Art Review

Art Beat

The Fine Arts Center Exhibition Space, on the third floor of the fine art building at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, is currently presenting Homeless in Denver, a compilation of disturbing photo-based work by longtime Denver artist Annalee Schorr.

Over the years, Schorr has explored the ubiquitous and has, in the past, turned her artistic eye toward everyday parts of the visual environment, including advertising and, more often, television. In a sense, her portraits of homeless people in this show are an extension of these interests: Just as we see ads and TV shows all the time, so do we see homeless people like "Fred," shown above.

Schorr photographed many of the people who stand at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Speer Boulevard soliciting money. The black-and-white photos were enlarged and translated into multiple photocopies, which Schorr then adhered onto battered sheets of cardboard. Hung below the portraits are the hand-lettered signs, also on cardboard, that the subjects are seen holding in their portraits.

Though Schorr has used the homeless as a topic for the past few years, the subject has become more poignant because of the highly publicized murders of several homeless men last fall near LoDo. As a result, Schorr has added a six-panel piece based on television coverage of the homicides.

The entire effect of this exhibit is very creepy and raises issues about poverty, which are only partly addressed by the fact that Schorr paid her subjects to model and also paid for their signs. Viewers can come to their own conclusions; the show runs through January 29.

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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