Evan. For the first show at Capsule on Santa Fe, director Lauri Lynnxe Murphy chose to feature the work of her old friend and fellow ILK co-op founder, Evan Colbert. Not all of the pieces in the wonderful solo are new; a few were done years ago, when Colbert had his studio in this same building, which ILK occupied. This makes Colbert the perfect choice and a sentimental favorite for Capsule's debut. Colbert, who appears courtesy of + Zeile/Judish, has explored conceptualism over the past several years by combining minimalism with pop art, most notably in his well-known and widely heralded "paint chip" paintings, which pair a square of color with an evocative word. Though Evan does not include any of these, the pieces that are in the show clearly represent outgrowths of them. One of the standouts is a perfect example: a multi-part painting of Target's logo on a series of tondos. Another that relates back to Colbert's paint chips is called "A few of my favorite things," which combines words such as "food" with fields of warm colors, including orange and red. It's a very smart show. Through May 1 at Capsule, 554 Santa Fe Drive, 303-623-3460.
IGOR MOUKHIN. Camera Obscura Gallery is presenting an impressive solo, IGOR MOUKHIN: Contemporary Russian Photography, which examines the work of one of the former Soviet Union's most famous contemporary photographers. Moukhin gained prominence in the 1980s as part of a generation of underground artists who emerged in Moscow during the final years of Soviet rule. One series, started at that time, recorded crumbling Soviet monuments, while another comprised portraits of Russian artists, including those who fled to the West. There's no question, however, that the photographer's candid street shots, done both in his home town and in Paris, are what established his international reputation. The show at Camera Obscura includes many of his most famous images, including several of those street photos. Interestingly, this offering is one of two Moukhin exhibits being presented locally; the other is at the Hatton Gallery on the Colorado State University campus, where Moukhin is a visiting artist this term. Through May 2 at Camera Obscura Gallery, 1309 Bannock Street, 303-623-4059.
Kinetic and Robot Show. The spacious if grungy Andenken Gallery (2110 Market Street, 303-292-3281) near Coors Field is the perfect setting for the fourth annual Kinetic and Robot Show put together by director Hyland Mather. The pieces included by Mather vary so widely in style and medium, and the show is so crowded, that it only makes sense to look at it as separate fragments rather than a single entity. The first of these threads is made up of motorized sculptures, including machine art by Motomen members Joe Riché and Zach Smith. In addition, there are credible contraptions by promising newcomer Paul Norton. (This is the kind of thing that dominated the three previous versions of this show.) The second thread takes up abstract paintings by Kelly Newcomer and Richel Martinez that barely relate to the rest of the inclusions. The third is an installation of engaging, bouncing balloon sculptures by Harry Walters and Paola Ochoa. And the last, but definitely not the least, is a single formalist piece by Robert Mangold, the dean of Denver sculpture. Despite being uneven and incoherent, the Kinetic and Robot Show is somehow pretty enjoyable. Through April 30 at Andenken Gallery, 2110 Market Street, 303-292-3281. Reviewed April 15.
Jules Olitski: Half a Life's Work. The Singer Gallery at the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture is presenting an important show, Jules Olitski: Half a Life's Work: Selected Paintings 1972-2002. Guest-curator William Biety, director of the Sandy Carson Gallery, organized the exhibit and was able to get the paintings in it straight from the artist, as the two are longtime friends. Born in Russia in 1922, Olitski gained fame in the 1950s and '60s with ultra-hip color-field paintings created by staining and spraying the canvases. These paintings made him one of the key post-painterly artists of that time. But the Singer show picks up the story in the '70s (hence the reference to half a life's work in the title), when Olitski was moving away from stains and toward thick, heavy coats of paint mounded up in peaks of impasto. These paintings were often carried out in iridescent pigments developed especially for him. In the '90s, Olitski made the radical -- for a non-objective artist like him -- shift to landscape painting, but for the past couple of years, he has been returning to his roots with poured and stained paintings. Through June 2 at the Singer Gallery, 350 South Dahlia Street, 303-399-2660.
