Some Idiot Vandalized the Denver Art Museum's Ponti Building

A vandal tagged the Denver Art Museum's North Building.
A vandal tagged the Denver Art Museum's North Building. Kenzie Bruce
It must have been just a handful of hours before the groundbreaking at the Denver Art Museum's iconic Gio Ponti building on Wednesday morning that some idiot got inside the protective construction fence and vandalized the west side of the landmark with idiotic graffiti. (The graffiti is visible from Bannock Street between West 13th and West 14th avenues.)

The groundbreaking, held on the Civic Center side of the building, was meant to symbolically kick off the $150 million restoration of the internationally significant work of modern architecture — a project that now includes the removal of idiotic graffiti.

Imagine the kind of idiot who looks at the battered aggregate garden walls and the glass tile mosaic walls of the building itself beyond them, and thinks, "You know what this building needs? Some idiotic self-referential name on it done in red spray paint." But it was apparently precisely that kind of idiot who crossed paths with the only Ponti in North America and then decided the appropriate response was to mar it.

Staffers at the DAM discovered the damage wrought by the still-unidentified idiot early on January 10. The DAM immediately reported the graffiti to the Denver Police Department and the Denver Department of Public Works, and the institution is exploring its next steps.

In fairness, it may have been more than one idiot who carried out the vandalism, but the thought that there might be more than one person in Denver who was this much of an idiot is just too horrible a possibility to contemplate.
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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