Hold The Front Page

imgresYesterday afternoon, I received a press release with the words “Breaking News” at the top of it. Had there been a huge explosion at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts? Were priceless works of French art stolen from the Denver Art Museum just days before the opening of the big Passport to Paris exhibition on Sunday?

No. It was a press release for an exhibition of glass art by Dale Chihuly that’s opening at the Denver Botanic Gardens next June.

Not only does this appear to be a fraudulent use of the term “Breaking News,” but it also worries me immensely that Coloradans might consider the opening of an exhibition by Chihuly to be something worth making a song and dance about — and nine months in advance, no less.

Now my quibble isn’t so much about Chihuly. Many people consider him to be a great artist and I’m not going to get into a debate about the merits of his work at this point,though I am hoping to interest him in appearing on a radio segment I’m developing at CPR entitled “Yes, But is It Art?” (The PR at the Botanic Gardens doubts that the artist will be interested in participating in this discussion, but says that Chihuly might well be up for “a regular preview interview.”)

The issue is to do with the provincial mentality that considers this to be news worth sharing in such an overblown way. Now some might say that Chihuly’s first exhibition outdoors in a Rocky Mountain setting is a sign of Colorado becoming more prominent on the national arts map. I would say that this isn’t the case. And making a fuss about it only makes us look more parochial.



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  1. MWnyc says

    Chloe, you’re right that “Breaking News” is overblown for an announcement like this.

    But did any Colorado media outlets actually treat the announcement of the Chihuly show at the Botanic Gardens as “Breaking News!!” ? Or did they treat the item more or less the way they’d treat the announcement of any large-scale visual art event several months in the future?

    If the latter (as I suspect was the case), then I don’t think you need worry over much about Coloradans appearing to be too provincial.

    As for the press release, certainly the headline is overblown, but this is hardly the first time a press release has overhyped its subject.

    • says

      And of course, as Chloe rifled through a zillion announcements on her desk, the breaking news of a glass exhibit might be a case of those tricky Coloradoans pulling a fast one on Chloe. I hope she hasn’t broken too much China with her comment. Anyway, some lively, critical press is just what they need to keep things colorful.

  2. R David Weaver says

    Chloe “chill-out” in this superficial, over-hyped, shallow, and pseudo-intellectual media driven world we live in Dale Chihuly’s work is the least of our concerns. The Denver Center was probably trying to get your age bracket distracted from their latest “smart-Device”. Also a little humor is needed whether Steve Martin discovering he too has a Michelangelo sculpture in his back yard (plastic bird bath), or a recent column where a Texas Football palace is justifying that they spent 10 million on a plastic (not hand-blown glass like Chihuly’s work) sculpture and an “expert” justifying that it is a better buy than a beautiful $300,000 painting by a Renaissance master.

    Much as the “Gilded Age” really wasn’t golden or pretense at culture is equally revolting.


    R. David Weaver
    St. Louis Missouri.

  3. John Hughes says

    To honor Nick Lowe: “I love the sound of breaking news!” Let’s agree that it’s common practice for any press release to be headed “breaking news”, and that there may have been a smiling pun implied in the glass connection here — so, no fault so far, I think. I see more problem in Ms. Veltman, who recently moved to Denver (and I’m glad she’s here, having read this blog for some time), having chosen that very loaded word “provincial”. The arts matter wherever they occur, and enthusiasm ought not automatically to be confused with a lack of sophistication to be expected in culturally impoverished hinterlands. And someone with a lovely plummy Brit accent, just here from tony Northern California, might not want to sound condescending to her new turf. Also, for the record, there was a Chihuly exhibit a few years ago in Colorado Springs, some of it outdoors, in an undeniably Rocky Mountain setting…

    • Chloe Veltman says

      Thanks for your comments.
      My bad: I should have done my research more carefully. The Botanic Gardens is touting this as the the artist’s first outdoor exhibition in the rockies. But maybe they meant ‘entirely outdoor’.

  4. Brian Young says

    Dear Ms. Veltman,

    I am intrigued by your upcoming segment, “Yes. But it is it art?” Your wish to include him in this segment would appear, to this reader, to be silly. Of course his work is “art”. Why do I assert this so strongly? Because I can’t think of anything else that that his work could be. Simply put Chihuly’s glass is the byproduct of a well-known artist. As such, it must be art.

    I might suggest you include someone else. Choose the designer of a Ferrari or a graffiti artist who isn’t Banksy. That might be of some additional interest. But implying that Chihuly’s art may not in fact be art will not put you or CPR in a favorable light. Even your hint at such a debate is a slight to the artist.