January gallery openings continue to go full-bore as venues wake up after the holiday season. This month is swarming with new shows on every level in Denver, but you can also welcome — and play with — a new interactive public-art sculpture in the heart of the city. Here’s a slew of new exhibits and events to help you pick your gallery-going agenda this weekend.
Civic Center Art in the Park: "Tree of Transformation"
Civic Center Park, Colfax Avenue and Bannock Street
Dedication: Thursday, January 18, 5 to 6 p.m.
When artist/fabricators Nick Geurts and Ryan Elmendorf of Yetiweurks get around to making their own public-art works, the results are Burning-Man scale and magically interactive. On the heels of the unveiling of their musical installation "Sky Song" last summer at Levitt Pavilion, Geurts and Elmendorf are now presenting "Tree of Transformation" at Civic Center Park, a twenty-foot-tall steel-pipe tree sculpture bearing steel drums — controlled to make sounds by a piano keyboard at the base — for fruit. Drop by the public dedication on Thursday evening to play and enjoy food-truck fare.
Unpinned: The Modern Pin-Up
Sally Centigrade, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Lakewood
January 18 through February 28
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 18, 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Is pinup art undergoing a revival, just like its IRL cousin, burlesque? Or perhaps they never really went away. Either way, the all-American art of the buxom babe lives on in the 21st century, reimagined with a modern take. Sally Centigrade and first-time curator Craig Duster have gathered together a local and national selection of original pinups by lowbrow artists, as well as a collection of well-priced prints. Hit the reception and meet some of the artists.
Emmanuel Gallery, 1205 Tenth Street, Auraria campus
January 18 through March 2
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 18, 6 to 8 p.m.
While Denver’s Latino Cultural Arts Center develops plans to build a Mexican Heritage Museum in the Sun Valley neighborhood, its primary collection — the Abarca Family Collection — has been waiting, until now: Belleza Mexicana, opening Thursday at the Emmanuel Gallery at Auraria, contains an astounding cross-section of photography and folk art, curated by students at the University of Colorado Denver College of Arts and Media. And in the meantime, you can donate to LCAC’s dream of a brick-and-mortar center online.
Museum of Outdoor Arts, 1000 Englewood Parkway, Englewood
January 19 through March 30
Opening Reception: Friday, January 19, 6 to 9 p.m.
Longtime Denver abstractionist Craig Marshall Smith spent last fall in residence at the Museum of Outdoor Arts working on a career-capping body of work created in collaboration with a small, hand-picked group of artist/friends, as well as his early mentors at UCLA, Richard Diebenkorn and Jan Stüssy (in memoriam). Some artists blended styles with Smith on the same canvas, while others created separate works in response to his; either way, the result is a lovely tribute to Smith and each of his invitees alike. Smith says he’s now winding down his life as a painter to write; check out his 100 Colorado Creatives questionnaire responses to see what he can do with words. The opening reception includes hors d'oeuvres, libations, and live music by Tin Brother.
Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue
January 19 through March 10
Opening Reception: Friday, January 19, 5 to 9 p.m.
A group show at Walker Fine Art is always like wandering through a museum, and this eclectic roundup of small exhibits is a good sign for the gallery’s direction in 2018: Stroll among alternating works of wit, whimsy, the absurd, pop culture and mystery by Carol Coates, Mark Penner-Howell, Bryan Leister, the late Roland Bernier, Malcolm Easton and Angela Piehl.
Wilma Fiori: Works on Paper
Rule Gallery, 530 Santa Fe Drive
January 19 through March 3
Opening Reception: Friday, January 19, 6 to 9 p.m.
To look at Denver artist Wilma Fiore’s spare minimal/abstract works now, you wouldn’t guess that she started out decades ago as a representational painter. Twenty years of study under the late Dale Chisman might have had something to do with that transition, but Fiore has her own style. Color plays a big role in Rule’s exhibition of Fiore’s works on paper, as well as a free-flowing sense of un-precise geometric shapes floating in space.
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Eva Bovenzi: Timelines and Chalcedonies
Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive
Through March 3
Opening Reception: Friday, January 19, 6 to 8 p.m.
The landscape of northern California’s Point Reyes National Seashore plays heavily in Eva Bovenzi’s first show at Michael Warren as a new gallery artist, which focuses on layered collages that rise and fall with a sense of motion while referencing climate change and the changing shoreline. They were created during Bovenzi’s NEA residency at the seashore; along with those, she’ll also show newer, similar works called “Chalcedonies.”
Valkarie Gallery, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Lakewood
Through February 11
Opening Reception, Saturday, January 20, 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Valkarie gives gallery-goers a hint of things to come with Sneak Peek, which presents a diverse potpourri of guest artists getting wall space at the gallery throughout 2018. Artists on view include Daniel Crosier, John Van Horn, Jen Herling, Melinda Laz, Leo Franco, Kayla Edgar, Dusty Ray, Cody Kuehl, Karen Watkins, Nicole Grosjean and Denis Frolov. That’s variety!
See Westword’s calendar listings for more art events and openings.