Clyfford Still. For the opening of the Clyfford Still Museum, director Dean Sobel has installed a career survey of the great artist that starts with the artist's realist self-portrait and features his remarkable post-impressionist works from the 1920s. Next are Still's works from the '30s, with some odd takes on regionalism and some figurative surrealist paintings. Then there's his first great leap forward, as the representational surrealist works give way to abstract ones. Looking at the work dating from the '40s and '50s, it's easy to see why Still is regarded as one of the great masters of American art. Through December 31 at the Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock Street, 720-354-4880, clyffordstillmuseum.org. Reviewed January 31.
Continental Drift. To create Continental Drift, MCA Denver curator Nora Burnett Abrams and Aspen Art Museum curator Jacob Proctor looked at the work of more than 300 Colorado artists who had submitted portfolios. Abrams and Proctor then winnowed the hundreds of submitters down to a mere twenty and scheduled them for studio visits. Only seven of those were selected for the exhibit, with the theme of "place" emerging as the tissue that connects the diverse work of each. At the MCA — the show travels to the AAM later this fall — Continental Drift has been installed in several spaces, with one of the galleries quite far from the others. It thus has the character of a set of shows as opposed to a singular endeavor, an impression that is reinforced by the fact that the various artists' work is so disparate and disconnected. Continental Drift therefore reads as two solos (Jeanne Liotta and Christina Battle); a duet (Adam Milner and Yumi Janairo Roth); and a trio (Edie Winograde, Scott Johnson and Sarah McKenzie). Through September 23 at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, www.mcadenver.org. Reviewed August 23.
Robert Mangold. The dean of Colorado sculpture, who's been working for more than half a century, is the subject of this strong solo with the epic title Colorado Gold: The Many Facets of Robert Mangold at Z Art Department. The show represents something of a chaser to the major Mangold career retrospective that was presented early this year at the Arvada Center, and many of the works from that show are also in this one. Mangold has undertaken a number of series over the years, nearly all of them on the topic of movement, either actual or implied, and there are examples of his many different types of pieces at Z. Surely Mangold's best known series is the one given over to his "Anemotive Kinetics," those spherical multi-part whirligigs in which colorful cones catch the breeze and rotate along a central axis; there is a choice one, on a granite stand, included here. An example from his "I-beam" series, and several "PTTSAAS," which purport to follow the trajectory of an imaginary particle, are also on display, the latter ranging in size from tabletop to gigantic. Through October 28 at Z Art Department, 1136 Speer Boulevard, 303-298-8432, www.zartdept.com.
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Theodore Waddell. With the increasing interest in modern and contemporary Western art,Theodore Waddell's Abstract Angus, curated by the DAM's Thomas Smith, is perfectly timed. From the entrance to the Gates Family Gallery, visitors are confronted by "Monida Angus," a mural so big you can't see it all until you get inside. Running across four large panels, the painting — which was specially created for this show — depicts cattle grazing in the foreground of a mountain range. Or at least that's what it looks like from across the room, because when you get up close, the cattle and scrub and even the mountains and sky are nothing more than rough and heavy smears of paint. This is true of all the Waddells here; some of them are almost non-objective, with hardly any landscape referents at all. For instance, "Motherwell's Angus," from the DAM's collection, is made up solely of a scruffy, dirty-white color field over which black dashes have been randomly inserted to stand in for the cows on a snow-covered plain. Through December 2 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed June 28.
What Is Modern? Department of Architecture, Design and Graphics curator Darrin Alfred has put together this large show dedicated to furniture and decor from the early nineteenth to the early 21st century. Laudably, he takes a chronological look at how technological advancements informed the development of modernism and has installed a wide assortment of classics from the annals of the style. Through November 30 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed December 23.
William Joseph. The Kirkland Museum has a lot to recommend it, but its greatest service to the community is the way it continually resurrects the careers of all-but-forgotten Colorado artists. That's exactly the point of William Joseph: Sculptor & Painter, which showcases the half-century-long career of this deceased Denver artist and teacher. If his name is obscure, his work isn't; some of Joseph's major sculptures are in very public places around town — notably, the Christopher Columbus monument in the Civic Center. The show was put together by Kirkland director Hugh Grant and museum registrar and deputy curator Christopher Herron, who combed the contents of the artist's estate (which is still held by Joseph's family) and contacted collectors in order to gather the material. Though Joseph is surely best remembered for his sculpture, the Kirkland show puts extra attention on his paintings. As with his three-dimensional work, Joseph combined abstraction and representations of the figure to come up with his signature style. Through November 11 at the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, 1311 Pearl Street, 303-832-8576, www.kirklandmuseum.com.