Art of the State

Westword art critic Michael Paglia is one of Denver’s go-to guys on the subject of regional modern art: He not only flat-out loves it more than almost anything, but he’s also a walking reliquary of regional art history and an up-to-date encyclopedia of who’s who in the present. There aren’t many others in town as devoted as Michael, but we’d have to say that two of them include venerable Rocky Mountain News art critic Mary Voelz Chandler and Kirkland Museum director and dynamo Hugh Grant. With that knowledgeable trio in the driver’s seat, Colorado Abstract: Paintings and Sculpture, a beautiful, spankin’-new Fresco Fine Art Publications-produced art tome by Paglia and Chandler, and an accompanying exhibit at the Kirkland and the Center for Visual Art/MSCD, couldn’t possibly be anything less than spectacular — and I’m not just saying that because Michael is one of our own.

“The history part of the book is a culmination of a twenty-year dream,” Paglia says of his curatorial participation in the project, which he envisioned as a primarily visual experience (augmented by a cream-of-the-crop Italian print job) that focuses mostly on the artists’ works themselves, using choices based largely on their direct input.

The two-gallery show, which opened recently at both locations and continues through March, features a historical overview of Colorado abstraction at the Kirkland, 1311 Pearl Street (where Paglia and Chandler, who provided the book’s artist profiles, will attend a reception and book signing tonight at 5:30 p.m.), and a survey of contemporary works at the CVA, 1734 Wazee Street. For more information, log on to or
Jan. 8-March 7, 2009

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd