Art Beat

Michael Paglia's brief sketches of what's happening in the Denver art scene.

At the end of March, the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts held its annual meeting in Denver, attracting more than 3,000 of the most distinguished ceramic artists and teachers from around the country. In response, local galleries, museums and art centers staged a veritable ceramic arts festival to highlight the usually overlooked medium. One individual was chiefly responsible for the success of the conference and for the idea to present all those ceramics shows: Rodger Lang.

Now, not a month later, Lang is dead at the age of 58. He died on April 12 after having been diagnosed with cancer just a week before.

Lang, who spent two years coordinating the NCECA conference, continued to produce his own work during that time, such as "Cryptic Vessel #4" (above), and ably carried out his day job as the head of the ceramics department at Metropolitan State College of Denver, a post he held for thirty years.

In retrospect, the conference and the numerous associated ceramic exhibits may be seen as a fitting tribute to Lang, whose work was included in many of the shows. Some of these exhibits are still open, and viewers will thus have a chance to pay their respects by seeing some of his accomplishments.

Shows featuring his work include Old Pecos Museum, at Artyard through May 5; High Degrees: Ceramics by Colorado Art Faculty, at the Metro State Center for the Visual Arts through April 22; Colorado Clay 2000, at the Foothills Art Center through May 7; and Colorado Kilns, at the Colorado History Museum through October 1.

Amy Metier, a longtime colleague of Lang's at Auraria, said of his sudden death, "We're all devastated." I think that pretty much sums it up. -- Michael Paglia

 
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