Planned Obsolescence

The closing reception for artist Bill Amundson's Colorado Landscape II: Suburban Graffiti is more final than usual. For several weeks, Amundson has been creating Landscape — a sprawling work that combines illustrations with ambient audio and text representations of random remarks — on the walls of the Philip J. Steele Gallery, and after this evening's soiree, the mural will be painted over. "People have said, 'How can you do that?'" Amundson concedes. "But it's an ephemeral graffiti kind of thing, and the phrases I put up are of the moment. If it had to be permanent, I'd have to think of how the phrases would weather, and that would take a lot of the fun out of it."

The piece offers plenty of entertainment value. Although most landscape shows in these parts focus on mountains and bucolic depictions of wildlife, Amundson notes that "for every elk I see, there are at least fifty Fazoli's." For that reason, his view of the area, largely created with Sharpies, features zones devoted to Starbucks, box stores and "awning" restaurants like Chili's. These items are accompanied by comments he's stumbled upon of late — everything from "I poured it out when I heard it was his home brew" to "You'll get a Best of Westword out of that one, easy."

That remains to be seen…

Tonight's free reception begins at 6 p.m. at the Steele Gallery, located at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, 1600 Pierce Street in Lakewood. For more information, call 303-225-8575 or visit

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts