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Even better is "Dead River," a spike constructed of steel and cast iron. The piece rests on a big rusted cog, and hanging down from the top are silver-colored rods of varying lengths that look and sound like chimes.

In the large back gallery at Judish, Ira Sherman's bizarre sculptures are on view. Sherman, a goldsmith, jeweler and sculptor, is an acknowledged master of Colorado art, despite the fact that he's the artistic corollary of a mad scientist. I say that because Sherman has long been interested in making pieces that interact with the human body in potentially hazardous ways.

In a sense, these sculptures, which are meant to be worn, are logical extensions of Sherman's jewelry; those pieces are on display in a case in the gallery's office.

In this latest group are what Sherman calls "anti-rape devices" -- more commonly known as chastity belts. The belts, some of them quite elaborate, are made of polished metal tubes, mechanical devices, colored plastic tubing and wire woven into patterns. In form, the belts refer directly to the female body and indirectly to the male body. Some of the imagery Sherman suggests are devices -- razors, saws -- meant to sever any penis that would enter the female orifice. Yikes!

As crazy and disturbing as Sherman's ideas are, the pieces themselves, divorced from their intended use, are compellingly luxurious.

Metal is a terrific show, and we owe a salute to those visiting jewelers whose presence inspired both it and the attractions at Robischon. Cheers, too, to the inventor of air-conditioning.

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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