By Show and Tell
By Bree Davies
By Bree Davies
By Cory Casciato
By Emilie Johnson
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davis
By Josiah M. Hesse
Colorado & the West. This is the tenth summer in a row that David Cook Fine Art, the state's premier purveyor of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century material, has presented a group show dedicated to historic Western art. This year's version is anchored by more than two dozen oil paintings and watercolors by Charles Partridge Adams. Active at the turn of the nineteenth century, Adams was the state's most important impressionist; his specialty was light-filled landscapes. The exhibit also includes a number of artists associated with the long-defunct Broadmoor Academy in Colorado Springs, such as Robert Reid, Charles Bunnell and Birger Sandzén. There is also a group of watercolors by Vance Kirkland, whose work is rarely offered for sale, and by Allen Tupper True, whose works are even rarer. These impressive Colorado selections have been supplemented by a nice array of New Mexico pieces by artists such as Howard Cook, Pansy Stockton and Doel Reed. Needless to say, the don't-miss show is a glorious salute to the region's rich artistic heritage. Through June 30 at David Cook Fine Art, 1637 Wazee Street, 303-623-8181, www.davidcookfineart.com.
Herbert Bayer. There's no argument that Herbert Bayer, who lived in Aspen for decades, is the most important artist in Colorado history. He was internationally famous when he moved here, having been associated with the Bauhaus in Germany before World War II. And in line with the philosophy promoted by that utopian school, he embraced a wide range of artistic mediums, including graphic design, architecture, painting, printmaking and textiles; he also invented earth art. This exhibit includes paintings and works on paper, but it is Bayer's sensational tapestries that dominate the show because of their size, their graphic boldness and their strong colors. In truth, everything else recedes into the background in deference to them. The tapestries, done in the 1960s and '70s, reveal that Bayer wasn't just a master of the simple yet visually rich composition; he was also king of color. Through June 19 at Z Art Department, 1136 Speer Boulevard, 303-623-8432.
La Malagua. Maruca Salazar, the still new-ish director of the Museo de las Américas, was born in Mexico but has been a part of the Colorado art scene for decades. For her first show at the institution, Salazar has sampled the work of a group of artists from Puerto Vallarta called El Colectivo Malagua — the jellyfish collective — who have made works riffing off the iconography of the Lotería game. Lotería, which is played throughout Mexico, is similar to bingo, but cards — the appearance of which are reminiscent of tarot cards — are used instead of numbered balls. The 54 cards are drawn, and their names are called out. Players then mark the corresponding spots on their boards with a rock or bean. El Colectivo Malagua is made up of artists Yesika Felix, Sergio Martinez, Fernando Sanchez, Miguel Perez and Ireri Topete, who have created their own versions of the cards and added one: a jellyfish. Salazar has supplemented the effort with the work of two Colorado artists, Carlos Frésquez and Belen Escalante, who also created their own works in response to the Lotería. Through June 6 at the Museo de las Américas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, 303-571-4401, www.museo.org. Reviewed May 13.
Moore in the Gardens. Henry Moore, who died in 1986, was Great Britain's most important modern sculptor. Born in 1898, he began to create artwork shortly after World War I, becoming internationally famous by the 1930s. Moore was one of a legion of important artists who responded to Picasso's surrealism, but he made the style his own. This traveling exhibit, sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation, has been installed on the grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens, with two pieces at the DBG annex at Chatfield (8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton). The main part of the exhibit begins in the Boettcher Memorial Center, where a collection of the artist's tools and maquettes are crowded into showcases, and where a single work has been installed in a fountain. Most of the other pieces have been displayed around the gardens; get a map so you'll be sure to find them all. The monumental works, typically in bronze, look absolutely perfect in the landscaped settings, and that makes sense, since Moore himself was a serious gardener. Too bad the DBG can't keep them. Through January 31 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3500, www.botanicgardens.org.
Shape & Spirit. This wonderful selection of antique bamboo articles is the first show in the newly unveiled Walter and Mona Lutz Gallery on the fifth floor of the Denver Art Museum's Ponti building. Walter and Mona Lutz, for whom the gallery is named, began collecting bamboo from throughout Japan, where they lived; in the 1960s, they expanded their collecting to include bamboo pieces from the rest of Asia. The couple collected ahead of the curve, allowing them to find exquisite things in a wide range of categories. There are baskets, of course, which is what most people might think of when the idea of objects made of bamboo comes up, but there are also sculptures and lanterns, fans and brush-pots, trays and tea-ceremony utensils, among a wide range of both decorative and utilitarian objects. For Shape & Spirit, curator Ron Otsuka selected 200 items from the Lutz collection, which have been given to the DAM. And he has intelligently and beautifully installed them in minimalist-designed showcases made especially for the new gallery. Through September 19 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-866-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org.