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Capsule reviews of current exhibits

Jeff Starr. MCA director Cydney Payton has a long tradition of supporting regional artists, and though she erred in not including locals among the Star Power exhibits that opened the new building, she's making up for it with a promised series of solos dedicated to Colorado artists. The first features Jeff Starr, a painter and sculptor with a two-decade-plus-long career. His show is dominated by quirky, idiosyncratic paintings and includes a selection of even quirkier ceramic sculptures. The representational paintings fall into two distinct categories: those that are Hollywood-related, like the portrait of Lee Marvin, and others that are fantasy-based, like the village in the treetops. The ceramic sculptures ape kitsch knickknacks, which is even the case with the monumental bust of a young guy who used to work at Twist & Shout. There is also a fragment of his studio — furniture, books, clippings and study pieces — installed in the corner, giving viewers insight into Starr's sources. Through May 25 at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, Reviewed April 24.

Yu-Cheng Chou. On view in the Lu and Chris Law New Media Gallery on the first floor of the Museum of Contemporary Art is a video installation that represents this Chinese-born, Paris-based artist's first-ever museum show in America. Director Cydney Payton was an early proponent of the new Chinese art, and it was the MCA that hosted the area's first major show on the topic several years ago. Yu-Cheng's conceptual work in video and digital printing conveys the appeal of Chinese art because it's based on a hybrid of Eastern and Western sensibilities. In assembling and organizing Yu-Cheng Chou, Payton combated video's greatest shortcoming — that it is often boring — by taking a more-is-more approach to the installation, in which a lot is going on at the same time. The artist embraces a wide range of approaches, with some pieces referencing classic Chinese art and others coming out of Japanese-derived animation. But regardless of his sources, all have been created in an international context. Yu-Cheng Chou is a nice little show, and even if you're indifferent to video, it's still worth seeing. Through July 6 at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554. Reviewed March 6.

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