Dots, Blobs and Angels. Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting an enormous solo that is dedicated to the late David Rigsby, an artist who played a big part in the local art scene in the '70s and '80s. The exhibit was organized by director Cydney Payton, who installed it more or less chronologically, allowing Rigsby's stylistic development to shine throughout. The oldest works in the show are two oils on book covers done when Rigsby was a little boy; the newest were done right before he died in a car accident in 1993 -- some of these were done on book covers, too. In between, Rigsby created scores of abstract and figural paintings, as well as a body of remarkable sculptures made of wood and recycled rubber. The outlandish title, Dots, Blobs and Angels, refers to some of the things Rigsby depicted -- though much of what he sculptured during his forty-year-plus career defies description. Clearly, it's one of the hottest shows of the summer. Through September 19 at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, 1275 19th Street, 303-298-7554. Reviewed July 8.
Federico Castellon. Hugo Anderson, director of the Emil Nelson Gallery, has put together a riveting solo show devoted to the work of a prominent twentieth-century artist. Castellon was one of the few Americans who embraced European surrealism and worked in the style from the early 1930s -- when it was cutting-edge -- until 1971, the year he died, when it was an all-but-forgotten historical style. Castellon was born in Spain, but he moved to New York as a child and spent the rest of his life there. Though Castellon had no direct personal connection to surrealist masters such as Picasso, Miró or Dalí, who, incidentally, were also born in Spain, his work was influenced by them. This noteworthy show came together when Anderson acquired a cache of Castellons purchased directly from the collection of the artist's estate. The crowded exhibit includes examples of Castellon's paintings, watercolors, drawings and printmaking -- his greatest claim to art-history fame. Through September 25 at the Emil Nelson Gallery, 1307 Bannock Street, 303-534-0996.
FIBERish. Dozens of fiber shows were coordinated this summer to coincide with the Handweavers Guild of America meeting that was held here in July. Surely one of the most ambitious of these is the over-the-top FIBERish: Summer Fiber Arts Invitational, which is ensconced in the spacious Studio Aiello. The impressive exhibit explores the intersection of textiles and sculpture, meaning the works on display are hybrids of the two forms. The show, which leans heavily on what could be called a neo-funk aesthetic, was organized by gallery co-directors Tyler Aiello, who is himself a fiber artist, and his wife, Monica Petty Aiello, a painter. The Aiellos invited more than a dozen artists to participate. Most of those chosen live in Colorado, and the roster of local talent includes Rokko Aoyama, Viviane Le Courtois, Kim Ferrer, Tracy Krumm, Mary Pat La Mair, Abraham LaMark, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, Dismas Rotta and Laurie Smith, most of whom are not known for their fibers. Others are from across the country, like New Yorker Liz Whitney Quisgard, Californian Edie Tsong and Cero Atl of Kansas. Through August 13 at Studio Aiello, 3563 Walnut Street, 303-297-8166.
Ordinary Adornments and Mr. Sparkle. The +Zeile Judish Gallery is highlighting the recent work of a pair of young artists. In the front is Ordinary Adornments, which is made up of New York artist William Crow's wall-mounted constructions that look like surrealist still-life scenes, among other things. The shapes are organic, but the surfaces are a riot of created and appropriated visual flourishes carried out via various materials, including paint and wallpaper. Crow's compositions have a retro feel, and the forms he uses recall those favored by Jean Arp and Joan Miró. The show in the back, Mr Sparkle, takes its name from a Simpsons cartoon, and also reflects back on earlier modernism -- but in this case it's Andy Warhol and Kenneth Noland. Denver-area painter Colin Livingston creates smart and good-looking paintings that aesthetically are at the intersection of pop and minimalism. Livingston adds text to essentially hard-edged abstractions of the neo-minimalist sort. A pattern painting in green, black and white has the motto "The Original (Party Painting)" filling most of the bottom half. They are clever and conventionally beautiful at the same time. Through August 21 at + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927. Reviewed July 29.
Be Brave! a Night of Songs Honoring Brenda Worley Billings
TicketsTue., May. 10, 7:00pm
Repeat Offenders. The summer extravaganza at the Singer Gallery of the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture is Repeat Offenders: Serial Works by Colorado Artists. This large, over-the-top exhibit was put together by Simon Zalkind, Singer's highly regarded director and curator. The idea for the show -- work that has repeated or related imagery -- is fairly open ended since nearly all artists work in series. That means that nearly anyone could have been eligible -- which is probably why he crammed in pieces by more than two dozen artists. For the show, Zalkind selected paintings, prints and photographs by some of the best-known talents in the area, including, among a host of others, Stephen Batura, Roland Bernier, Clare Cornell, Sushe Felix, Susan Goldstein, Karen Kitchel, Bethany Kriegsman, Jerry Kunkel, Andrea Modica, Jeff Star and Eric Zimmer. In addition, Zalkind put in work by a smattering of youngsters just out of the gate. The kids hold up surprisingly well in the heady company, especially emerging photographer Jason Patz. Through August 22 at the Singer Gallery, Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, 350 South Dahlia Street, 303-399-2660. Reviewed June 24.
scene Colorado/sin Colorado. The Denver Art Museum's local extravaganza, scene Colorado/sin Colorado, has quickly become one of the most talked-about shows this year. And that's no surprise considering that it includes more than three dozen Colorado artists represented by more than seventy works of art. Dianne Vanderlip, curator of modern and contemporary art, organized the exhibit, pulling work from the impressive holdings of the DAM's permanent collection. A couple of the artists included no longer live here -- notably Gary Sweeney, whose piece inspired the show's title, and "genius grant" recipient Robert Adams -- but their works in this show were created when they did. Vanderlip decided to exclude deceased Colorado artists -- and that's too bad. However, even with this limitation, she's undeniably assembled a worthy cavalcade of talent. The pieces date back over the past quarter century, which is the period during which Vanderlip has held the modern and contemporary reins at the DAM. Though far from encyclopedic, the show does cover a lot of ground. Through August 22 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000. Reviewed June 17.
Wake Up Little Susie and Soliloquies. In the front space at Pirate, artists Kathy Hutton, Cathleen Meadows and Kay Obering are presenting their collaborative installation, Wake Up Little Susie: Pregnancy & Power Before Roe v. Wade. As is obvious from the title, the piece, which includes many evocative found objects related to women's issues, takes up the topic of abortion. Wake Up Little Susie was first created in 1992 and since then has gone on a coast-to-coast tour sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Women's Institute and other donors, appearing at colleges and universities in almost every state. But that tour is coming to an end, with the last presentation happening at Pirate. In the Associates' Space is Soliloquies, a show that would seem to be the polar opposite of a feminist installation because it's made up of paintings that look like cheesecake pinups. The paintings depict a young woman in the nude, and the young woman in question is the artist herself, Jenny Morgan, a promising up-and-comer. These pieces are expertly done, and because they are nude self-portraits, courageous. Through August 22 at Pirate: a contemporary art oasis, 3659 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058.
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