Filters of the Twentieth Century. Over the last couple of decades, there's increasingly been a problem with making neat and tidy distinctions between photojournalism and fine-art photography. Art is exactly what's in store for viewers of Filters of the Twentieth Century: Margaret Bourke-White, Carl Mydans on display at Cherry Creek's Gallery M. True, Bourke-White and Mydans were photojournalists, but their works are examples of fine-art photography anyway. Bourke-White did Life magazine's first cover, "Fort Peck Dam," in 1936; an estate print of it is included at Gallery M. The exhibit also has photos Bourke-White took for Erskine Caldwell's 1939 book, You Have Seen Their Faces, which was her personal response to photos of the rural poor taken for the Farm Service Administration. Like Bourke-White, Mydans was one of the first generation of Life photographers, and before that he worked for the FSA. The show could be criticized for being way too crowded, but considering what it's crowded with -- stunning images by Bourke-White and Mydans -- who cares? Through January 31 at Gallery M, 2830 East Third Avenue, 303-331-8400. Reviewed October 14.
Graphics by 20th Century Masters. The Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs is hosting this impressive traveling show that includes a who's who of the world of modern art. Graphics by 20th Century Masters includes more than sixty prints in a wide range of techniques, all collected by Wes and Missy Cochran of Georgia. Wes began collecting pop art as a young man in the 1960s when he was working in the oil fields in the Middle East. Interestingly, the Cochrans are not wealthy -- Wes works as a stonemason and Missy as a public school teacher -- and that's surely why they choose to collect prints, which are more affordable than paintings or sculptures. As could be expected, there's depth in pop art, with examples by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Indiana and Claes Oldenburg, but there are also major works from early in the century by the likes of Picasso, Chagall and Dali. There are so many different artists doing so many different things, it's tempting to call the show comprehensive, though, of course, it isn't. Through January 28 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, 1-719-262-3567.
Opened Windows. Boulder artist Virginia Maitland has been part of the local scene since the '70s, when she moved to Colorado from Philadelphia on a whim after graduation from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Since Opened Windows at Studio Aiello is her first show in Denver in a decade, however, many in the art crowd may never have heard of her, let alone have seen her pieces. Something of a retrospective -- though it's been installed backwards, with the newest works in the first bay and the oldest in the third -- the exhibit includes over three dozen paintings, some of them eight feet long. As befits such a massive endeavor, there's an accompanying catalogue. The show was organized by gallery co-directors Monica Petty Aiello and Tyler Aiello, with lots of input from Maitland. An abstractionist, her signature works are color fields à la Helen Frankenthaler, especially the ones done on unprimed canvas. It's this kind of work, created in the '70s and '80s, that made Maitland famous in the region; she also did other work, such as geometric abstractions and even some representational pieces with photo-transfers. Through January 21 at Studio Aiello, 3563 Walnut Street, 303-297-8166.
Pictures from Sonny's Place, et al. Nationally known Colorado painter John Hull has been described in the New Yorker as a combination of Corot and Quentin Tarantino. That tongue-in-check appraisal really hits the mark with Pictures from Sonny's Place, now at + Gallery. The paintings are set in a junkyard, the "Sonny's Place" of the title. Hull's established method is to create a series of related paintings based on sketches done in the field. Each paintings has a narrative component that connects it to the others. When all the paintings are taken together, the narratives build on one another creating a plot worthy of a novel. All Hull's favorite subjects are here, in particular young thugs and the cars -- in this case, wrecked ones -- that are at the center of their lives. Paired with Hull's solo is Selections from New American Paintings, Issue #54, which includes pieces by Waddy Armstrong, David Leonard, Kevin Lucero Less, Thuong Nguyen and Kate Petley. An artists' reception is scheduled for Thursday, January 20. from 6 to 9 p.m. Through February 19 at the + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927.