Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 1, Winter 2009, pp. 000-000
Landscapes of Colorado: Mountains and Plains, with a historical overview by Ann Scarlett Daley, the book's curator, and text by Michael Paglia, is a handsome survey of contemporary landscape painters and photographers working in the state. One could argue with a choice here and there. For example, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, European installation artists who have lived in New York since 1964 and created just one major work for Colorado in 1972, Valley Curtain, Grand Hogback, with one more in the planning stages for 2011, are said to have "a long commitment to Colorado." Though their work is seminal, one may wonder whether they have a greater commitment to Colorado than to any other place they have worked. Also, several of the fifty artists included seem less accomplished than the majority; however, the book does offer a broad snapshot of landscape artists today, leaving judgments about quality to the reader.
The book is organized alphabetically, not by region, style, or medium, which, when one considers the large number of artists represented, makes the most sense. In her opening essay, Daley does address the distinct geography of Colorado and discusses historical painters and photographers, dividing them by regions of interest-Longs Peak and Estes Park, Mount of the Holy Cross, Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs, Mount Evans and Denver-which reflect primarily the foothills and mountains. The fact that most artists cited in the book, past and present, seem to concentrate on the mountainous western half of the state is hardly a negative but simply a reality; this book covers Plains to the extent that artists of Colorado depict the Plains: minimally.