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Best New Public Art Denver 2009 - "National Velvet," by John McEnroe

Readers' Choice: "National Velvet," by John McEnroe
Like "Mustang" at DIA, John McEnroe's "National Velvet" has elicited a lot of public comment. But here the jokes have been accompanied by sniggers and smirks rather than shock and awe. Some have suggested that the piece, a contemporary take on an obelisk cast from piled-up sandbags — in the Platte River floodplain, no less — suggests either a penis or a stack of breasts. What really makes this sculpture fun, though, is the way McEnroe parodies traditional monumental sculpture by placing a glow-in-the-dark red plastic spire in the middle of an old-fashioned-looking town square.
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3 comments
Katharyn Grant
Katharyn Grant

Are you kidding???? Best new public art? All my friends absolutely hate that thing and think it looks like a pile of red poops, or else blood clots. It is a grotesque eye sore. I even know people who avoid that area of town because they don't want to see it-- it is that horrible. Denver should not be burdened with such ugliness. Best new public art, indeed.

Standish Lawder
Standish Lawder

Almost all artists have some sort of a signature style, that is, there's a similarity of visual appearance between one work and another. Not McEnroe, and that's exactly what makes him one of the most interesting artists in Denver. Where in the world did he get this idea, and what's he going to do next? We'll never know.

Standish Lawder
Standish Lawder

Almost all artists have some kind of a signature style, that is, there's a similarity of visual appearance in all their works. Not McEnroe, and that's exactly what makes him one of the most interesting artists in Denver. A new piece by McEnroe is always a surprize. How in the world did he come up with this idea? And what is he going to do next? We will never know.

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