Art Review


Spark (1535 Platte Street, 303-320-4547) is currently presenting Wasteland, a show featuring two of the co-op's members, Annalee Schorr and John Davenport.

The Schorr portion readdresses television as a topic. Schorr had produced photo-based works on this subject for about a decade before abandoning it in recent years in favor of a series of works based on the homeless. These pieces managed to say nothing about homelessness and yet were still troubling, a combination that is difficult to achieve and one that should be avoided in the future.

But if Schorr has little insight into homelessness, she does understand television and the society it reflects. She's always gotten a lot of mileage out of the medium, and I'm glad she's back at it. Many of the pieces at Spark have a political content, none more so than "What's On? November 7, 2000" (detail above), in which Schorr exhibits oversized contact sheets of color photos of television screens on election night.

Schorr has also returned to another kind of work that she'd all but abandoned: gestural pattern paintings. In one, she has painted over photocopied images of Timothy McVeigh, thereby obliterating the terrorist's portrait.

The other half of the show features photographs and photo-based works by John Davenport. The photos mostly depict the deserted early-morning streets of Denver on Christmas Day 2000. The shots of the city are charming, especially the ones printed in Van Dyke brown, but they shouldn't have to carry the weight of the world, as they are expected to do in this show: Davenport has cooked up the idea that the photos represent the city after a neutron bomb has killed everyone but left the city otherwise intact. Nor should the handsome photos have to put up with the novel and somewhat ridiculous framing Davenport has fashioned for them.

Wasteland closes on Sunday.

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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