Mind and Body

Edgar Britton's legacy is rediscovered.

There is also a group of very small tabletop bronzes of lithe figures based on circus topics -- another peculiarly French convention. These shiny, gold-colored bronzes, such as "Acrobats," from 1976, in which a male nude supports an inverted female over his head, have a visual lightness that make them seem to soar, despite their diminutive size.

One very unusual piece is "Return of Ulysses," from 1970, a fabricated bronze in which a group of figures are used to tell a story. All of the figures are placed within a skeletal structure that takes the form of a house.

The other show, The Erotic Art of Edgar Britton, is similar to the first in that Hilberry has supplemented a large selection of newer pieces with a handful of older ones. And again, the influence of the School of Paris shows itself in pieces such as the very Matisse-ian "Seated Nude," a 1940s monoprint.

"Acrobats," bronze sculpture.
"Acrobats," bronze sculpture.


Through May 13, 1-719-634-5581

The Erotic Art of Edgar Britton
Through April 18
The Coburn Art Gallery, Colorado College, 14 West Cache La Poudre Street, Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs

There is another of those strange narrative groups contained in a bronze house, as well. This one, "Solomon and the Shulamite," is from 1969 and is obviously a prepatory piece for the later and larger "Return of Ulysses."

In addition, there is a good selection of small bronzes, both fabricated pieces and castings. One of the choicest is "Apollo and Daphne," which was completed in 1981, the year Britton died.

There are nearly fifty pieces on display between the two shows, and when you consider that Hilberry limited her selections to depictions of the figure and included mostly pieces from the 1970s, you get some idea of how prolific Britton was.

"He did so much and he was so good, it would be sad if he fell through the cracks," Hilberry says.

But you know what? Even though it's been nearly twenty years since his death and he's been mostly ignored by local museums, we're still talking about him. And that says something.

No column that mentions the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center these days is complete without a note about the goofy expansion fantasy that the center's powers that be, including director David Turner and former board of trustees president Diane Sikes, have in mind.

After a two-year process led by Minneapolis-based architects HGA (Hammel, Green and Abrahamson), they've come up with the clumsy idea of slamming a big-box addition onto the front of the building -- a building that just happens to be a world-class modernist masterpiece from 1936 by John Gaw Meem ("Nightmare on Dale Street," March 15). Fortunately, however, the Fine Arts Center doesn't own the land on which its leaders want to erect their monument to architectural insensitivity. Nor do they have the money to build it. (Whew!)

Oddly, as concern about the plans has grown in recent months, so, too, have the dimensions of the would-be addition. When I first heard about it in January, Turner described it to me as being 20,000 square feet. Then in March, in a chillingly titled pamphlet called Envision the Future, which was passed out at a public meeting, the addition was described as being 50,000 square feet. And just a couple of weeks ago, the Rocky Mountain News reported that the atrocity is conceived to be between 60,000 and 80,000 square feet! I'm no math wizard, but at this rate, it looks like the wing could wind up comprising millions of square feet by the end of the summer. That is, if, like the Tower of Babel, it doesn't fall under its own weight by then. We can always hope.

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