Art Review

Art Beat

Its no understatement to say that without Phil Bender there would be no Pirate co-op. One of the founders of the group in 1980, Benders the only one to stick around. And stick is a good word to use, since hes the glue that held the place together during difficult times last year when it lost a full half of its pirates.

For his annual self-titled solo show, Bender, as he always does, has assembled groups of similar found items and presented them in grids; most are hung on the wall, while others are placed on sculpture stands. Some of the found items he used this year were square checkerboards and round paper plates. In two pieces, 9 Beauty Rims: (above) and the more ambitious 25 Beauty Rims,: hes employed flattened chrome wheel rims he found on the streets. Bender has been doing these kind of neo-Dada artworks for twenty years.

In Pirates Treasure Chest, a younger artist, David Brady, tries his hand at the same thing in the show Subscious, in which he creates bas-reliefs out of industrial toilet fresheners and rectangles of old, dirty linoleum as well as sculptures from a pile of sugar or a square of AstroTurf. Subscious is truly thought-provoking.

Bender and Brady are two artists who create art not by making it, but by finding it. Check out their discoveries through Sunday.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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