Cinco de Mayo at the Robischon Gallery

Yours truly attended Wednesday’s opening reception at the Robischon on Wazee for DAM Contemporaries’ Summer Salon series. The galleries were overflowing with revelers, the wines were exquisite, and the gourmet nibbles, particularly the expertly disguised tempeh-circulars in piping hot marinara, were well worth several trips to the buffet table. Denver style being what it is, I was the best-dressed man there, at least from the socks down, in my LL Bean Indigo Aspens.

As for the art, since all of it was contemporary, most of the work on display was quite bad. The paintings managed to be undistinguished; the photogs, however, were memorable, even if for less than stellar reasons.

Best of the lot was Bill Armstrong’s Blue Sphere series, a quartet of soft/cool C-prints influenced by Kandinsky’s “spiritual color theory,” according to Mr. Armstrong’s notes. David Sharpe’s trio of pinhole blow-ups Eastern Phenomena also gave the eyes and the mind something to dwell on. These wide-screen canvases (42 x 63 in.) were, naturally, dimmed around the perimeters, lending his panoramas of East Colorado landscapes (migrant workers facing the viewer in one, unattended parasols by a lake in another) an uncertain sensation of peering through slowly focusing binoculars.

And the worst? Hands down, Li Wei’s paean to the global fixation on “stupide,” a set of self-portraits in which the artist depicts himself being decapitated in various ways. China, I think, is pretty much dead at this point, vis-à-vis the visual arts, as anyone who read my ACAF ’08 write-up won’t be surprised to learn.

Still, despite the lack of anything Mexican, ‘twas a nice whiling away of a twilit Cinco de Mayo. — NPT

May 7, 2010

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