The one thing about Denver that I really can't stand is the relentless lack of support for local artists among the entities that could make a difference. Not only does this wrongheaded approach cheat the artists, but it shortchanges the city, too.
The latest affront is Dialog:City, which is being promoted by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs and is completely disconnected from art in Denver.
Meant to coincide with the Democratic National Convention, the festival was put together by husband-and-wife team Seth Goldenberg and Liz Newton. And while there was plenty of room for artists connected with Rhode Island, where Goldenberg and Newton used to live, none of the key participants are from around here.
There's nothing wrong with the selected artists, headlined by Ann Hamilton (pictured in a still from the PBS program Art of the Twenty-First Century); it's just that they're irrelevant to the cultural life of Denver. Being exceedingly naïve and optimistic, I would have thought that something called Dialog:City would have been used to spotlight what's going on here and to show off Denver's great cultural leap forward for all those out-of-town dignitaries and media. But that would have meant that Erin Trapp, who runs the cultural affairs office, would have had to go to bat for the city's vibrant art world — a problem, as she apparently has no idea it exists.
I need to acknowledge that a side show at Robischon Gallery (1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788, www.robischongallery.com), Dialog: Denver, which opens August 21, will be made up of pieces by Colorado artists. But it wasn't originally part of the Dialog:City program and is actually the first phase of the My Yard, Our Message sign project, which will also be presented in Minneapolis when the Republican National Convention meets there.
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