One revelation of the CVA show is the varied work of Merritt Johnson, which I'd never seen before. Johnson is given the entire window space in the front. Her work includes some very cool, very contemporary abstract paintings, along with striking costumes that serve as sculptures. The most show-stopping of her pieces is "Waterfall Face (Emergency Mantle for Diplomatic Security and Near Invisibility)," which features a draped and beaded headdress with a collar made of real bird wings.

Thanks to the CVA's series of small galleries, each artist in Cross Currents has essentially been given a small, clearly defined solo. The other artists are Cannupahanska, Frank Buffalo Hyde, Sarah Ortegon, Wendy Red Star and Sarah Sense.

“Canopy: Leger,” by Marie Watt, wood and blankets.
“Canopy: Leger,” by Marie Watt, wood and blankets.

Location Info

Map

William Havu Gallery

1040 Cherokee St.
Denver, CO 80204

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Denver

Center for Visual Art/MSU

965 Santa Fe Drive
Denver, CO 80204

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Denver

Details

Through February 22, at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, williamhavugallery.com.Through February 8, at the MSU Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-5207, msudenver.edu/cva.

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I'd like to close with a swipe. I've complained plenty about how dumb the programming at the History Colorado Center is. But until now, passersby on Broadway, Lincoln or 12th Avenue could hardly have known what I was talking about. After all, the building itself, by David Tryba, is very sharp-looking. But a couple of weeks ago, the bad ideas inside bled out the doors. Someone there apparently thought it would be a good idea to drape the two monumental bronze sculptures outside — T.D. Kelsey's "Bison" and Veryl Goodnight's "A New Beginning" — in giant Broncos jerseys. Neither sculpture is to my taste, as both are examples of contemporary neo-traditionalism, but dressing them up strikes me as a lame attempt to relate to the "common man." What it really does, though, is degrade the sculptures as well as the museum's overall appearance.

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