Off Limits

A brush with fame: Sunday's Rex Kildow & Co. auction offered a variety of pieces by local artists, none more famous at the moment than Peter Schmitz. But the painting by Schmitz, who is better known for his reported role in the death of Greg Lopez than he is for his aesthetic sensibilities, failed to get a single bid.

The owner of the Schmitz watercolor is Chuck Meyers, a self-described "private trader" of art. "We lived in the same apartment building," Meyers says, "and I bought it in an effort to help support his budding career and as an investment. And it was the least expensive work he had, frankly." When he bought the painting six years ago, Meyers adds, Schmitz told him that he was very popular in Europe and that if Meyers ever wanted to sell the piece, he could take it there and get "five times" what he paid for it.

The title of the small watercolor, "Jumper and Doll," may bring to mind the bizarre photo in a June 13 Rocky Mountain News society column of printing magnate Barry Hirschfeld in a romper suit and curls. Instead, Schmitz's painting features a doll slumped over a chair, a human form jumping, and a portrait of a stern father figure in the background. Meyers says he liked Schmitz's explanation of the work, which was that the jumper was trying to impress the father of the doll by leaping into the air.

But Meyers's wife didn't much like the painting, he says, so he'd been meaning to sell it for some time--he just had trouble getting in touch with Schmitz, who he thought might want to buy it back himself. After Schmitz's name recently surfaced in the news, though, Meyers decided to go ahead and offer the piece at auction. Although he declines to say how much he originally paid for the painting, Meyers notes that had someone bid the $2,000 minimum, it would have meant "a small amount of profit."

But the only interest in the piece came from the press. According to Meyers, the entire crowd was "ten people, and five of them were reporters."

Schmitz wasn't in attendance. But he had other things to do Sunday, including buying a "Gotcha Gopher" at the Toys 'R' Us on South Wadsworth.

What goes up...: DIA officials spend almost as much energy chasing rumors as they do foreign airlines. Monday's Wall Street Journal had a letter from DIA aviation manager Jim DeLong, taking the paper to task for a May 17 article that said the airport had been "beset by problems since its opening." After acknowledging "it's true that DIA has had occasional problems with overcrowded parking facilities and the capacity of our automated train system," DeLong wrote that those problems had been fixed and pointed to DIA's low delay rates. No mention was made of the baggage system, however.

But the current New York more than makes up for the omission. In a consumer piece hyping a new duffel bag, the magazine notes that it's tough enough to withstand travel to even--you guessed it

--DIA.

To Av and Av not: Whatever the final tally of fans at the Colorado Avalanche parade last Wednesday (what's a couple hundred thousand among friends?), a more telling figure comes from the mayor's office: five. According to spokesman Andrew Hudson, that's the total number of petunia plants crushed by what had to be the world's most polite crowd.

Probably not in attendance was the author of an anonymous flier now making the rounds that, as a "public education project," shares this definition of "hockey" from the New Dictionary of American Slang: "1. n Feces; excrement; = SHIT. Great big blooping hunks of dog hockey

--William Styron.

 
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