Visual Arts

The Five Ugliest Sculptures in Denver

I'm a big fan of public art, and Denver has commissioned some standout pieces over the years that really spiff up the city. But sometimes things go awry when politics and civic bureaucracy meet the art world. While some of the people who serve on selection committees may have artistic qualifications, many more do not. Nor are there qualifications for private entities that wants to erect a piece in a public space.

As the saying goes, "everyone's a critic." Unfortunately, this sentiment reveals how less seriously art is taken than are other aspects of building. Below, in no particular order, are works that have bugged me since I first encountered them -- not only because they are bad but because they represent lost opportunities for something better. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section below.

See also: Five Reasons Why It Would Be Stupid To Demolish Boettcher Concert Hall

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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