Brief reviews of current shows

Place. For the past ten years, the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design has emerged as a local powerhouse, producing more than its fair share of emerging artists. Place: Fine Art Alumni Invitational highlights the work of some recent graduates. But good expectations not withstanding, there are problems with the show -- no theme, for example -- making it something of a disappointment. This is not to say that there aren't things worth seeing, because there are. Those little pigment puzzles by Karen McClanahan are pretty cool. The James Morgan taped paintings showed promise. The same goes for Robin McClure's charming line drawings done directly on the wall using strips of black adhesive vinyl instead of ink. Justin Simoni continues to riff off Andy Warhol in this group of impressive conceptual works. Morgan Barnes is always good, so it's no surprise to see his heavy-duty kinetic sculptures being among the true standouts. Ditto for Colin Livingston, with three of his marvelously deadpan neo-pop pieces included. Through June 10 at the Phillip J. Steele Gallery, Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, 1600 Pierce Street, 303-753-6046. Reviewed May 18.

see into liquid. This theme is centered on images of water. Occupying both the main floor and the mezzanine of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the secret to the exhibit's success is that it's a beautiful exhibit filled with beautiful things. There are marvelous drawings and prints, many elegant photos, and the three videos are fabulous -- and that's saying something. Director Cydney Payton came up with the idea for this show when she noticed that artists from all over the world were using water for inspiration. The most famous artist involved in the show is Robert Longo -- who is also the best represented -- but there are also other well-known names, including Catherine Opie and Richard Misrach. Rebecca Di Domenico is the only Colorado artist chosen, with most of the others hailing from either the east or west coast, or from different spots around the world. A show about water in landlocked Denver does have a geographic disconnect, but then again, who isn't familiar with the sea? Through May 28 at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, 1275 19th Street, 303-298-7554. Reviewed February 23.

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