Shows celebrating Black History Month are popping all over this month, as are early additions to the Month of Photography 2021’s widening roster (MOP officially launches in March), making for a rich multicultural and photo-based First Friday weekend. But not entirely: At other galleries, it’s business as usual, which in these times is a very good thing.
Here are some of the hottest shows around town:
Rap, Race, Identity: Race in Hip Hop’s America
Urbanity Gallery, 5136 East 29th Avenue
Through February 14
$25 per group of up to five people; purchase tickets and RSVP online in advance for a time slot (visit website for information about student/discounted tickets)
Race, Rap, Identity, a collaboration between University of Colorado Boulder communications professor Danielle Hodge and artist James Roy II, is an immersive art show that blends Roy’s imagery with aspects of listening and scholarly thinking encountered as viewers work their way through a 45-minute experience examining the words of rappers JAY-Z, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Nipsey Hussle. The $25 fee covers groups of up to five people, with the option of adding fine-art prints of Roy’s portraits.
Excellence in Motion: A Black Heritage Exhibition
Frederic C. Hamilton Family Gallery, Children’s Hospital Colorado, 13123 East 16th Street, Aurora
Through April 4
Excellence in Motion places Colorado-based Black artists in the spotlight at the Children’s Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus for Black History Month, where the work not only inspires hospital visitors in the Frederic C. Hamilton Family Gallery, but also reaches young patients on-screen in their rooms, as well as followers on Children’s Hospital social media channels.
Valkarie Gallery, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Belmar, Lakewood
February 3 through February 28
First Friday Art Walk: Friday, February 5, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Painter Jen Starling begins her guest-artist stint at Valkarie with a portrait show of dreamy depictions of women and people from other marginalized groups, all captured in oils with a real sense of movement evocative of her own background in dance. See her recent works in person at the gallery or online.
Rick Dallago: Paintings, Photographs, Perspectives
Museum of Boulder, 2205 Broadway, Boulder
February 3 through April 5
Boulder artist Rick Dallago — who displays an updated affinity for Norman Rockwell in his representational oil pastel paintings, photographs and collages — brings humor and personality to the Museum of Boulder with a show that anyone can appreciate. Evidence of Dallago’s years of work in the film industry in L.A. also turn up in his subject matter and style.
Diane Cionni, Noosphere
Taiko Chandler, On and On
Leopoldo Cuspinera Madrigal, Solastalgia
Space Gallery, 400 Santa Fe Drive
February 5 through March 5
Opening Reception: Friday, February 5, 6 to 9 p.m.; RSVP for reception time slot in advance
Space greets February with three solos by mixed-media artists and printmakers Taiko Chandler, Diane Cionni and Leopoldo Cuspinera Madrigal, whose current work incorporates the pre-Columbian medium of Mexican papel amate. It’s a threesome of artists well in charge of their chosen materials, with sophisticated and beautiful results.
Shadows Gather, 2019-2020
Dateline Gallery, 3004 Larimer Street
February 5 through March 13
Opening Reception: Friday, February 5, 6 to 11 p.m.
Dateline gets a head start on Month of Photography 2021 with an exhibition of photographic nightlife portraits by Shadows Gather, who seeks out members of the after-dark fringe, from drag queens to punks of Denver, Austin and Los Angeles, as subjects. Show up in the right gear to this trendy opening, and you might just end up in one of her shots.
Connections: New Works by Frank
Alto Gallery, 4345 West 41st Avenue
February 5 through February 27
Opening Reception: February 5, 6 to 10 p.m.
For his first solo show in twelve years, painter Frank Lucero presents work created since the beginning of the pandemic last year and inspired by the sense of being caught in an indefinite time of solitary confinement. It’s a new look for Lucero, who visualized the situation in a series of mixed-media paintings utilizing monochrome grids and mark-making evocative of a prisoner counting off the days.
The Black Vanguard
Sasha the Kid: New Kid on the Block
ILA Gallery, 209 Kalamath Street, Suite 12
February 5 through February 28
Opening Reception: Friday, February 5, 6 to 10 p.m.
RSVP for reception time slot in advance
ILA Gallery tapped a group of local and national urban artists to fete Black History Month with a look to the future for Black artists of color. Along with familiar Denverites like painters Detour and Rochelle Johnson, photographer Narkita Gold and former Magnet Mafia artist and current furniture designer and builder Harrison Nealey, participants in the show include muralist Austin Blue of Atlanta and Kidrobot designer Johnny Draco, among others. Alongside the group show, Denver phenom Sasha the Kid is featured in a solo of fantastic paintings reminiscent of Basquiat and Picasso.
Suzanne Lopez, Polaroid Dreams
Mint & Serif, 7310 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
Friday, February 5, 6 to 10 p.m.
Suzanne Lopez’s little MOP-ish sidebar, Polaroid Dreams, champions retro photography using film instead of digital technology threaded inside classic cameras to capture images from nature. Stop by Lakewood coffeehouse Mint & Serif on First Friday for a breath of fresh air on the wall.
Stephen Taylor, Pop-Art Pop-Up
Thrive Workplace Ballpark, 1415 Park Avenue West
Artist Reception: Friday, February 5, 5 to 9 p.m.
RSVP for reception time slot in advance
Artaos Gallery on 17th Avenue will mount a pop-up with pop artist Stephen Taylor, who draws inspiration and style from the characters of Archie comics, originally created by artist Bob Montana back in the ’40s. But it won’t be at Artaos proper; it's sprouting up instead at the Thrive Workplace Ballpark, a new “contactless” satellite gallery in RiNo.
The 19th Century in European and American Art
Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway
Opens Sunday, February 7
The Denver Art Museum premieres newly installed second-floor galleries showing off 85 works from the museum collection for The 19th Century in European and American Art on Sunday, which runs heavy (but not completely) on landscapes by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and others. The show is included in museum admission, free to $13; purchase tickets in advance for timed entry slots.
Conrad Guevara and J Rivera Pansa, "Banana Hammock"
LMP PDA, Lane Meyer Projects, 2528 Walnut Street
February 8 through February 21
Oakland artist duo Conrad Guevara and J Rivera Pansa will share “Banana Hammock” in the window gallery at Lane Meyer Projects, and we can only imagine what that will turn out to be, though it should be good. They will be donating a 40 percent share of sales to the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, an urban Indigenous women-led land trust based in the San Francisco Bay Area that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people.
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