Art Beat

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

There’s a rumor that has been spreading through the art world for months: that one of the state’s most accomplished artists, Bill Stockman, is set to pull up stakes in the fall and move to, of all places, Philthy-delphia.

Now, I was born in Philly, and I can tell you that in terms of the architecture, cultural amenities and intellectual life, Denver doesn’t hold a candle to the City of Brotherly Love -- not to mention those delicious cheesesteaks and hoagies. But there is a serious proviso to any rave review, because except for its well-known historical landmarks and cultural institutions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Academy of Music, Philadelphia is in a state of near ruin.

The city has been losing its population to the suburbs for more than fifty years, which is one of the reasons real estate is so much cheaper there than it is here. This is what Stockman says he finds so appealing about moving.

There is one bright spot in another rumor hard on the heels of this one: that Stockman’s friends, many of them among the who’s who of the downtown art world, think his contemplated move is a terrible idea. One, a well-known painter who will remain nameless, made a series of witty remarks to me on the topic, including one in which he suggested that an intervention was being considered. I think he was kidding.

Stockman has made a big reputation for himself around here with high-quality work like the drawing Fountain: (above). As a result of his talents, his pieces have been included in the Denver Art Museum’s permanent collection. Only Stockman can decide whether or not to leave, but if he goes, it will mean a notable loss to the Denver art scene. And that can’t be good for those of us who are going to stay.

 
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