Inspiring Impressionism. This is hardly your run-of-the-mill effort in which a cavalcade of big-name European artists are represented by minor works. Instead, it's an intellectually stimulating exhibit crowded with iconic pieces by some of the most significant artists who ever took brush to canvas. Curated by the DAM's Timothy Standring and London's Ann Dumas, the traveling show examines the little-explored relationship between the Impressionists and the Old Masters. The intelligent installation has been handled so that viewers are literally forced to recognize the relationships Standring and Dumas have laid out among several sets of separate pieces of widely different dates and from various points of origin. These comparisons lead viewers to make insightful observations because their conclusions have been built in to the installation itself — not through wall text, but through the paintings and drawings alone. There are a lot of important pieces, including in-depth selections of Cézanne, Monet, Renoir and others. Through May 25 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000. Reviewed February 21.
Star Power. To celebrate the opening of the new Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver by architect David Adjaye, director Cydney Payton organized several solo shows collectively titled Star Power: Museum as Body Electric. The festivities begin on the lower level in The Whole Room with Candice Breitz's "Legend," a grid of video screens showing Jamaicans singing Bob Marley songs. In the first-floor Photography Gallery are collages by Collier Schorr that explore a cute teenage boy with poses modeled on female figures depicted in Andrew Wyeth's paintings. In the second-floor Paper Works Gallery is an exhibition of crude, expressionist watercolors of female nudes by Chris Ofili who, like Adjaye, is an African-born artist living in the United Kingdom. In the Promenade is an odd and vaguely amateurish installation by Wangechi Mutu that includes bottles of milk and strapping tape. Finally, in the Large Works Gallery is an untitled if eye-dazzling installation of mirrors and mirror-clad figures by David Altmejd. Through March 2 at the MCA/D, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554.