Art Review

Art Beat

For the last few years, the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts has hosted exhibits downtown in the lobby of Republic Plaza -- a feat that isn't easy to pull off, since the lobby itself is a work of art.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the lobby is in one of our finest skyscrapers and is among the most luxuriously finished rooms in the city. The floors are made of granite, and the walls are covered in fancy green marble. Even the revolving doors are glitzy. This lavishness is so distracting that even the best artwork has a hard time competing.

But if you can get past the beauty of the walls, there's often something interesting to see hanging on them (or, rather, in front of them, since no one's had the gall to actually put a nail through the marble). Currently on display is works on paper: a riverhouse retrospective, which surveys the history of Riverhouse, a fine printmaking facility outside of Steamboat Springs.

Riverhouse was founded in 1988 by print dealers William and Jan van Straaten, and it includes residences and workshops so that artists will have a place to stay while they work. Artists typically reside at Riverhouse for a few weeks while they work on prints with the staff, notably master printer Susan Hover. The concept is inviting, and many artists have chosen to work there, including some pretty famous ones, like Sol LeWitt.

The show at Republic Plaza, opposite the 16th Street entrance, starts with five LeWitt prints, including "Wavy Brushstrokes #3," from 1995 (seen above). Also included are works by Russian émigrés Komar & Melamid, New York artist Lynda Benglis and Californian Lawrence Gipe.

The prints in the show are all quite impressive, but it's still a shame to cover up all that gorgeous marble.

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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