This feels like community week in the galleries, where simple and sometimes satirical Chicano art, treatises on women’s rights and the human rights of undocumented youth seeking citizenship, experiments in performance art and more are all waiting to challenge your mind and change your thinking. All you have to do is follow our advice. Here are five ways to meet art and issues head-on.
Tony Ortega, Time for Self-Reflection
Art Gym Denver, 1460 Leyden Street
April 19 through May 11
Opening reception: Thursday, April 19, 5 to 8 p.m.
What does a giant of Denver’s deeply rooted Chicano artist community do while on sabbatical? When Tony Ortega took his year off from teaching at Regis University, he went to work. Becoming a familiar face at the Art Gym, Ortega worked with Gregory Santos, who oversees the facility’s printmaking studio, to delve into the mechanics of silkscreening, lithography and etchings. Time for Self-Reflection is a chance for Ortega’s fans to see what’s new in his universe, along with the colorful scenes of Chicano life he’s been known for over nearly four decades. Incidentally, Ortega also traveled to Cuba with his wife, Sylvia Montero — and a camera. He’ll be discussing his trip with a talk on Thursday, May 3, at 6 p.m. at the Art Gym. Visit the Art Gym on Facebook for more related events.
Laura Phelps Rogers, Enchanted
Pirate Contemporary Art, 7130 West 16th Avenue, Lakewood
April 20 through May 6
Opening reception: Friday, April 20, 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Free, RSVP at Eventbrite
Laura Phelps Rogers once again reflects on how women are suppressed by domesticity with a new installation, Enchanted, which imbues the usual creature comforts of complacency with an unnatural sparkle. As a Pirate member, it’s her first show at the gallery’s Lakewood location, and she’ll share the space with associate member Judith Grey’s exhibit, Spinifex and Salty Trails.
Mia Mulvey, Ancients
Matt Christie, Subtle Body
Goodwin Fine Art, 1255 Delaware Street
April 20 through June 2
Opening reception: Friday, April 20, 6 to 8 p.m.
Goodwin pairs Mia Mulvey and Matt Christie for a two-person exhibit of works steeped in the natural world. Mulvey explicates the ancient lifelines of the world’s most ancient trees with delicate porcelain tree trunks and cyanotypes, while Christie paints transcendent moments experienced only in nature’s midst. “It’s not only that I am exploring nature, but that nature is exploring me,” says Christie in a statement.
Of the Moment
Leon Gallery, 1112 East 17th Avenue
April 21 through May 26
Esther Hernandez, Saturday, April 21, 7 to 10 p.m.
Lin Wen-Ben, Saturday, April 28, 7 to 10 p.m.
Jeff Page, Saturday, May 5, 7 to 10 p.m.
Jordan Knecht, Saturday, May 12, 7 to 10 p.m.
Tobias Fike and Matthew Harris, Saturday, May 26, 7 to 10 p.m.
Leon tests the waters as a newly nonprofit endeavor by providing space for an experimental five-week performance-art series showcasing some of Denver’s best proponents of the medium, who let it all hang out. Subjects jump from blind dates to the music of noise, absurd dueling matches and more, live in the moment. This is art that you can’t take home with you.
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Patty Ortiz, Work Won't Kill You: I Am Here
Present Box, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th Street, Boulder
April 24 through May 6
Artist, curator and retired arts administrator Patty Ortiz nows lives and works in Texas, but she has a history in Colorado, where she served as deputy director of the original Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver and executive director at the Museo de las Americas before moving on to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio. But she’s back for a short while, with Work Won’t Kill You: I Am Here, an ambitious video/installation/performance piece addressing the fears and uncertainties felt by DACA youth recipients in the wake of governmental threats to their dreams of putting down roots as American citizens. During the exhibition's stay in BMoCA’s Present Box space, eight dreamers will be on site daily, moving and caring for a battalion of live flowering plants; extracurricular events include a film, La Mar El Mar, at the Dairy Arts Center April 25 through 28, and a lively panel discussion with undocumented youth and human-rights advocates on May 2 at BMoCA. Visit BMoCA online for details.