We all encounter borders in our lives -- points of friction set off by differences, be they cultural or psychological. But leave it to artists, who straddle such borders all the time, to illuminate them for us visually. While the prevailing metaphor floating throughout Borderlands, a new show opening today at the Metro State Center for the Visual Arts, 1734 Wazee Street, could be construed as a geographical one, it's really just a jumping-off point for themes both on and off the map. "The gallery has a long history of showing work by people from different cultures, and I was looking for a different way to address the issues of the Chicanos," says gallery director Kathy Andrews. But the show is far more all-encompassing; it includes works by nearly fifty artists -- some of them Latinos concerned with the concrete effects of growing up in the Southwest, along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Of those, Luis Jiménez -- the son of an immigrant sign-maker, who grew up in El Paso and eventually settled in an old schoolhouse in Hondo, New Mexico -- is certainly one of the most important. Recognized as a painter, sculptor, printmaker and fine draftsman whose powerful works are inseparable from his background, Jiménez will not only be present at the show's 7 p.m. reception on Thursday, September 11, but will also deliver two artist talks on Friday, September 12: one at 2 p.m. at the St. Francis Center on the Auraria campus, and the other at 7 p.m. back at the CVA. It's fitting that Jiménez should be a guest of honor in Denver: Among his contributions to the show is a twelve-by-twelve-foot acrylic study for Mustang, a 32-foot sculpture slated for installation at Denver International Airport.
Though that work -- a rearing wild horse originally planned as an outdoor welcome to landing planes -- has been held up by logistical setbacks and remains unrealized at this time, its subject, a sort of equine equivalent of the border mestizo, is an integral figure to both regional history and the idea behind Borderlands. "There wouldn't be a Denver if it weren't for those mustangs," observes Jiménez. The same might be said of the barbed wire that simultaneously separates and sows the culture of the Southwest.
Borderlands continues through October 18; call 303-294-5207 for information. -- Susan Froyd
Beadwork III sparkles with diversity
Stunning arrangements of vintage sequins, glass beads, seed beads and more are on display at Beadwork III: The Beaded Cloth, a juried traveling exhibit that opens today at Loveland Museum/Gallery and runs through October 21. "It's a phenomenal, beautiful show," says Jean Campbell, editor of Beadwork magazine and one of the jurors. "There is a real variety of imagery. And when you consider that all of these meticulous designs are done with beads, it's really visually stunning."
The works of eight Colorado artists are highlighted in Beadwork III, including Vicki Schroder's "Bead Soup Balancing Act," Connie Lehman's "Love Lily" and Dustin Wedekind's "Sleeping Beauty." Niwot's Fran Meneley even took home Best of Show honors for her piece, "Story I'm Leaving Behind, Story I'm Becoming."
"It's a show with a lot of texture, color and imagery," says Tom Katsimpalis, curator of interpretations at the Loveland Museum. "It's going to be a fantastic exhibit for us, because there are so many people in the area that enjoy doing beadwork." The museum is also showing Sequined Surfaces: Haitian Voudon Flags.
The Loveland Museum/Gallery is at 503 North Lincoln Avenue in Loveland; admission to both shows is free. For information, call 1-970-962-2410. -- Julie Dunn
Always Room for Aiello
One of the brightest new stars on Denver's gallery scene, Studio Aiello -- a former tar factory situated in an enormous building at 3563 Walnut Street among a forest of neighboring warehouses -- celebrates its first anniversary this month. That in itself is a minor milestone, but September also marks the anniversary of a dream in progress: The space, originally conceived by founders Tyler and Monica Petty Aiello to be much more than the forward-thinking gallery it's already become, is slowly evolving into the full-service artists' center they've envisioned all along. Though a proposed sculpture garden, a foundry, and glass- and ceramic-art facilities have yet to materialize, the Aiellos have made progress. Tonight from 6 to 11 p.m., they'll unveil the TarFactory Studio Annex, which features eight private studios and communal wood, metal and printmaking workshops, as well as a new gallery show that points straight ahead even as it takes a look back: Best of Show spotlights new works by the winners of last year's Grand Opening Group Show: New York video installation artist Leon Grodsky, painter Frank O'Neill, and large-scale sculptor Patricia Aaron.
Best continues through October 17, and then what? Oh, more shows. But Petty Aiello vows that the sculpture garden will be in place by the second anniversary. What a way to grow! Call 303-297-8166. -- Susan Froyd
Richard Weisman brings his work to Boulder
During the 1960s and '70s, Richard Weisman caroused and conversed with the likes of Max Ernst and Andy Warhol. This year, he released a coffee-table book that celebrates the era in all its primary-colored glory. Picasso to Pop: The Richard Weisman Collection is a journal of Weisman's life as a collector and contains 100 color illustrations of works from his private stash plus a series of interviews with artists. Weisman, who belongs to a dynasty of art collectors -- his mother, Marcia Simon Weisman, was a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; his father was the philanthropist and collector Frederick R. Weisman -- honed his gathering instinct at a young age and witnessed the development of the New York art scene firsthand.