Art Review


Back in November, Kate Thompson, director of William Havu Gallery, got an unusual phone call from Darren Howelton, a producer for ABC's hit reality show Extreme Makeover -- Home Edition. The L.A.-based executive was doing advance work for an episode of the program that would soon be taping in Arvada. The plan was for Standard Pacific Homes to construct -- with the help of Jeffco Action Center, Colorado Homeless Families and some 600 volunteers -- a duplex for two formerly homeless families.

Howelton called Havu's because he wanted to find a sculptor who could create an entry piece for the community park being constructed next to the duplex as part of the show. But there was one catch: It had to be done by the following weekend. This was a ridiculously short amount of time to turn around a custom job -- which is what was needed.

After consulting with gallery owner Bill Havu, Thompson quickly came up with boy genius David Mazza. Just as Havu and Thompson thought, Mazza was game and accepted the gig. He got the commission on a Tuesday, finished the piece that Friday and installed it on the following Sunday. "It was a challenge," Mazza says, "but it was neat. You deal with any other commission, and everything has to be done their way. But this time I told them what I was doing, and they said, 'Go for it.' I first showed them the model after the piece was already under way!"

Called "Renaissance Park Archway," the sculpture provides a ceremonial entrance into the park at 61st Avenue and Webster Street, just west of Wadsworth Boulevard. The archway is formed with a pair of mirror-image modernist sculptures made of steel donated by DenCol Supply. The matching opposites are hybrids of pieces from Mazza's "Stargazer" series, in which linear elements are arranged around a single supporting beam. The archway is not closed at the top; instead, rolled steel rods cross over like swords. A sign identifying the park, contributed by Focus Light, adorns the piece. The Arvada episode of Extreme Makeover -- Home Edition, complete with Mazza's archway, will air sometime during the coming season.

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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