If you’re feeling downtrodden and disgusted with politics, don’t roll up in a ball – look it in the eye. Turn off the news and go see art: Some shows opening this week address our muddled-up America with surprising results, while others create affordable diversions and a great way to show support for artists, who seem to be struggling more than ever to make ends meet. And there’s always art for art’s sake. Where would we be without that? Here are seven ways to turn yourself around.
PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street
July 16 through 26
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 12, 6 to 8 p.m.
Closing Reception: Thursday, July 26, 6 to 8 p.m.
What if we built a wall that was actually a bridge, bringing people together in unity? As the latest Denver artist to work with ArtLab high school interns at PlatteForum during a residency with the nonprofit artist-mentorship program, Mackenzie Browning took inspiration from the Trump administration’s proposed border wall for Prototype Peace, a collaborative installation that preaches an opposing sentiment of peace and love. Join Browning and his ArtLab students at opening and closing receptions on July 12 and 26.
InTuit In Tarot: An Exhibit of Personalized Tarot Art
Art Students League of Denver, 200 Grant Street
July 13 through August 17
Opening Reception: Friday, July 13, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Tarot is hot and cool these days, and it seems like there’s a beautiful new deck coming out every week (see Brady Tarot on July 13 in in this week’s 21 Best Events in Denver). The Art Students League of Denver deals its own hand on Friday night with an opening reception for InTuit in Tarot, curated by Holly-Kai Hurd and packing a strong interactive element (Hurd is also teaching a sold-out tarot class at ASLD) and an invitation to explore your inner fortune teller. LadySpeech Sankofa will be in the house to read your cards at the opening, as well as “living tarot card” Adriana Rondón-Rivero in performance; you also can dabble in creating your own tarot while admiring artist interpretations of divining decks.
A Conscious Surrender
Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue
July 13 though September 8
Opening Reception: Friday, July 13, 5 to 9 p.m
The next group showcase at Walker Fine Art includes work by Deidre Adams, Carol Browning, Anna Charney, David Mazza, Sara Pittman and Ben Strawn in a suite of segueing exhibits soaked in the subconscious drive to overcome creative barriers. See what artists can do when they switch off the world and just go.
Muscle Brain Marathon
Leon Gallery, 1112 East 17th Avenue
Saturday, July 14, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Though Muscle Brain, the collaborative musical duo of Jim Fitzpatrick and Jordan Knecht, identifies as a musical combo, it’s really a conceptual art piece, says Knecht, which means that whatever noise they’re going to make will sound right at home in a gallery setting. That’s where Fitzpatrick and Knecht will celebrate thirteen years of making their singular brand of improvisational music by performing nonstop for thirteen hours with a little help from their musical friends, who are invited to come and go as they please. Maybe you could be their friend, too.
Got It for Cheap Denver
Dateline, 3004 Larimer Street
Saturday, July 14, 4 to 8 p.m.
Everybody loves a deal, especially those penniless art-lovers who long to collect art and support the folk who make it. In Denver, the Got It For Cheap international road show will offer temporary relief by setting up tables at Dateline that will be loaded with original works by more than 500 artists, all for $30 each. Clear some space on your walls, and go.
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Rare Cats: Swoon, Olek, Handiedan, Rashelle Stetman and Fafi
Black Book Gallery, 304 Elati Street
July 14 through August 4
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 14, 7 to 9 p.m.
Black Book will show off fresh street- and urban-art works by a quintet of women, including such international superstars as yarn-bomb installationist Olek and the muralist Swoon. Original work and limited-edition prints will both be on the block; grab a piece of the riches on opening night, because these will go fast.
This Is America
Art Circus Gallery, 1510 Kearney Street
Saturdays, July 14, 21 and 28, noon to 6 p.m.
The new indie East Colfax gallery Art Circus will be pushing some buttons in July with This Is America, a group show inspired by Donald Glover’s riveting rap and video of the same name, which brutally lays out a violent, unsafe and out-of-control state of the union from a black man’s point of view. If you can’t get Glover’s brilliant and unsettling slice of performance art out of your head, give in to it, and see what artists are saying about it, too.