Allen True's West. Allen Tupper True was Denver's premier muralist during the first third of the twentieth century. Sadly, many of his commissions have been painted over or were lost when the buildings they were in were demolished. In an act of cooperation, the three big cultural institutions on the Civic Center are jointly presenting a three-part blockbuster in True's honor. At the Denver Public Library is Allen True and American Illustration, examining his early work in illustration. In the Denver Art Museum's Hamilton Building is Allen True the Fine Artist, which examines his easel painting career. And finally, there's Art for the Public: Allen True's Murals, on the lower level of the Colorado History Museum. The shows demonstrate that True was a top talent and will help to correct the fact that he's mostly been forgotten. Through March 28 at the Denver Public Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-1111, www.denverlibrary.org; the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org; Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway, 303-866-3682, www.coloradohistory.org. Reviewed January 7.
Jeff Aeling, Rick Dula and Jeanette Pasin Sloan. Contemporary realism is the dominant theme that binds these three elegant solos at Havu. The main attraction is Jeff Aeling, dedicated to the St. Louis-based painter, who spent many years in Colorado. Aeling's subject is the Great Plains — or, more specifically, the skies over them. His handsome Western-style landscapes in wide black frames capture the minimalism of the prairie topography juxtaposed with the complicated atmospheric events in the clouds overhead. In the salon, toward the back, is Rick Dula, featuring an assortment of this Denver artist's hyperrealist paintings, including some from his well-known series dedicated to the Denver Art Museum's Hamilton Building. Dula's related mural, "A Moment of Time: Here" is one of the standouts in Embrace!, on view now at the DAM. On the mezzanine at Havu, there's Jeanette Pasin Sloan, made up of fanatically realistic still-life watercolors. Like many photo-realism pioneers, Sloan revels in reflective and translucent surfaces that show off her remarkable drafting skill. Through February 20 at William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, www.williamhavugallery.com.
Jim Milmoe: Choice. Jim Milmoe is a legend in the local photo scene, with a career that's more than six decades long (he's lived Colorado since the 1940s, when he graduated from Colorado College). The photos displayed in this show at the Byers-Evans House briefly survey his considerable output. Some date back over half a century, while others were just done during the last few months. Over that considerable period, Milmoe has done a wide range of things, and in Choice, he highlights some of the ongoing series he's worked on, including "People," "Found Art," Nature," "Cemeteries," "Architectural Details," "Abstraction" and "Humor." The photos reflect many of the technical changes that have affected photography over the years; for instance, some were made with film while others are digital. He's also worked in both color and black-and-white imagery. But if there's one thing that does link nearly all the disparate approaches he's taken, it's Milmoe's abiding interest in doing straight-on shots. Through January 31 at the Byers-Evans House Gallery, 1310 Bannock Street, 303-620-4933, www.coloradohistory.org/be.
Robert Mangold. The dean of Denver's modern sculptors is the subject of a solo for the first time in more than four years. Simply titled Robert Mangold, it is made up of fairly recent work and contains examples of many well-known series, including his famous "Anemotive Kinetics," which are wind-driven spheres made up of colorful metal scoops mounted on rods, and his "PTTSAAES," sculptures, which do not move but are meant to suggest movement. These linear compositions purportedly record the hypothetical and seemingly random movements of an object as suggested by the acronym that stands for "Point Traveling Through Space at an Erratic Speed." Through January 30 at Artyard Contemporary Sculpture, 1251 South Pearl Street, 303-777-3219, www.artyardsculpture.com. Reviewed December 3.
Streams of Modernism. A smart-looking survey of modern design put together by guest curators Katherine and Michael McCoy, this show features some of the many important pieces of furniture — mostly chairs — that are part of the Kirkland's impressive permanent collection. The McCoys' narrative is that designers influence one another, and they've taken a doctrinaire approach to the topic, creating a direct line that connects early-twentieth-century vanguard works to pieces done in the late twentieth century. The survey begins with works by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Rennie Mackintosh before moving on to Bauhaus masters; it continues with objects by the Cranbrook fellows and concludes with objects by Italian designers of the '50s through the '70s. Through January 24 at the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, 1311 Pearl Street, 303-832-8576, www.kirklandmuseum.org. Reviewed November 12.