Michael Mrowka, American, 1955-
Dances in Two Worlds, wood, 1991, 45 x 21 in.

June 2018–June 2021

When the Museum of Authenticity Gatehouse neared completion at the beginning of 2018, I began to search for the focus of an exhibit that could be installed there while the main building undergoes renovation. But the theme for the Museum’s first exhibit eluded me until one day I looked at a sculpture that has inhabited my living space in Denver since 1991. When she returned my gaze, I realized that she will always preside over the Museum, and the first exhibit should take her name: Dances in Two Worlds.

Sculptor Michael Mrowka (American) had already named the Janus totem when he delivered her to me directly following Denver’s Cherry Creek Arts Festival in July 1991. An assemblage of wooden foundry patterns, a cypress knee, and a round wooden base, “Dances in Two Worlds” presents two faces, one serene and the other distressed (or so it seems to me). Because a museum is a reflection of life, and life is rich in dualities, the “dances in two worlds” theme appealed to me. Once I had settled on that focus, I had no trouble selecting the components for the exhibit, which encompasses a range of artists, backgrounds, media, and subjects.

Edward Curtis (American), “The Hopi Maiden,” photogravure, 1905

Frank Francisco (Navajo, age 21), untitled, linoleum block print, 1951

Eirini Kokori (Greek), untitled Odysseus aboard ship, paint on repurposed wood, contemporary

Ira Moskowitz {Polish-American), “Santo Domingo Corn Dance,” lithograph, 1946

Edward Marecak (American), “Dancing Girl,” lithograph, circa 1950; “Fish,” linoleum block print, circa 1950; untitled (titled “Poseidon” on other impressions of same image), linoleum block print, circa 1950; untitled ship, linoleum block print, circa 1950

Thordis Niela Simonsen (American), “#84,” tempera, 1993; “#156,” monotype, 2010

Calvin Ska (Navajo, age18), untitled, linoleum block print, 1951

Leonard Thompson (Navajo, age 5), linoleum block print, 1951

Teddy Weahkee (Zuni), untitled, guache and watercolor, circa 1930

unknown, 8-prong hand-forged cast iron harpoon from Greece mounted on a cherry wood & metal base (this sculpture stands in front of Marecak’s “Poseidon” print)

I hope that you will approach the pieces in the “Dances in Two Worlds” exhibit with openness and curiosity, and that you will acknowledge your personal experience of each object in addition to or even apart from trying to understand the artist’s intention in creating it. The creative process can be deeply intimate, revealing, and meaningful. So, too, the viewing.