Hunt for psychedelic poster thieves leads Denver Police to... Englewood?

Categories: Art

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Museum officials are thinking of renaming this display, "The Meaningless Rectangular Void."

The slicing and theft of two hippie-era concert poster reprints from a temporary cloth wall in front of the Denver Art Museum two weeks ago wasn't quite the art crime of the century. But it certainly qualifies as a bad trip for patrons heading into the mind-bending Hamilton wing to check out Psychedelic Experience exhibit. One of the snatched Experience ads was a 1967 poster by artist Wes Wilson for a Moby Grape show at San Francisco's Winterland auditorium. But now, where art once rocked are gaping rectangular holes.

Total buzz kill, man!

Aging hippies, relax. A Denver Police detective has been assigned to the case -- and apparently the two suspects were so high on life they didn't notice the surveillance camera attached to the side of the museum.

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Moby Grape missing

The art museum wouldn't tell Westword if the surveillance camera was operated by the museum or the city, nor could they give us an estimate on the cost of the damage caused by the poster bandits since roof-repair scaffolding and "scrim" covering was erected and paid for by a contractor. They'll likely cover the holes with some extra scrim material until the scaffolding is taken down this fall.

Meanwhile, our request for the surveillance video was declined by police spokesperson Sharon Avendano; followup e-mails asking for general descriptions of the suspects have not been returned. So while there is no way for us to inform our ever-helpful readers if the miscreants are fifteen-years old or fifty-years old, male or female, we do know from a police incident report that on April 13 at 12:30 p.m., the video shows the duo "using a knife to cut the [posters] off the north side of the display," and that somebody then followed the suspects "to a light rail train at the Denver Convention Center." The suspects were last seen exiting the D line train at 899 W. Floyd Avenue in Englewood.

No doubt the posters are currently hanging above a bean-bag chair in some cloudy Englewood basement, where the giggling occupants dream of groovier times. Museum spokesperson Kristy Bassuener doesn't think theft is groovy, but she does think it's interesting that "forty years ago, people would pull the real posters off the wall and take them home."

So are the suspects shameless thieves of public art, or are they just keepin' the true spirit of rock 'n' roll poster art alive?

Man, all this thinking is totally killing my buzz.

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