Dale Chihuly meet Brent Green

Brent Green shortA friend of mine is a filmmaker and I’d like to crow about him a little. His name is Brent Green and I came to know him through the local filmmaker festival, The Pikes Peak Passion Film Festival.
Brent Green
Brent was from the East and settled in Colorado Springs for a while as he worked on his animated short films. He passed VHS copies through my mailbox with notes saying “please return asap this is my only copy.”

I was not impressed by the note and postponed having a look until he called me up and asked for them back. I told him I was having a public screening that night, did he want to join us? I felt my hand a little forced, but what the hell.

What the hell were my friends’ and my literal words when we saw Brent’s Susa’s Red Shoes. Amazing!

Brent featured prominently in the next two Passion Festivals and has since moved on to not surprisingly greener pastures. Grants, artists wanting to collaborate, shows in Chelsea galleries, a screening at the MOMA, a FilmMaker magazine profile, and a retrospective at UCLA. Brent’s third short Hadacol Christmas showed at Sundance this year. He told me it was incredible to watch a theater of 1000 people watch your film. I anticipated his fourth short to show at multiple festivals around the world, but Paulina Hollers has lapped the festival circuit. Its premier will be at the Getty. Yes. The Getty.

I’m relating this story, an indulgence obviously, not simply because it is invigorating and inspiring to me, but because of something I read recently in local art news. I read that our Fine Arts Center, The Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, has just announced that it has paid artist Dale Chihuly two millions dollars for yet more of his glass objects d’ crap. Their Chihuly show last year broke attendence records and they’d like to see more of that.

Dale Chihuly
Dale Chihuly makes giant glass tchotchkes which are just too ludicrous to behold, on pedestals even! He’s a performance artists too, chucking large glass balls into the sea (minus the traditional suspended fishing nets), as if it’s not industrial littering, and he hangs large bound glass droppings by iron exoskeletons over canals in Venice, a sight so superbly crass and dim-sighted. Then he can say his works have shown in Venice. Like Hasselhoff, big in Germany.

Christo, another single-named impresario, drapes landscapes but doesn’t pretend that the plastic wrap is the art in itself. He doesn’t sell pieces of it to provincial Fine Art Centers for two million dollars.

Dale Chihuly is an art director showoff who hires glass blowers to do his work and then sues them if they produce pieces of blown glass on their own. What? He’s copyrighted extruded glass? He’s trademarked giant hanging paperweights? This is fine art that someone thinks he’s patented. It’s a miserable waste of attention. And our city’s chief art center is wallowing in it.

My up and coming, once local, friend is at the Getty. We’re left with Chihuly.

Chihuly glass bottomed bottomA few years ago, our FAC was criticized for having sold off its choice Native American pieces in what appeared to have been an underhanded insider raid on its unmatched collection. We lost many irreplaceable pieces but the upside was that the FAC got some cash in exchange.
Now we see how they’re spending it. On Carnival glass. Do you remember why it was called Carnival Glass? Because it was all sparkly but wasn’t worth much. Carnival Glass was produced during the Great Depression when folk didn’t have much to spend. It was the poor man’s crystal. At least the price was right.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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