Reader: Your list of the best moments in Denver arts was the worst

lauri.jpg
Lauri Lynxxe Murphy
It's the end of the year, which means that Westword scribes are busy compiling lists of the good, the bad and the ugly of 2011...sometimes the very ugly. If we were working on a list of the worst art moments of 2010, it would certainly include the fact that arts entrepreneur/enthusiast/conscience Lauri Lynxxe Murphy left town for graduate school.

But Murphy, who was in our first class of MasterMinds, is still keeping an eye on the scene from Ohio, and she did not appreciate the list of "The ten best moment in Denver arts: 2011" that Jef Otte posted yesterday. In response, she writes:

This list just makes me sad. Westword's been too good of an arts supporter to be creating a list about the "11 best moments in Denver arts" that is so devoid of...art. When I think of how many artists and organizations work so hard to create amazing experiences for audiences in Denver, then it makes me want to wretch to think that one of these valued spots on this list was taken up by teenagers having sex at Ikea. I mean, seriously? If you want to promote the idea that Denver is some cultureless backwater, then by all means -- celebrate competitive grape-eating. But I know there's enough talent there to make TEN lists like this every year, so someone clue this writer in to the wealth of Denver culture before next year's list! (Or, here's a thought -- just name the list something else and DON'T mislead people that it's about the arts!)

But rather than rename that list -- it did say "arts," which we use as a label for all the cultural activities in this town, and yes, we define "culture" very loosely -- we're working on our companion list of the ten best moments in Denver art in 2011. Have a nomination? Put it below. And here's a hint, Lauri: If you'd just return to Denver, that would easily make our best list!

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12 comments
Stealth2
Stealth2

"Boy, I wish I could be like you guys and be the arbiter of what constitutes "culture," but I'm not."

HUH???? Um, didn't you JUST write an entire article about the top cultural events in Denver in 2011? Unless someone else on the staff told you what to select, YOUR choices make YOU an arbiter of what constitutes culture in Denver. Wow, do you even bother to read or remember what you write? Apparently even you find your writing not worth committing to memory.

"But the fact is, people were excited about IKEA -- like,weirdly excited…There wasn't a single media outlet in town that didn't devote aridiculous amount of coverage to IKEA, and there was a reason for that: Peopleate it up.”

So what? So people were excited about a new store opening,the first in the area. Great. That’s called “popularity”, not “art” (which yourpiece purported to examine). I’ll even concede that it was a “cultural event”.Still doesn’t make it “art”, even with two people fucking in the parking lot.So was your piece about popularity, culture or art? Pick a lane.

 “Culture is what it is.”

Yeah, I think it might help if you look up the definition of the word “culture” and then “art” and get back to us. As it is, you’re embarrassing yourself and Westword with this idiotic defense.

“I'm glad you've got a handle on what is and isn't art. I'm sure the members of the scholarly community who have devoted their life's work to that question will be thrilled to know it's finally answered. Can you enlighten us?”

I shouldn’t have to “enlighten” anyone who owns a dictionary. As for the scholarly community, go ask them what they think of the “answers” you gave the world.

Pssst. There’s a new WalMart opening in the Pikes Peak area in late 2012. I’m sure you’ll covering that cultural event too, right?

Sarah Baie
Sarah Baie

Jef, you raced a fucking pigeon on a bicycle. A pigeon whose day job is to be part of an art exhibition at MCA Denver. How this did not make your list, I will never know. But, if I had to guess, I suspect it is because in the race you were bested by a girl in a chicken suit, who beat you to the museum by about 5 full minutes (during which time she sipped a beer, placed a leisurely call to her mom, and ordered some crew neck sweaters from thegap.com). Then your panting self came staggering up the three flights of stairs to lose the race to her. Or, at least that's what I remember.

You still beat the pigeon though, so you can hold your head high.

My vote. Jon Rubin's Thinking About Flying at the Museum of Contemporary Art. And I could name 9 other things I liked better than teenagers copulating to the sounds of an IKEA opening. I agree with you about Smashputt though. That was awesome.

