Art News

The Twelve Best Art Shows in Denver in 2019

"Coconut Chair," "Marshmallow Sofa," "Bird Chair and Ottoman" and "Womb Chair," with printed fabrics above, in Serious Play.
"Coconut Chair," "Marshmallow Sofa," "Bird Chair and Ottoman" and "Womb Chair," with printed fabrics above, in Serious Play. James Florio, courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

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Installation view of the "#WhatisUtopia" column in Eyes On: Jonathan Saiz.
Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum
Eyes On: Jonathan Saiz
Denver Art Museum

Organized by the DAM’s curator of contemporary art, Rebecca Hart, Eyes On: Jonathan Saiz included 10,000 works by Jonathan Saiz that he brought together into a stunning installation. Saiz has long used small plastic boxes, enclosing paintings, reliefs, collages in miniature in them, and even etching directly on the boxes. Saiz had a wide circular pillar built, using the diameter of the columns from Karnak as his guide, and then he covered it with the boxes. When the show closed last month, he gave the boxes away, a key element of his aesthetic philosophy.

Clark Richert in Hyperspace
MCA Denver

Clark Richert in Hyperspace, a major retrospective, filled all of the galleries on the main and second floors of MCA Denver, taking viewers from the earliest Richerts, done in the 1960s, up to the pieces made in the past few years. The marvelous exhibit was curated by the MCA’s Zoe Larkins. Richert is the personification of the counterculture, having earned his celebrity as a founder of Colorado artist commune Drop City in 1965, but he’s kept working right up to the present time. This fabulous show laid out the entire arc of his illustrious career.

Spark Gallery 40th Anniversary Show, Part I

Spark Gallery

Denver’s oldest extant artist cooperative, founded in 1979, celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2019 with a not-to-miss show dedicated to the work of the founders. No single style defined their art, but between them, they linked various important artist groups, including those associated with Drop City, Criss-Cross and the Armory Group. The show included pieces by Clark Richert, Richard Kallweit, Charles di Julio, Jerry Johnson, Marilyn Nelson, George Woodman, Andy Libertone, Margaret Neumann, John Fudge and Paul Gillis.

A pair of photos by Dallas Parkins bookend a pair of paintings by Sharon Feder.
Courtesy of Michael Warren Contemporary
Life Cycles: works by Sharon Feder & Dallas Parkins
Michael Warren Contemporary

A virtually seamless duet, Life Cycles: works by Sharon Feder & Dallas Parkins is the only show on this list that's still open (through January 11). The exhibit includes paintings by Sharon Feder and photographs by Dallas Parkins, who both capture buildings in their distinctively different mediums, with the respective results surprisingly similar in appearance. It’s hardly remarkable for Feder and Parkins to be doing related work, since they are married, but there's a twist to their story: Each was already making the kind of work they do now before they met.
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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

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