Month of Photography 2017: Eleven Not-to-Miss Shows

Robert Buelteman, “Field Flowers.”EXPAND
Robert Buelteman, “Field Flowers.”
Robert Buelteman, courtesy of Walker Fine Art

The 2017 edition of Denver’s biennial Month of Photography is a lot to swallow in a month — a good reason why MoP show openings are usually spread out over three of them. But don’t be daunted. There’s so much worth seeing in this community-wide effort, which this year loosely circles around the forward-thinking theme of “Between the Medium." And you don’t have to see it all in one night — because you can’t. So, in the words of the sage Funkadelic crew, free your mind and your ass will follow: Pace yourself and start with these events, listed in chronological order.

Ryan McGinley, “Dash (Manhattan Bridge),” C-print, 2000.EXPAND
Ryan McGinley, “Dash (Manhattan Bridge),” C-print, 2000.
Ryan McGinley, courtesy of MCA Denver

1. Ryan McGinley: The Kids Were Alright
Through August 20, 2017
MCA Denver

The Kids Were Alright is an eyeful, and alone well worth the price of admission to the MCA, but it also fits seamlessly into the history lessons told by a trio of spring shows piecing together the house that DIY built (including Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 and Roger Gastman’s Wall Writers). A massive, no-holds-barred documentation of the modern tribalism of photographer Ryan McGinley’s lower-Manhattan millennial milieu, Kids was curated in-house for MCA by Nora Burnett Abrams (as was Basquiat) and has received national recognition, a nice feather in the rogue museum’s cap.

Arwa Abouon, “I’m Sorry, I Forgive You” (detail), photograph/ diptych, 2012
Arwa Abouon, “I’m Sorry, I Forgive You” (detail), photograph/ diptych, 2012
Arwa Abouon, Courtesy of Center for Visual Art

2. Presence: Reflections on the Middle East
Center for Visual Art/MSU
Through April 8, 2017
Artist talk with Golnar Adili: 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 29

Presence comes together fully realized in a way few exhibitions ever do: Meticulously woven together by the curatorial team of Cecily Cullen, Natascha Seideneck and Leila Armstrong, it’s a poignant look at what it’s like, in the here and now, to be part of the Muslim world, with points of view spreading from within its borders and throughout the reach of its diaspora. Well-paced and heavy, with beautiful, topical, experimental and sometimes worrisome photo-based imagery, Presence works both as a pointedly cultural statement and simply as an exhibit of fine art.

Kari Treadwell, “Lemon Pudding.”EXPAND
Kari Treadwell, “Lemon Pudding.”
Kari Treadwell, courtesy of the Arvada Center

3. Double Exposure: An Exhibition of Photography and Video
Stop/Look/See: Photography by James Milmoe
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
Through March 26, 2017

As is commonly the case in the Arvada Center galleries, Double Exposure celebrates Colorado artists, thanks to the educated eye of native curator Collin Parson, who’s grown up around many of them. Thirteen homegrown artists show off different approaches to photographic and video imagery in the juried show, which juxtaposes familiar local names with some not-so-familiar newcomers. Stop/Look/See, on the other hand, is a one-man show with many outcomes. An homage to veteran Colorado photographer Jim Milmoe, a founding member of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center in its earliest guise, it’s a grab-bag tribute to his versatility and longevity. Learn more when Milmoe gives a free artist talk at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 11, and see more of his work in a solo show opening March 3 at Pattern Shop Studio in RiNo.

Chris Jordan, Drowned Laysan Albatross Fledgling # 2, Midway Island, 2010.EXPAND
Chris Jordan, Drowned Laysan Albatross Fledgling # 2, Midway Island, 2010.
Chris Jordan, courtesy of the Vicki Myhren Gallery

4. Storm Warning: Artists on Climate Change & the Environment
Vicki Myhren Gallery, University of Denver
March 9 through April 30, 2017
Opening reception: 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 9

Curator Jeffrey Keith and DU’s Myhren Gallery go topical and multimedia for Month of Photography — and Earth Day 2017 — with Storm Warning, artists' views of environmental issues that have become more relevant than ever in the current political climate. The exhibit’s scope, just in terms of mediums explored, is generous, offering everything from installations to Instagram feeds to tell its stories, and the photographic visuals — J. Henry Fair’s terrifying Industrial Scars series and Chris Jordan’s documentary images of the effects of human refuse on the natural world — pack a powerful message. On April 13, the gallery will host a symposium, "On Balance: Art, Science and Politics in the 21st Century," with lectures and panels from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., concluding with an artist talk by Fair.

Catherine Fairchild, “Portraits of Sticky Notes.”
Catherine Fairchild, “Portraits of Sticky Notes.”
Catherine Fairchild, courtesy of MoP

5. Between the Medium: Seeing Photographically
RedLine
March 10 through April 9, 2017
Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 11

Curator Mark Sink’s MoP centerpiece show at RedLine, Between the Medium: Seeing Photographically, takes off on new avenues in photography, where the basic medium crosses over into the less-explored realm of “photo-based” work. If you want to see what effects technology and new tools bring to the future of photography, this show will take you there. To complement the large group show, MoP and RedLine will host a lecture by photographic processes expert Mark Osterman of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 28, and an artist walk-through at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 9. All events are free.

Continue reading for six more not-to-miss MoP exhibits.



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