Stealth2
Stealth2

Wow, I have no inkling who Lauri Lynxxe Murphy was or is, but she's already one of the most intelligent people I have (almost) met since I moved here. Couldn't agree more with her. That list was pretty much an insult to Denver and any one working here to create REAL art. Some local artist works their ass off to curate a show or put together an original play and they get trumped by some guy who shoved a bunch of grapes in his mouth? I'm starting to not wonder why Ms. Murphy left town, rather than stay here, to attend grad school. Why bother staying somewhere where your efforts are not appreciated?

But if it's any consolation, Mr. Ott, your article was "awesome" and "epic" and all of those cool, edgy, hip things. But as a review of the Denver "art" scene, even with as broad a definition as you give it, it was a...what's the word?...oh, yes..."fail".

Jimi99
Jimi99

Jef Otte is another little postmodern provocateur posing as a journalist.  And when I say little, I don't mean his physical stature, of which I am ignorant. 

Jef Otte
Jef Otte

Oh snap, Sarah Baie, so it's come to this, although I'd question your claim that the cheater/coward Erin Roberts placed a call to her mother during the race as I'm guessing it would have been hard to hear her over the SOUND OF HER MOPED YOU HEAR ME ERIN ROBERTS YOU ARE A CHEATER. At any rate, yeah, I think you're right, that probably should have been on there. All the same, I don't know if you guys remember, but the opening of IKEA here was culturally a big fucking deal -- a way bigger deal than it warranted, but a big deal nonetheless -- and I'd still argue some mention of it deserved to be on the list.

Lauri Lynnxe Murphy
Lauri Lynnxe Murphy

True, Sarah, Smashputt was epic!  And the pigeons rocked.  And a million other things that I wasn't even HERE to see, but spent the entire year sad to be missing.  

Jef Otte
Jef Otte

"Postmodern provocateur posing as a journalist." That's good. I may put that on my next batch of business cards.

Lauri Lynnxe Murphy
Lauri Lynnxe Murphy

Oh come ON, corporate big box openings are CULTURE?!  Sad, Jef.  That is just sad.  Did they pay you to say that?

Stealth2
Stealth2

"All the same, I don't know if you guys remember, but the opening of IKEA here was culturally a big fucking deal"

No, no, no, nope, uh-uh, no. The actual store opening was a big fucking act of commerce, of commercialism, not "culturally a big fucking deal". If you want to talk about the DESIGN of the store as "art" (as your list purported to discuss), fine. But a bunch of people standing in line to buy a "furglestung" or whatever they call a spatula is not "culturally a big fucking deal". Convince us that the opening of Ikea has changed the culture landscape of Denver (without your weak attempts at snarky humor) and I'll concede. Actually, if Denver WAS affected culturally by the opening of an Ikea, I'll probably start feeling sorry for Denver.

But, whatever. Westword can publish what they want under the banner of "art" regardless of how it misleads their reading public. But seriously, if you or your editors don't know the difference between "art" and "culture" (and they aren't unseparable twins), even if it is for the sake of irreverence or  - ahem - humor, then maybe Westword should leave art discussions to someone who does.

Jimi99
Jimi99

Thank you.  I thought the alliteration was a nice touch.

Jimi99
Jimi99

It is and has always been "I know what I like".  One person's kitsch is another's sacred iconography.  There is a posting on Facebook regarding the IKEA sign, asking what the font is and how many points. So the sign itself is art, at least among font geeks. 

(I believe George Carlin would consider "consumer culture" an oxymoron,)

Jef Otte
Jef Otte

Boy, I wish I could be like you guys and be the arbiter of what constitutes "culture," but I'm not. Culture is what people are talking about, what they're doing, what they're interested in -- and believe me, I'm not always thrilled about what that is, either. But the fact is, people were excited about IKEA -- like, weirdly excited. For proof, I invite you to check out this post on Latest Word about the IKEA opening (http://blogs.westword.com/late... ) and consider that close to 300 people were excited enough about this not only to read it, but to share it with their Facebook friends. At the time it was published, it was one of the most read posts on that blog. There wasn't a single media outlet in town that didn't devote a ridiculous amount of coverage to IKEA, and there was a reason for that: People ate it up. Culture is what it is. My job is not to decide it, it's to report on it.

But Stealth, I'm glad you've got a handle on what is and isn't art. I'm sure the members of the scholarly community who have devoted their life's work to that question will be thrilled to know it's finally answered. Can you enlighten us?

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