Andy Warhol's Dream America. Hot on the heels of its smash hit, >Chihuly, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is presenting yet another blockbuster devoted to the work of a household name in contemporary art: Andy Warhol's Dream America. The exhibition was curated by Ben Mitchell of Wyoming's Nicolaysen Museum. The more than 100 prints -- on loan from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation -- survey the pop pioneer's career from the late '60s to 1986, the year before he died. There are many iconic Warhol images included, such as his depictions of soup cans, shoes, Marilyn, Jackie and Mao. More than any other pop artist of his generation, Warhol anticipated the art of today by working not only in traditional media, but also in film and performance. He is generally regarded as having been one of the greatest American artists of all time. The wide range of prints in this show neatly explains why. Through December 31 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5581.
Building Outside the Box. With the Denver Art Museum's outlandish Hamilton Building by Daniel Libeskind taking shape at West 13th Avenue and Acoma Plaza, there's a lot going on outside the place. Inside the gorgeous Gio Ponti tower, it's a different story. Up until the opening of the Hamilton next fall, there will be one show on the main floor titled Building Outside the Box: Creating the New Denver Art Museum, which has been given the cutesy nickname of B.O.B. If the Hamilton Building itself is exciting, its explication put forward in this show is decidedly not; it's the kind of thing you'd expect to find in an airport or a shopping mall, but surely not at an art museum. This dog looks as if it were organized by a committee and not by a curator with some expertise -- like Craig Miller, the head of the DAM's architecture, design and graphics department. He always does such a good job, so he obviously had nothing to do with it. The shame is that with the existence of this dumbed-down feature, it's unlikely that a proper show on the topic will be done in the future. Through Fall 2006 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000. Reviewed November 10.
Centennial of William Sanderson. This exhibit was co-curated by Michael Sanderson and Kirkland Museum director Hugh Grant and includes pieces from that institution's permanent collection, loans from various local collectors and from the artist's estate. Sanderson was one of the most prominent Denver artists in the late '40s and early '50s, and his signature style had a cartoon-ish quality that sometimes referenced cubism. By the '60s, Sanderson was all but forgotten, but in the 1980s, not long before he died, his career enjoyed a second boom. This show was hung mostly chronologically and includes the kinds of things Sanderson is best remembered for, plus a few odd paintings out, which connect to the rest through his meticulous paint-application technique. This skill reveals his astounding hand-to-eye coordination to even the most casual viewer. Through January 22 at the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, 1311 Pearl Street, 303-832-8576. Reviewed November 24.
Colorado: Then & Now II. In the late 1990s, internationally known photographer John Fielder came up with the idea of re-photographing old shots done by William Henry Jackson. This idea led to an exhibit at the Colorado History Museum in 1999, with this current show being the long anticipated sequel to that one. The CHM has a vast collection of Jackson's work, dating back to his first photos of the state done in 1873, when he was part of the federal Hayden Survey of the American West. In 1880, he opened a Denver studio, which he closed in 1896. As he did for that first Then & Now, Fielder went through the vast Jackson archives and selected the images he wanted to re-create and then revisited those locales. This time, however, he picked more views of buildings rather than depictions of the wilderness. Through April 5 at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway, 303-866-3678.
Illusions. The Walker Gallery in the Golden Triangle has paired Bonny Lhotka's unusual digital photo-enlargements with Christopher Oar's geometric sculptures that refer to everyday objects for the show Illusions. The title, of course, is meaningless since the word could be used to describe anything in the visual arts. Lhotka is an experimental photo artist who uses unusual forms, like lenticular photos (the ones with different images depending on the viewer's vantage point), and odd materials, such as metal and ultraviolet-cured inks. Though Lhotka employs digital technology, she also does a lot of handwork to come up with her finished pieces. Her compositions are jammed with imagery and drenched in colors. Oar does tabletop sculptures made of welded steel. Typically, he sets up a stack of flat rectangles reminiscent of piles of books, and then places a single steel sphere in the mix. According to his statement, this sphere is meant to represent his aloneness as an artist. Through January 4 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A, (entrance on Cherokee Street), 303-355-8955. Reviewed December 8.
Lauri Lynnxe Murphy and Andy Miller. As much as any place in town, + Gallery promotes conceptual art, even though it isn't so easy to sell. For its current shows, + has paired longtime denizen of Denver's contemporary scene Lauri Lynnxe Murphy with another cutting-edge notable, Andy Miller. Murphy is debuting a new body of work that not only represents a stylistic break, but is in a different medium, too. She has been doing mixed-media works on panels assembled into grids; in the new pieces, she creates organic shapes out of plastic and then scatters them across the walls. Murphy calls this series "Clusterf**ck." Miller is best known for installations, but for this show he's done individual wall pieces using various materials, including steel, neon, horsehair and artificial pearls. They are Miller's very latest efforts and were finished right before the show opened. In addition, there is a display of works by artists who are represented by + and were selected for the Western edition of New American Paintings, a juried exhibition catalogue. The group includes Karen McClanahan and Jenny Morgan. All shows through January 14 at + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927.
TRUSS THRUST. Museum of Contemporary Art director Cydney Payton put together this thematic video show by free-associating on the topic of visual perception. She considered biological processes, social and cultural conditioning and the physical and psychological perceptions of movement and space. The show addresses all these issues, though it was surely not inevitable that they would lead Payton to organize an exhibit made up of video installations exploring dance and architecture. Payton began to build the show by first selecting Peter Welz, a Berlin-based artist who is known for his exploration of movement in videos, drawings and installations. Welz is joined by the Blue Noses Group from Russia, a partnership of Viacheslav Mizin and Alexander Shaburov, who do short films based on traditional Russian humor, such as "Little Men," which depicts cavorting nudes. The last participant is Sergio Prego, a Spanish artist interested in relentless endurance. Through January 8 at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, 1275 19th Street, 303-298-7554. Reviewed December 1.
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