archiTECHtonica. This is one of several shows put together by CU Art Museum director and curator Lisa Tamiris Becker to herald the opening of the institution's new building. It's paired with a show made up of related objects from the permanent collection. Becker invited an international cast of artists who work — broadly speaking — in the nexus of art and architecture. One of the stars is Peter Wegner, who was invited to do an installation — one side of a skinned Winnebago hanging from the ceiling — and a site-specific painting based on a color chip from a paint company. But Wegner did much more, creating fifteen paintings throughout the building, thus setting up an ad hoc show-within-a-show, titled Wall-to-Wall-to-Wall. Daniel Rozin has created the exhibit's tour de force, a mechanized panel of rusted tiles that acts like a mirror when visitors get in front of it. Other inclusions are altered photos of North Korean buildings by Seung Woo Back; a miniature building by Mildred Howard; and Driss Ouadahi's paintings of high-rises in North Africa. Through December 18 at the CU Art Museum, 1085 18th Street, Boulder, 303-492-8300, cuartmuseum.colorado.edu. Reviewed October 7.
Charles Deas. This important solo, with the full title of Charles Deas and 1840s America, is about a talented if little known painter who gained fame during his lifetime with works about the American West. The exhibit marks the first time that Deas has been the subject of a retrospective, and the DAM is the only place that will show it. That's too bad: One of the great values of this show is the way it could lead to the discovery of heretofore unknown Deas paintings, as the artist frequently left his pieces unsigned or hid his signature within his compositions. The show was curated by Carol Clark, the world's foremost Deas scholar, and the DAM's Joan Carpenter Troccoli. Deas developed along a fairly straightforward stylistic line, beginning with the Old-Masterish genre scenes of the late 1830s to the bombastic Romantic works of his mature period done just a few years later. Consigned to a mental hospital in his twenties, he continued to work until he died in his forties. This show is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Through November 28 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed September 9.
The Furniture of Eero Saarinen. One of the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art's specialties is decor. That focus is highlighted in The Furniture of Eero Saarinen: Designs for Everyday Living, a traveling exhibition dedicated to the work of the famous American architect. Though the show was put together by the Knoll Museum, Kirkland director Hugh Grant has supplemented it with pieces from his collection and from the architect's daughter, Susan Saarinen, a landscape designer who lives in our area. The elder Saarinen is best known for his Gateway Arch in St. Louis, but he also designed chairs and tables that have become classics of American furniture. His most radical concept is illustrated in the "Tulip" furniture that counteracted "the slum of legs" that he believed plagued the typical interior. In these works, tables and chairs, are on singular bases that resemble wine glass stems writ large. In addition to Saarinen's own designs, Grant has added works by others from the same era. Through November 28 at the Kirkland Museum, 1311 Pearl Street, 303-832-8576, www.kirklandmuseum.org.
Mike Whiting. California artist Mike Whiting has raised his local profile with two sculptures that have been installed along Broadway and with a solo at Plus Gallery devoted to his recent work. The works in Primitives: New Sculpture by Mike Whiting are somewhat different than the sculptures, "Rhino" and "Pinkie and Mr. Green," in that they are more formally complex and more abstract. Though the pieces are post-minimal, like a cross between Joel Shapiro and Donald Judd, they do make oblique references to primitive cultures. Several carry the title "Mask," and despite their seeming non-objectivity, the connection to tribal masks is clear. The "Pyramid of the Rabbit" and "Pyramid of the Cock" bring in a reference to Meso-American art. The surfaces are different than those of the monumental sculptures, too, with automotive lacquers having been more heavily abused than before by being scuffed, ground down and repainted, as though they were vandalized. Through Through November 27 at Plus Gallery, 2501 Larimer Street, 303-296-0927, www.plusgallery.com. Reviewed November 18.
Moore in the Gardens. Henry Moore, who died in 1986, was Great Britain's most important modern sculptor. Born in 1898, he began to create artwork shortly after World War I, becoming internationally famous by the 1930s. Moore was one of a legion of important artists who responded to Picasso's surrealism, but he made the style his own. This traveling exhibit, sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation, has been installed on the grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens, with two pieces at the DBG annex at Chatfield (8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton). The main part of the exhibit begins in the Boettcher Memorial Center, where a collection of the artist's tools and maquettes are crowded into showcases, and where a single work has been installed in a fountain. Most of the other pieces have been displayed around the gardens. The monumental works, typically in bronze, look absolutely perfect in the landscaped settings. Through January 31 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3500, www.botanicgardens.org. Reviewed June 17.
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Over the River. For nearly twenty years, artist Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, planned the "Over the River" project, a series of sunshades that hopefully will be installed in a few years as a temporary work of art on intermittent stretches of the Arkansas River in southern Colorado. It's not clear yet whether or not it will happen, though it is clear that a campaign has been mounted against it. In Denver, we're lucky to be just a few hours' drive from the proposed setting — and also to have the opportunity to carefully examine the idea through Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado, a Work in Progress, on display at MCA Denver. The exhibit originated with Christo himself, and it suits well the mandate of the museum to encourage dialogue in the visual arts. The show is beautiful and coolly elegant, its coolness having something to do with all the blue sky in the mixed-media works on view. That coolness is also the perfect analogy for "Over the River," since the water, and the sunscreens, would have a cooling effect on viewers — if it's ever built, that is. Through January 16 at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, www.mcadenver.org. Reviewed November 4.