Andy Miller. One of the most thoughtful artists around, Andy Miller is the subject of a self-titled solo at Pirate. Miller is known for his postmodern sculptures and installations in which oversized and simplified figures play key dramatic roles. For this installation, Miller has built two monumental figures, one representing a man, the other a woman. The duality is reminiscent of Miller's "Bathroom People" -- a two-part outdoor sculpture installed at Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art a few years ago -- and the gigantic figures seen in the four suicide pieces from his "A Deconstruction of Life" series shown at Pirate last year. (Miller became a full member of Pirate this past summer.) The newest figures are not part of the "Deconstruction" series but are related to them aesthetically. The man and woman face each other from across the room, which is eerily lit by blue neon. Between them, Miller has suspended small spheres representing Braille that read "When does something qualify as being alive?" Heavy. Through February 6 at Pirate: a contemporary art oasis, 3659 Navajo Street, 303-456-6058.
The Eternal Gift. The Taylor Museum in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is showing off some of its treasure in The Eternal Gift: Selections From the Fine Arts Center's Permanent Collection. The Taylor's inventory has many strengths, including modern art from the early to mid-twentieth century, which is what's on display in this show. Michael De Marshe, the center's president, made the choices; after sampling the Taylor's marvelous American scene paintings collection, he decided to include spectacular period pieces by Walt Kuhn, John Sloan and Isabel Bishop, along with that signature Georgia O'Keeffe flower painting. There's some early vanguard stuff -- notably, Arthur Dove's "Fog Horns" and Chagall's "Inspiration" -- as well as great things by Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery and John Marin. The next generation is also on hand, with the Taylor's famous Diebenkorn taking center stage; the Motherwells are pretty neat, too. Regular visitors will be familiar with many of these pieces from past shows at the center, but the thing about masterpieces is that they never get old. Through February at the Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5583.
Filters of the Twentieth Century. Over the last couple of decades, there's increasingly been a problem with making neat and tidy distinctions between photojournalism and fine-art photography. Art is exactly what's in store for viewers of Filters of the Twentieth Century: Margaret Bourke-White, Carl Mydans on display at Cherry Creek's Gallery M. True, Bourke-White and Mydans were photojournalists, but their works are examples of fine-art photography anyway. Bourke-White did Life magazine's first cover, "Fort Peck Dam," in 1936; an estate print of it is included at Gallery M. The exhibit also has photos Bourke-White took for Erskine Caldwell's 1939 book, You Have Seen Their Faces, which was her personal response to photos of the rural poor taken for the Farm Service Administration. Like Bourke-White, Mydans was one of the first generation of Life photographers, and before that he worked for the FSA. The show could be criticized for being way too crowded, but considering what it's crowded with -- stunning images by Bourke-White and Mydans -- who cares? Through January 31 at Gallery M, 2830 East Third Avenue, 303-331-8400. Reviewed October 14.
Graphics by 20th Century Masters. The Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs is hosting this impressive traveling show that includes a who's who of the world of modern art. Graphics by 20th Century Masters includes more than sixty prints in a wide range of techniques, all collected by Wes and Missy Cochran of Georgia. Wes began collecting pop art as a young man in the 1960s when he was working in the oil fields in the Middle East. Interestingly, the Cochrans are not wealthy -- Wes works as a stonemason and Missy as a public school teacher -- and that's surely why they choose to collect prints, which are more affordable than paintings or sculptures. As could be expected, there's depth in pop art, with examples by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Indiana and Claes Oldenburg, but there are also major works from early in the century by the likes of Picasso, Chagall and Dalí. There are so many different artists doing so many different things, it's tempting to call the show comprehensive, though, of course, it isn't. Through January 28 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, 1-719-262-3567.
IN LIMBO. Internationally known contemporary-art collectors Vicki and Kent Logan maintain a residence in Vail and, lucky for us, have become involved in the cultural life of Colorado. In addition to providing a raft of works partially promised to the Denver Art Museum, the collecting couple has facilitated a relationship between the museum and the University of Denver. IN LIMBO is the second Logan-connected show at DU, but the first in which students -- under the direction of curator and professor Gwen Chanzit -- have been allowed to use the DAM's Logan Collection as well the couple's private stash to come up with it. More often than not, too many cooks spoil the broth, but not in this case. The show is first-rate but surprisingly conservative, considering the tender ages of the organizers. The students chose mostly representational paintings and photographs, and there are only two sculptures. Among the artists included are Bo Bartlett, Jack Pierson, Ron Mueck, Cindy Sherman, Su-En Wong, and almost a dozen others. Through March 11 at the Victoria H. Myhren Gallery, 2121 East Asbury Avenue, 303-871-2846. Reviewed January 20.
James Westwater. The current solo in the main space at the Rule Gallery is James Westwater; 10 Years, Geometric Narcissism, 1995-2005. This is not the first time Westwater has had his work exhibited in Denver, but this is the first major offering. The Rule show is a brief survey of the conceptual artist's work done during the time he's lived in Santa Fe, where he moved in 1994. For Westwater, who exhibits his pieces nationally, "geometric narcissism" explains what he's doing, specifically using simple shapes, most often ovals, Westwater marks the surface of his pieces as if he were putting a personal stamp on them. In the late'90s, Westwater put the shapes within neo-minimalist formats -- and they look a lot like Ellsworth Kelly's compositions -- but in the later pieces, he puts the shapes on top of appropriated images and found objects, including a reproduction of a seascape, a sheet of faux bois laminate and a suitcase. The exhibit opens with a reception from 6 to 9 pm on Friday, January 21. Through March 5 at the Rule Gallery, 111 Broadway, 303-777-9473.
Lines of Position and Rudiments. Technically speaking, Lines of Position and Rudiments, at Sandy Carson Gallery, are separate solos, but they've been outlandishly installed together as a duet. Lines of Position features wall-hung sculptures by Jeremy Jernegan, while Rudiments comprises recent abstract paintings by Floyd Tunson. Jernegan's work is precise and intimate, Tunson's expressive and bold. Their pieces shouldn't work well together, but for some reason they do. The whole thing looks stunning, even if viewers are constantly forced to shift their attention from one to the other. Jernegan teaches ceramics at Louisiana's Tulane University, but these recent pieces are something else, because they don't look like ceramics; they look like photos. Jernegan uses a photo silkscreen, pushing fine slip through the screen instead of ink and using a clay slab instead of paper. Manitou Springs-based Tunson has been a mainstay of Colorado's contemporary scene since the '70s. A neo-pop artist, he swings back and forth between representational and -- as in these pieces --abstraction. Through February 26 at Sandy Carson Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585.
Upstarts and Matriarchs. Feminism transformed American society in the '70s, allowing female artists to turn the art world upside-down. Surveying this trend is the topic of Upstarts and Matriarchs: Jewish Women Artists and the Transformation of American Art: 1970-Now. The exhibit was curated by Simon Zalkind, the director of the Singer Gallery of the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, who has presented a formidable roster of first-rate shows over the years. It's hard to say that he's out-done himself this time, but he has. The scholarly show is installed both in the main multi-part space and in the nearby atrium gallery. The extra room was needed because Zalkind has included pieces by more than a dozen artists, among them major historical figures such as Judy Chicago, Audrey Flack, Nancy Grossman, Joyce Kozloff, Martha Rosler, Miriam Shapiro, Joan Semmel, Nancy Spero, Joan Snyder and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Through March 27 at the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, 350 South Dahlia, 303-399-2660.
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