Record Reveals: Dean Sobel on Denver
Dean Sobel / Photo courtesy Clyfford Still Museum
Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art / Courtesy Kirkland Museum
Denver Union Station / Courtesy Wikipedia
Dean Sobel was appointed director of the Clyfford Still Museum in February 2005. A specialist in 20th-century art, Sobel spearheaded the effort to create a permanent home for the Clyfford Still and Patricia Still estates, which encompass approximately 2,400 works of art by Still that were donated to the City of Denver in 2004 and 2005. Prior to the Clyfford Still Museum, Sobel was director of the Aspen Art Museum, where he acted as chief management officer and artistic director for the kunsthalle dedicated to modern and contemporary art.
Best Off-the-Beaten-Path Historic Architecture
Denver’s Potter Highlands Historic District (roughly 32nd to 38th Avenues between Federal and Zuni Streets) tends to get overlooked, probably because it’s on the “other side” of the I-25 freeway. But this area boasts a range of wonderful historical housing types from Queen Anne Victorians and Denver “Four-Squares” to Craftsman-period bungalows, all nestled above downtown, a reminder of how early Denver developed toward the west as well as to the east.
Best Coffee (Caf' con Leche, actually)
At Bucci’s Café Cubano, the café con leche is so delicious they refuse to divulge their recipe (but I think it has something to do with the way they roast their beans and how they steam their milk). Get a large and see if you can figure it out.
Best Highlands Breakfast/Lunch Restaurant:
Located on the northern edge of the Potter Highlands Historic District, the Universal is a newish hotspot is known for its inventive twists on brunch favorites. Check out the specials board to see their grits of the day.
Best 'Overlooked' Museum:
Located just blocks from the Civic Center Cultural District, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Arts features an astonishing collection of 20th-century design and decorative art objects that rivals anything on the East and West Coasts. The museum is named after Colorado’s most significant modern painter, Vance Kirkland, whose collection is exhibited throughout in what used to be his studio.
Out-of-towners probably aren’t aware that the Continental Divide is only about 45 miles from town. I’d normally not recommend trying to see the Rocky Mountains only by car, but if you’re strapped for time and you’ve got a car, drive west on I-70 for some extraordinary views (keep an eye out on the left for Charles Deaton’s iconic 1963 Sculptured House featured in Woody Allen’s 1973 film Sleeper near the Genesee exit). If you’ve got another hour or so, try Golden Gate State Park, probably the best mountain hikes close to Denver.