Eight Weeks of Fame

A few years ago, the Andy Warhol Foundation’s Visual Arts Photographic Legacy Program set forth to bestow thousands of photographic works from Warhol’s deep well on university-based galleries. The University of Denver, one of 180 beneficiaries across the country, received more than 150 pieces (galleries at the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University also received works). “Prior to that, we had only one Warhol work in our collection: a silkscreen poster for the New York film festival,” says Dan Jacobs of DU’s Victoria H. Myhren Gallery.

“The obvious thing to do, then,” he continues, “was to think about having an exhibition and coming up with a unique way to do it.” Many other schools were going to show off their new Warhol acquisitions at roughly the same time, so Jacobs got together with fellow curator Rupert Jenkins of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center and found a Colorado-centric angle: Warhol not only famously traveled to Fort Collins in 1981 for an exhibition at CSU, where he also collaborated with the art department to create three giant Camp-bell’s Soup cans, but he visited the state several times during that era.

With that as a base, Jacobs and Jenkins have put together a monster of a show that includes Warhol Polaroids and gelatin silver prints from DU’s new bounty, as well as more than 100 silkscreen prints and portraits from various private collections, memorabilia and artifacts, video projections of Warhol’s films and, in homage to Warhol’s Colorado connections, a series of Warhol images shot by local photographers including John Bonath, Valere Harris Shane and Mark Sink, who all came into contact with the artist either here or in New York.

Warhol in Colorado kicks off splendidly tonight with a Factory-inspired Warhol Happening gala, which begins with a preview at the gallery at 6 p.m. before moving to the nearby Cable Center for multimedia festivities from 7 to 11 p.m. The show then continues through March 13; along the way, there will be various events — everything from a Warhol-related film festival at the Denver FilmCenter/Colfax (beginning February 1) to a gallery-talk-cum-walk-down-memory-lane with the aforementioned Colorado photographers and others (March 9). An illustrated catalogue is also available for $15.

The Myhren Gallery is at 2121 East Asbury Avenue; tickets to the Warhol Happening range from $20 to $125. For additional information, go to www.du.edu/art/myhrengallery.html.
Jan. 20-March 13, 2011

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd