Dialog:City – arts in Denver for the DNC

Denver is getting ready for the Democratic National Convention – and the city’s artists and galleries are hoping to get some exposure along the way. An article by Kirk Johnson in the New York Times today speaks to the broader ambitions and styles that are in place, especially as expressed by public art, including Lawrence Argent’s Big Blue Bear (“I see what you mean”) in front of the convention center and the Donald Lipski horse on a chair (“The Yearling”) by the Denver Art Museum, as well as architecture such as the Libeskind addition to the DAM and the (more compelling if less flashy) David Adjaye building for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

The gist of the article is that this city is willing to be less serious and more playful in the approach to public spaces. It’s always tough to pigeonhole a community into a single perspective, but it is certainly true that, as Jim Green points out in the article, Denver, at it’s best, combines “sophistication and informality.”

The most ambitious initiative in the whole DNC mix is Dialog:City, which involves nine internationally known artists – it’s been criticized (probably with some merit) for not including enough local talent, but it will be exciting to see how it all comes out. JHH and I are planning to attend the premiere of Terra Nova, DJ Spooky’s mashup/multimedia performance at the Ellie Caulkin’s Opera House on Sunday. Other than that, we’re mostly planning to keep our options open all week. Lots of walking around, a tourist in our own town.

The kickoff for the Dialog:City events is at Robischon Gallery tonight (Thursday, the 21st). Jim has done his part to include local artists, including Jill Hadley Hooper and 15 others, for a related show called My Yard Our Message in conjunction with the Walker Art Center’s Unconvention program. The works will be moving to Minneapolis for the Republican’s upcoming Dog and Pony show. Here’s Jill’s addition to the mix – it’s a consideration of the topic of Animal Rights called “Free Range?”.

Of course, not all work in Denver these days has to be either political or overtly humorous. We’re opening a show this friday at Ironton Studios (called Internal Combustion) featuring large scale drawing by Bill Stockman. These drawings (some are 10 feet tall) are all about gesture. Though they also have a certain amount of informal sophistication too.

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