On a recent visit to Denver, I found myself, yet again, in total awe of the Dikeou Collection. Since my last trip out West, the collection has grown and though I'm still completely wowed by Momoyo Torimitsu's larger-than-life-sized blow-up bunnies, a new installation by the New York-based artist Johannes VanDerBeek just blew me away. VanDerBeek created the work in 2008 and titled it 'Newspaper Ruined' (I understand from Jessica Hughes who runs the Dikeou and gives an excellent docent tour), that it was installed by the artist about a year ago. Through careful planning, cutting, pasting and collage techniques, VanDerBeek created a 3-D environment, a village if you will, that is reminiscent of a hallucinogenic frontier town where Indian tepees co-exist with structures that have a quintessentially American West vernacular: billboard signs, oil rigs, prairie houses. The work was recycled from a single newspaper and some passages where text and image are seamlessly combined give the work an overall feeling of being incongruous while at the same time meant to be. The entire piece is erected on a tabled platform not unlike an elaborate Victorian diorama.
Pros: new installation, great atmosphere, worth returning to