Over a Billion Served. The main winter exhibit at Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art is by Julie Segraves, executive director of Denver's Asian Art Coordinating Council, who brought together photos by eleven important conceptual artists now working in China. Conceptual photography is new in China, but so is photography itself, with the widespread availability of cameras dating back only to the 1980s. Segraves has divided the show into three parts: "Strangers in the Cities," which examines the effect of social change on the Chinese people; "Power Politics," which looks at the effect of the Chinese Communist Party; and "The McDonaldization of China," which is self-explanatory. This exhibit is absolutely awesome, and the photos in it are so unusual and so good that they will leave a lasting impression on anyone who sees them. Through May 9 at Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art, 1275 19th Street, 303-298-7554. Reviewed February 19.
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Robert Rauschenberg. Rule Gallery is currently featuring Robert Rauschenberg: Selected Prints, 1990-2001, a compelling show that highlights prints by this pop-art pioneer. Master printers from New York's Universal Limited Art Editions pulled all the Rauschenbergs here, and the artist has a longtime relationship with them. Though the prints in this exhibit date back only a decade or so, Rauschenberg's been associated with prominent print atelier Universal Limited for nearly half a century; he first met the studio's founder, Tatyana Grosman, in the late 1950s. Rauschenberg is known for using expressively altered photographic images laid over one another to create abstract compositions -- and evidence of his influence on generations of artists is ubiquitous. The Rule show samples three series by Rauschenberg: "Soviet/American Array," assemblages of photos taken in Russia and the United States; "Ground Rules," done in the unusual and archaic photogravure technique; and "Ruminations," which explores imagery of his own past. On Saturday, April 24, at 5 p.m., Bill Goldston, director of ULAE, will give a talk at the gallery about his friendship with Rauschenberg. Through May 8 at Rule Gallery, 111 Broadway, 303-777-9473.
3 Search and Converge in the Creative. The Sandy Carson Gallery is the flagship art venue in the Santa Fe Arts district. Its high-quality exhibitions are the reason why -- and the current offering is just the latest example. The impressive exhibit fills the gallery's entire multi-part space, with recent sculptures by Nancy Lovendahl filling the rooms up front. A prominent artist who lives in Snowmass, Lovendahl has long been part of the art scene. She works in ceramics, wood and cast paper, and her abstract pieces typically refer to nature. The photo-based digital images by Lorelei Schott from Boulder, which are displayed in a side gallery, also refer to nature, with the most compelling of the group being from her "Mothblur" series. The show concludes with a tightly focused series of abstract paintings by one of Denver's most noteworthy emerging artists, Jim White. Surprisingly, the essentially abstract-expressionist paintings of scribbled gray lines on an off-white field are based on the landscape -- just like everything else here. Through May 1 at the Sandy Carson Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585. Reviewed April 1.
True Grit and Louise Bourgeois. There are two significant shows at the Metro State Center for the Visual Arts, both of which explore the topic of women in the arts. The first is a traveling exhibit, True Grit: Seven Visionaries Before Feminism, which examines the work of a group of modernists who gained prominence in the 1950s and '60s. The seven artists, all of whom are world-famous, are Louise Nevelson, Jay DeFeo, Lee Bonticou, Nancy Grossman, Claire Falkenstein, Nancy Spero and Louise Bourgeois. Though all launched their careers before the rise of feminism, the movement has been very good for their ever-growing reputations; if their names are familiar today, it's because feminists in the art world have championed their work for decades. The second show is Louise Bourgeois: Selections From the Collection of Ginny Williams, a Bourgeois solo organized by CVA director Kathy Andrews. Denver collector Williams has one of the largest Bourgeois collections anywhere, and this is a rare opportunity to see some of it. Through April 24 at the Center for the Visual Arts, 1723 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207.