Friday, April 21, 2017

OUR BURMESE ALTAR HAS A NEW HOME

Our Burmese altar has welcomed visitors in the entrance of the Wesco Fabrics warehouse in Denver for over 20 years. Marla felt it gave her peace as she entered the fray of the decorative fabric and window covering business each morning. With the business sold and the building on the market, we knew it was time to find a good place for it. Our friend, Paul Ramsey, of Shaver-Ramsey Rug Gallery, thought we should contact the Asian Art Department of the Denver Art Museum. The curator, Tianlong Jiao, saw the altar and felt it would be a great addition to the museum.  After many weeks of communication back and forth and the approval of the acquisition committee, we found a new a new home for our cherished altar.

The museum's conservation team arrived on Tuesday.

We watched as they planned to disassemble the altar. Marla and I wanted to be there for its last day with us. It may sound a little corny but it was like losing an old friend. 


They slowly begin the process of taking it apart.  They were amazingly careful with each piece. 

Step by step. 



The head conservator carefully cleaned each piece on site before transport.


We were very impressed with the process of disassembly. 

As they were working I reflected on craftsmanship and artistry of people who made the altar in Burma, now called Myanmar, in the 19th century.

Just about ready.


"One, two, three,...lift." Teak is heavier than it looks.


It was packed in the truck,....and then it was gone.

We will not be able to see our altar on exhibit for three years as the Denver Art Museum will be undergoing a major expansion and refurbishing of the iconic Gio Ponti designed wing, pictured on the far right. We can't wait for that day to come!

We first came upon the Burmese altar in Chiang Mai Thailand. While exploring one of many buildings belonging to a supplier of ours, we found the altar.  We had unknowingly gone into their private residence. 

It was definitely a WOW moment when we first saw it! They told us it possibly came from a small temple or Royal residence in Mandalay. We asked our agent to contact them to see if they wanted to sell it to us. A few weeks later they said it could be ours!

This altar is from the amazing Doris Duke collection of Southeast Asian art. Her foundation donated many fabulous treasures to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and the Walters Museum in Baltimore.

This wonderful Hpaya Khan Burmese shrine is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Images: Dick Gentry, Doris Duke Asian Art Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, Denver Post

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A BRAIN BOOST AT THE 69TH CONFERENCE ON WORLD AFFAIRS IN BOULDER

The University of Colorado campus in Boulder is truly one of the most beautiful anywhere! Every April for the past 69 years over 700 volunteers and students at CU help to put on the CONFERENCE ON WORLD AFFAIRS. Attendance is a 50/50 mix of students and the public.This year from April 10-14, panelists from every corner of the United States and 19 countries gave fascinating talks on everything from food, politics, world affairs, the arts, religion, music, and so much more!  My brain always needs a boost so a conference like this is perfect. The event is like "South X Southwest", but the sessions are FREE!
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My grandson Paxton was off on Tuesday so we drove up to Boulder to hear "Nurturing Innovation: How and Where." He loved the roundtable session and the vibe of the campus!

Marla and I came early on Wednesday for a full day at the conference.

The talk on "Brexit and the Future of the EU" was fabulous with a panel of diverse opinion. My takeaway,...Brexit will be much more difficult than almost anyone realizes! Post-election polls showed most voters really didn't understand what they were voting for...and many would vote differently if they were able!

It was really fun to be on a college campus again! Students lined up for coffee at Starbucks in the student union.

Having a bike repair station in the middle of campus was totally cool. CU and of course Boulder are one of the most bike-friendly places anywhere!

 Panelist rush to their next talk.

 We walked through the Quadrangle for our next session at Macky Auditorium. 

 Marla and I attended a presentation from the Asian Studies Dept last week on the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead and her Balinese studies in the 1930's. Held at "Old Main", the first building on campus built in 1876, it was complete with a live gamelan orchestra, dancer, and film clips of the trance dances. 

 Macky Auditorium was packed for a session on "Nationalism Returns To America," a topic of interest to many with diverse opinions.

 We had time for a quick lunch so went up to "The Hill" and the famous "Sink", a Boulder institution since 1923.


Our favorite talk of the day was "Finding Your Passion." A diverse panel ranging from a guitarist/songwriter, a polar explorer, a builder of housing for the homeless, a singer from France, and a saxophonist talked about how they found their passion. I love the topic so much I will write a future blog on this important topic!

***If you have time on Friday, April 14, and are able to go to Boulder you may want to attend a few sessions. Friday topics include, "Defeating Isis, Books that changed my life, Finding Friendship, The Future of Water, How Politics Derailed Science" and so much more!

Images: Dick Gentry, Pinterest