At the Helms

Adam Helms is a New York artist interested in taking up political themes in new works on paper and a monumental sculpture. His solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver -- which officially opens tonight -- is his first museum show anywhere, and director Cydney Payton is the one who gave him this big break by curating this show, installed in the Paper Works Gallery on level two. Using images he finds in books and on the Internet, Helms makes copies of them and then, by combining various images, is able to conflate different radical and extremist movements from different places and different times and merge them into singular works. In “Shadow: Portrait of a Jihadi” (pictured) Helms has taken a found shot of what looks like an American soldier in Vietnam in the '60s and altered it by blackening out the face, in the manner of the hooded radical Islamic terrorists of today. His technique is as interesting as his imagery, and for this piece (a silkscreen), he printed both sides of a sheet of translucent vellum.

If you’ve been paying attention, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that it seems like there’s a new show opening at MCA every time you turn around, because there is. Adam Helms is the eighteenth exhibit to debut at the museum since the new David Adjaye building opened last fall. And this quick turnaround of attractions has definitely jacked up the MCA’s appeal and explains why more than 1300 people have signed up as new members during this very same time.

Adam Helms' exhibit opens tonight from 6 to 10 p.m.; it's free for members, $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. The MCA is at 1485 Delgany Street. Visit or call 303-298-7554.
Aug. 15-Jan. 18, 2008

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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