Westword art critic Michael Paglia is one of Denvers go-to guys on the subject of regional modern art: He not only flat-out loves it more than almost anything, but hes also a walking reliquary of regional art history and an up-to-date encyclopedia of whos who in the present. There arent many others in town as devoted as Michael, but wed have to say that two of them include venerable Rocky Mountain News art critic Mary Voelz Chandler and Kirkland Museum director and dynamo Hugh Grant. With that knowledgeable trio in the drivers seat, Colorado Abstract: Paintings and Sculpture, a beautiful, spankin-new Fresco Fine Art Publications-produced art tome by Paglia and Chandler, and an accompanying exhibit at the Kirkland and the Center for Visual Art/MSCD, couldnt possibly be anything less than spectacular and Im not just saying that because Michael is one of our own.
The history part of the book is a culmination of a twenty-year dream, Paglia says of his curatorial participation in the project, which he envisioned as a primarily visual experience (augmented by a cream-of-the-crop Italian print job) that focuses mostly on the artists works themselves, using choices based largely on their direct input.
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The two-gallery show, which opened recently at both locations and continues through March, features a historical overview of Colorado abstraction at the Kirkland, 1311 Pearl Street (where Paglia and Chandler, who provided the books artist profiles, will attend a reception and book signing tonight at 5:30 p.m.), and a survey of contemporary works at the CVA, 1734 Wazee Street. For more information, log on to www.kirklandmuseum.com or www.metrostatecva.org.
Jan. 8-March 7, 2009