Marc Brandenburg. The latest German artist to be introduced to local audiences by Denver Art Museum director Christoph Heinrich is Marc Brandenburg, a Berlin native. The artist is the subject of a handsome solo, Marc Brandenburg: Deutch-Amerikanishe Freundschaft, installed on level three of the Hamilton Building. Brandenburg came up with the German punk scene of the '80s, and the show's title, which means "German-American Friendship," is also the name of a rock band. His style is hyper-realist with a twist: Working in graphite on paper and using photos as studies, Brandenburg reverses the blacks and whites. Among the range of subjects are people out and about, on the streets or in parks. Technically, Brandenburg is as good as it gets; his drawings are breathtakingly precise. His punk heritage is hardly on view, but his continuing interest in being outrageous is well demonstrated by the floor drawing "Vomit," in which the artist has photographed vomit on the sidewalk and then done copies in graphite. Through February 20 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed December 16.
Over the River. For nearly twenty years, artist Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, planned the "Over the River" project, a series of sunshades that hopefully will be installed in a few years as a temporary work of art on intermittent stretches of the Arkansas River in southern Colorado. It's not clear yet whether or not it will happen, though it is clear that a campaign has been mounted against it. In Denver, we're lucky to be just a few hours' drive from the proposed setting — and also to have the opportunity to carefully examine the idea through Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado, a Work in Progress, on display at MCA Denver. The exhibit originated with Christo himself, and it suits well the mandate of the museum to encourage dialogue in the visual arts. The show is beautiful and coolly elegant, its coolness having something to do with all the blue sky in the mixed-media works on view. That coolness is also the perfect analogy for "Over the River," since the water, and the sunscreens, would have a cooling effect on viewers — if it's ever built, that is. Through January 16 at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, www.mcadenver.org. Reviewed November 4.