Yesterday 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.