Georgia O'Keeffe. Georgia O'Keeffe has been done to death — on greeting cards, calendars and posters. That's why it's easy to forget that in the first half of the twentieth century, she was one of America's most significant early modernists. And with her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, she crusaded for the then-new aesthetic. She visited New Mexico annually and finally settled there permanently in the 1940s, becoming one of our own, a Western artist. As is widely known, New Mexico sported a lively art scene at that time, and like so many of her fellow artists, O'Keeffe became enraptured with the American Indian and Hispanic cultures that flourished there. This exhibit, Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land, reflects the artist's love affair with the Land of Enchantment. The show comes from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, but for Denver it's been tweaked by Thomas Smith, the DAM's curator of Western American art, and by Native Arts associate curator John Lukavic. The two paired Native American artifacts with O'Keeffe's renditions of them. Through April 28 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed March 14.
Libertone, Franco, McGuinness. As is typical, Spark Gallery is hosting two members' solos alongside a show by a guest artist. In the west gallery is Andy Libertone: Stacked, which is made up of geometric abstracts done as drawings and sculptures. The metal sculptures, some of them patinated, have a totemic quality, with one form stacked on top of the next. The heavily worked drawings — there must be thousands of strokes in some — sport all-over patterns that have an art-deco feel. In the east gallery is Leo Franco — New Work, filled with constructivist wall-relief panels and small sculptures. Both comprise pieces of exotic woods, lengths of metal rod and sheets of Plexiglas in various tints. The Libertone pieces go beautifully with the Francos, and one display flows into the other. Katharine McGuinness, in the north gallery, is quite different; the industrial feel of the other shows has been replaced by the artist's nature-based aesthetic. In McGuinness's installation, a row of monotypes have been hung from a line; behind are abstract paper flowers on the wall, conveying the look of wallpaper. Through April 21 at Spark Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive, 720-889-2200, sparkgallery.com.
Reality of Fiction. Mark Sink, a photographer and arts advocate (he was one of the founders of MCA Denver, for example) is the force behind the Month of Photography (a slight misnomer since it straddles March and April). Sink has helped to orchestrate a staggering set of events including exhibits, workshops, lectures and panels, all related to photography. The marquee presentation of this year's MoP is The Reality of Fiction, an enormous and fabulous show that Sink ably curated and laid out at RedLine. Although mechanically reproduced images have long been thought to be records of actual sights (before the development of Photoshop, anyway), the works in this show — most of which are not candid photos — have a fool-the-eye component that makes them both true and false. But with only a few exceptions, most are straight photos with no digital hocus-pocus. Sink chose more than two dozen artists from around the world, but a big hunk of the entries were done by the home team, a who's-who group of lens masters from the local scene. Through April 28 at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, 303-296-4448, redlineart.org. Reviewed March 21.
Semblance and Guised. These exhibits are the Month of Photography entries from Metropolitan State University of Denver's Center for Visual Art. The first show, Semblance, was organized by Metro assistant professor Tomiko Jones, a fairly recent addition to the city's photo scene, together with CVA creative director Cecily Cullen. The pair chose enigmatic works about ceremony, process and the imagination, including pieces by, among others, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Laura Shill and Janaina Tschäpe, with the clear pattern that connects them being a non-whimsical version of fantasy. The second show, Guised, is dedicated to video and was put together by Sama Alshaibi whose photos and videos are in the other show. Alshaibi, from Arizona, selected works by various artists, including Coriana Close, Gary Setzer and Larissa Sansour, with all of the pieces making their American debut in this show. Finally, there's a good-looking Metro student show with Chancey Bush, Blair Douglas, Kelsey Sailsbery, Evan Lee Miller, Holly Mills and Carolyn Nicholson. Through April 13 at the Metro State Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive, 303-294-5207, www.metrostatecva.org. Reviewed April 4.
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