Art Review

Art Beat

Its last call for Critical Mass, the summer group show thats not about ethnic identity. The exhibit runs through the weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver.

Organized by MoCAD director Mark Masuoka, the show aims to be inclusive of women and racial minorities while at the same time showcasing the exhibited artists as individuals rather than exemplars of their sex or race. The widely careening result combines installation and video with more traditional art forms such as paintings.

Standouts include the pristine and elegant installation of wood, cloth and electric lights by Boulder artist Jaeha Yoo and the ridiculous and unnerving room-sized Winged Evocations,: by Albert Chong, another Boulder artist. The latter piece (shown above) incorporates mannequins, pinecones, tanned hides and feathers, and its very creepy. Very funny, on the other hand, is a video by Denvers Daniel Salazar and Guillermo Gomez-Peña that lampoons Hispanic culture.

The outrageous inclusiveness of Critical Mass is a good teaser for the upcoming biennial at MoCAD, which appears to be on the same track and which is also being put together by Masuoka. That show will focus exclusively on regional artists. Thats our mandate, to promote regional art,: says Masuoka. Thats what we can do the best.: Amen to that.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia