Brief reviews of current shows.

 A Visual Voice. Though not a full-blown retrospective, A Visual Voice: The Language of Herbert Bayer is a significant exhibit. Bayer, one of one of the most important artists who ever lived and worked in the state, was first a student and then a master at the Bauhaus, the early-twentieth-century art school that was closed by the Nazis. After fleeing the Holocaust, Bayer eventually settled in Aspen, where he became a key figure in the town's rebirth, designing the Aspen Institute and its related facilities. The exhibit focuses on Bayer's Colorado period, but there are also pieces dating back to his days in Germany. Lisa Spivak, director of the Steele, put together A Visual Voice with loans from the Bayer family, Hugo Anderson's Emil Nelson Gallery and Denver collectors Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III. In addition to the vintage works, a new sculpture based on an old maquette is displayed on the campus green outside the gallery. Through October 1 at the Philip J. Steele Gallery at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, 1600 Pierce Street, Lakewood, 303-753-6046.

Andy Warhol's Dream America. Hot on the heels of its smash hit, Chihuly, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is presenting yet another blockbuster devoted to the work of a household name in contemporary art: Andy Warhol's Dream America. The exhibition was curated by Ben Mitchell of Wyoming's Nicolaysen Museum. The more than 100 prints -- on loan from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation -- survey the pop pioneer's career from the late '60s to 1986, the year before he died. There are many iconic Warhol images included, such as his depictions of soup cans, shoes, Marilyn, Jackie and Mao. More than any other pop artist of his generation, Warhol anticipated the art of today by working not only in traditional media, such as the prints in this show, but also in film and performance. As an added bonus, the CSFAC is also presenting Ron Brasch Collection of Contemporary Art, which includes prints, paintings and sculptures by some of the biggest names in art of the past fifty years. Brasch through October 16, Warhol through December 31 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5581.

2005 Biennial BLOW OUT. This is the third in a series of biennials presented at Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art. In the past, participation in these biennials was limited to artists from around here; for the 2005 version, it's been expanded to include artists working in most of the Western states. Despite this, artists from Colorado still dominate the show: Six of the ten chosen by celebrity juror Kenny Schachter live in our state. These six, most from Denver, are Louisa Armbrust, who's exhibiting digital drawings; Patti Hallock, color photos; Susan Meyer, a wood-and-metal installation; Jason Patz, color digital lightjet prints; David Sharpe, pinhole photos; and Jeff Starr, painted ceramic sculptures. Sherlock Terry from New Mexico is showing lenticular photos. The other three, all from Arizona, are: Angela Ellsworth, embroidered paper napkins; Denis Gillingwater, installation with closed-circuit TV; and Jessica James Lansdon, a mixed-media installation in contact paper and yarn. Controversies aside, the show looks great. Through September 25 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. 1275 19th Street, 303-298-7554. Reviewed July 14.

Full and PLANNING.ABSTRACT. Denver painter Bruce Price is clearly Colorado's preeminent post-minimalist, as proved by the recent batch of fabulous creations in FULL: New Paintings by Bruce Price. These paintings, though clearly a continuation of Price's past efforts, are also completely new-looking and very different conceptually. A protegé of the great Clark Richert, Price has taken his mentor's concepts and turned them inside out. In the past few years, for instance, Price has become intensely interested in theories about decoration and ornamentation, things that Richert is pointedly not interested in. Seizing on the potential of decoration to convey pictorial content, Price lays one pattern next to another so that they seem to collide or overlap. And though Price's patterns sometimes look flat, at other times they seem to be covering three-dimensional space, giving his paintings a strange, if compelling, visual effect. Price's FULL is being presented with PLANNING.ABSTRACT: New Paintings by Jared Latimer. These abstracts concern the idea of conflict, combining organic passages with geometric elements. Through October 8 at + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927.

Revealing the Muse and Colorado Innovators. Hugh Grant, founder and director of the Kirkland Museum on Capitol Hill, curated both Revealing the Muse and Colorado Innovators both at the Lakewood Heritage Center using pieces borrowed from his institution's permanent collection. The Kirkland Museum has an impressive assemblage that includes paintings by Kirkland himself, work by other Colorado artists and an extensive group of decorative arts. Colorado Innovators provides a survey of mid-twentieth-century artists working in Denver. Most of the objects included have either never been exhibited or haven't been seen in living memory. Revealing the Muse is a Vance Kirkland retrospective that begins with his work from the 1930s and ends with pieces done right before his death in 1981. I think it could be argued that surrealism was Kirkland's most important influence, and one of his most important innovations was the mixing of oil paint and water poured onto the surfaces of his pieces. Beginning in the 1950s, this mixture led to some of his greatest paintings ever. Through February 10 at the Radius Gallery, Lakewood Heritage Center, 801 South Yarrow Street, Lakewood, 303-987-7850. Reviewed September 8.

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