First Friday weekend is a garden of artsy delights along the Front Range, with a good mix of art that will charm you, confound you and move you to action. Here are ten arty things to do this weekend.
Cannupa Hanska Luger, Lazy Stitch
Galleries of Contemporary Art, 5225 North Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs
May 3 through July 21
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 3, 5 to 9 p.m.
Free, reserve tickets online
Multidisciplinary with a background in ceramic art, Cannupa Hanska Luger comes from Native and European roots, producing work that both embraces and floats above his mixed-up heritage. For Lazy Stitch, he collaborated with a diverse swath of five contemporary artists with ties to the Native community — Chip Thomas, Jesse Hazelip, Kali Spitzer, Kathy Elkwoman Whitman and the performance group 1000 Tiny Mirrors — on a number of engaging and symbiotic large-scale and multimedia works. Overall, the individual installations and performances evoke the lazy stitch, a beadwork technique that slowly reveals a complicated design as single beaded threads are stitched side-by-side on a backing surface. Just as those designs come together, so do the collaborators’ stories and in turn all of humankind, as a gateway to human interconnection. Besides being earthy and beautiful, the overall exhibit sends the message that technology, progress and hate overshadow nature in the present. It’s a show you won’t forget overnight.
Jason DeMarte, Adorned
Rule Gallery, 530 Santa Fe Drive
May 3 through June 16
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 3, 6 to 9 p.m.
Rule welcomes photographer Jason DeMarte back to the gallery for a show of all new work, the artist’s fourth solo under Rule’s wing. DeMarte’s signature style — overly lush floral vignettes of fake flowers, birds and out-of-place objects — invokes the romantic with a hyper-real sheen, but it’s irrevocably easy on the eyes. More is better.
Living Library for Facing Rocky Flats
Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder
Thursdays, May 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31, and June 7, 1:15 to 3:30 p.m.
Free, advance registration recommended
Artist Jeff Gipe, who grew up downwind of Rocky Flats, has been politically engaged in the history of the former nuclear weapons plant and eventual waste dump for a decade, resulting in artworks like Cold War Horse, a 2015 sculpture that stirred controversy — and vandalism — when he raised the Hazmat-suited equine in a field overlooking the Rocky Flats site. His latest contribution, in the interest of keeping the Rocky Flats debate alive during its conversion into a wildlife refuge bordering new housing developments, is Facing Rocky Flats, an exhibit he curated that opened last weekend in the BPL’s Canyon Gallery and tells Rocky Flats stories from the perspectives of people who lived it. Beginning May 3 and continuing on Thursdays through June 7, you can “check out” a living book — i.e., actual people — and learn from them one-on-one during fifteen-minute time oral-history slots. Don’t forget to sign up in advance (see link above) and come early to peruse the exhibit.
Jonathan Mcafee: Confabulation
Helikon Gallery, 3675 Wynkoop Street
May 3 through June 2
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 3, 6 to 10 p.m.
Helikon opens two shows on May’s First Friday weekend, beginning with Spectra, a group show of works inspired by the use of pure color to make visual statements. The other show is a solo by Denver portrait painter Jonathan McAfee, whose free, painterly brushstrokes both obscure and reveal the inner person.
Mo'Print Steamroller Print Exhibit
40 West Gallery, 1560 Teller Street, Lakewood
May 4 through May 17
Opening Reception: Friday May 4, 5 to 9 p.m.
Celebrate First Friday in Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District, where the art will be bubbling over throughout the neighborhood. That includes the district hub, 40 West Gallery, where Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design will be showing off the results of last weekend’s annual steamroller print event, which has become a Mo’Print (Month of Printmaking) tradition. The eight-foot prints, carved, inked and papered on gigantic blocks, are pressed into action with help from a real steamroller — shades of Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne. Even if you missed the spectacle of those live, al fresco street pressings, the huge prints left behind might fill you with awe, because they’re big and beautiful.
From The Earth
Westwood Food Cooperative, 3738 Morrison Road
May 4 through 26
Opening Reception: Friday, May 4, 5 to 9 p.m.
The new Westwood Creative District is gearing up for regularly scheduled art exhibits reflecting the surrounding cultural community with a group show, From the Earth, and a little hoopla, Westwood style: Traditional Aztec dancers will be on hand to honor Mother Earth, and the Garly’s Kitchen Food Truck will be serving up tacos as fast as you can eat them.
Fifth-Year Anniversary Cake and Champagne Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser
Mai Wyn Fine Art, 744 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, May 4, 6 to 9 p.m.
Mai Wyn Schantz is celebrating five years in the Art District on Santa Fe with a party — and a contest. Mai Wyn Fine Art is currently accepting entries to win Schantz’s Cloud Stack, painted in oils on stainless steel, through 9 p.m. on First Friday. Tickets to enter are $5 each or $20 for five, and all of the cash benefits the art district; if you come in person to the reception, you can not only enter the contest, but you can do it over cake and champagne while enjoying the new gallery artists’ group exhibit, Spring Mix.
Paintings and Prints by Reed Philip Weimer
Pendula Studios, 863 Santa Fe Drive
Opening Reception: Friday, May 4, 6 to 9:30 p.m.
When painter Reed Philip Weimer hangs the occasional show, lovers of mid-mod artworks jump for joy. His paintings are so retro that they’re new again, and they’re perfect to look at as you lounge on your Saarinen Womb Chair, listening to Chet Baker platters. In reality, you’ll get live and ageless ambient music by ANIMAL/object at this laid-back reception. Be cool.
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Semantic Shifts | New Works by Trevor Seymour
Collective SML/k, 430 Santa Fe Drive
May 4 through 6
Opening Reception: Friday, May 4, 6 to 9 p.m.
Corianne Wells and Kristopher Wright of the Odessa Denver arts incubator continue their yearlong curatorial residency at Collective SML/k with Semantic Shifts, a three-day pop-up show of new works by Trevor Seymour presented in collaboration with curator Stephanie Edwards of Leto Projects. Semantic Shift spotlights work in a variety of mediums, including graphite, charcoal, photographs and transfers, video projections and found objects, with the goal of inviting viewers into a free-associating search for meaning.
Michael Dowling, You Should Have Seen the Other Guy
Mario Zoots, Black Sun
K Contemporary, 1412 Wazee Street
May 4 through 26
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 5, 6 to 9 p.m.
K Contemporary pairs Michael Dowling and Mario Zoots for a double helping of May exhibitions, including oil portraits by Dowling that demonstrate his fine draftsman’s eye and a new series of minimal, layered, uncomfortable and tonal paintings by Zoots in the project space. That’s an eyeful.
Interested in having your event appear in this calendar? Send the details to email@example.com. For more events this weekend, see our 21 Best Things to Do in Denver.