Almost Anything Goes

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But the point here is not to bury the AoA; it is to identify a festering problem at the sponsoring institution, the Colorado History Museum. The AoA, the CHM's only annual, has little to do with Colorado and nothing to do with history. And though the museum has presented AoA for eighteen long years, in that same time it has rarely presented exhibits that examine the state's art history. And if there are good financial reasons to continue the show, which is a great moneymaker for the museum, some sense of equity should force them to add, if only as a consolation prize for the art community, an annual that looks at some facet of the state's rich history of artistic accomplishment.

The CHM isn't alone in shamefully ignoring the great legacy of historic Colorado art. The Denver Art Museum, only a block away at the Civic Center, also has a disgraceful track record in this area--but at least at the DAM, what is on display is worth seeing. The same cannot be said for the CHM, especially when it's offering the lackluster AoA.

Jae H. Hahn: Painting and Jeffrey Keith: Erotic Gouaches, both through November 7 at the Rule Modern and Contemporary Gallery, 111 Broadway, 303-777-9473.

Artists of America, through November 1 at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway, 303-866-3681.

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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