One of the four pieces of public art installed on the grounds of the new Libeskind-designed Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum is Scottish Angus Cow and Calf by Dan Ostermiller. Since the oversized bronze bovines were not installed until a month or two after the Hamilton’s grand opening in October, they perhaps haven’t received the same degree of public exposure as the other pieces, particularly Big Sweep and Denver Monoliths, which are visible from busy 13th Avenue.
I’m not sure if Scottish Angus Cow and Calf was intended to celebrate or poke fun at Denver’s cowtown heritage (perhaps a little of both) but either way, I find the work appealing. The animals’ relaxed demeanor and rounded organic forms offer a comforting contrast to the sharp angularity and tension found in the Hamilton Building and adjacent Museum Residences. I do hope we keep in check this recent trend in our public art program of selecting pieces that represent familiar objects or forms that have been “supersized,” but in this case, I’m happy to see this piece installed where it is. I think Scottish Angus Cow and Calf will become as popular as I See What You Mean by Lawrence Argent, the recently-installed piece at the Colorado Convention Center that everyone else refers to as “the Big Blue Bear.”
The cow measures 13 feet high and 24 feet long, and her calf measures 10 feet high and 14 feet long. Bathed in yesterday’s warm sunshine, Scottish Angus Cow and Calf proved to be popular with adults and the kiddies alike.