Art Review


February 14 is Valentine's Day, and tonight, the Museum of Contemporary Art (1275 19th Street, 303-298-7554) holds its annual fundraiser and auction, Love4Sale, which includes donated paintings and sculptures. Organizers hope to raise a lot of money -- no hollow wish considering the high quality of the donated pieces.

But Love4Sale is only one of the sweetheart attractions at the MCA. Another is Vertical Articulation: A Social Sculpture in Beuysian Space (overview seen above), a painted installation by Bruce Price that covers the walls and the coffee bar in the museum's cafe. To paint it, Price used a series of related greens, accented by madder browns, reds and pinks -- choices inspired in part by the chairs in the room. And he employed two basic forms -- vertical stripes and diamonds -- assembled into several distinct combinations. The forms represent two kinds of information that Price believes he has translated into simple visual devices. "The stripes are based on social information, and the diamonds are derived from architectural information," he says. The widths of the stripes are based on the heights of various people he measured at an MCA event; simply put, the differences between their heights determined the intervals of the stripes. The diamonds are created using computations based on the dimensions of the cafe itself.

Despite the mathematical permutations -- with the measurements in metric denominations, no less -- the resulting patterns don't look scientific. In fact, they suggest nothing less than old wallpaper. "French silk wallpaper," says Price.

Though the artist has done painted installations before, Vertical Articulation is by far the most ambitious, and it's struck a chord with many people, notably Price's dealer, Ron Judish, who asked the artists to do the same kind of thing at his gallery, Ron Judish Fine Arts. Judish has plans to market the idea to his clients.

Vertical Articulation will remain up until March 31.

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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