Now Showing

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,

See "Aquasparktenticle," by Metro State alum Josiah Lopez, at the Center for Visual Art.
See "Aquasparktenticle," by Metro State alum Josiah Lopez, at the Center for Visual Art.

Yoshitomo Saito. This very elegant show is made up of Yoshitomo Saito's expertly done floor-bound sculptures as well as his wall-mounted bas-relief pieces and installations. The exhibit's subtitle — All God's Children Got Rhythm — is taken from a bebop tune associated with the late Stan Getz. It also refers to a large wall-mounted installation in the show that's made up of scores of individual bronze casts of plants arranged to form a circle from which a horizontal line emerges off one end. For the majority of these, Saito has taken twigs and branches and has twisted or woven them into various shapes to form the basis for his bronzes. Baskets and nets are referred to in some of these works, but the most powerful pieces are those from the artist's "Colorado Loop" series, in which tree branches have been bent into spirals. Though deceptively simple, these pieces have a tremendous dynamism, tension and visual power. Saito's bronze-casting skills are of the highest order, and his patinas in traditional brown and verdigris are likewise remarkable. Through August 28 at Rule Gallery, 227 Broadway, 303-777-9473, Reviewed August 12.

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