors on a wood frame. Visitors also will see Ansel Adams’ famous 1944 photo, “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico,” and an arresting 1890-1910 sculpture by José Inez Herrera called “Death Cart,” created from wood, leather, hair, feather, metal and silk.

While the fourth floor will showcase the more spiritual aspects of light, the third floor will be devoted to the physical aspects, such as transparency, shadow and shade, with a large section of lamps to signify the fight against darkness.

“It’s a beautiful exhibit,” Pérez said. “You rarely see pieces from the permanent collection all put together. We’re working hard to have pieces to appeal to different interests.”

Jennifer Mulson, The Gazette,

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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