Art Review

All hail Mary

Like many other people, I'm pretty bummed out about the closure of the Rocky Mountain News. But for me, it's mainly because Mary Chandler (pictured), the paper's ace art reporter, is now out of a job.

Chandler graduated from the University of Missouri in 1970, and she's worked in the business ever since, at places like the Miami Herald and People magazine. It was in 1987 that she came to the Rocky, first as an architecture writer and then expanding her gig into art coverage. From the start, she took her job seriously and devoted what was apparently her every waking hour to it, carrying out her duties according to the highest standards imaginable. It may be a slight exaggeration to say that she saw every exhibit in town, but she definitely tried to. And that was the least of it. She also attended innumerable (and unimaginably boring) meetings. In this way, she was able to write about art funding, historic preservation and architecture in a format that no one else has done in Denver.

With the Rocky going up in smoke, the art community has been reeling. A reception for Chandler, co-hosted by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, was held on March 11, and a celebration dubbed "Mary Day" is planned for March 28 at Ironton Studios (3636 Chestnut Place, www.irontonstudios.com), to run from 6 to 9 p.m. And there's been a grassroots campaign that has led to the sending of hundreds of e-mails to Denver Post editor Greg Moore, urging him to hire Chandler (see our Latest Word blog at westword.com). I wonder if Moore would have had to deal with hundreds of e-mails had he failed to hire Vincent Carroll, Penny Parker or Bill Johnson? Probably not.

Chandler is now blogging at www.iwantmyrocky.com and is part of a group aiming to start a culture website. She may be down, but she's definitely not out.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia