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2011: Year in Preview. Bobbi Walker, owner of Walker Fine Art, has employed a clever way to create an automatic group show by putting together examples of work by all of the artists who will be featured in duets this year. The show looks good, but what's really neat is the way it demonstrates the direction in which the gallery is headed. It's interesting to note that Walker has strengths in abstract painting and sculpture, photography and, with Denver master Roland Bernier on board, conceptualism. Bernier, who displays a series of his classic word pieces on paper, is just one of several significant Colorado artists represented by Walker; others include Albert Chong, Ben Strawn, Bonny Lhotka, Mark Castator and up-and-coming photo- and installation artist Sabin Aell. There are also artists from elsewhere who are part of the festivities — notably, the Corvo Brothers, who do surrealist photos. Through February 5 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A, 303-355-8955,

Isca Greenfield-Sanders. An up-and-coming New York art star is the subject of a beautiful solo, Isca Greenfield-Sanders: Light Leaks in the David & Laura Merage Foundation Gallery on the first floor of MCA Denver. The exhibit has been curated by Nora Burnett Abrams, who has also done an accompanying catalogue. Greenfield-Sanders searches yard sales and thrift shops for amateur snapshots from the recent past. For the works in this show, she specifically looked for images that were overexposed and technical failures. Then, using digital technology and painting, she turned them into handsome examples of conceptual realism. The works have a narrative character that refers to the life of affluent white suburbanites. Considering Greenfield-Sanders's reliance on flawed originals of banal subjects — not to mention the use of high-tech mediums — it's interesting how conventionally beautiful the works are. They're reminiscent of the mid-century work of Fairfield Porter, who likewise addressed the art of his own identity. Through January 16 at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, Reviewed December 2.

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, Reviewed December 16.

Moore in the Gardens. Henry Moore, who died in 1986, was Great Britain's most important modern sculptor. Born in 1898, he began to create artwork shortly after World War I, becoming internationally famous by the 1930s. Moore was one of a legion of important artists who responded to Picasso's surrealism, but he made the style his own. This traveling exhibit, sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation, has been installed on the grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens, with two pieces at the DBG annex at Chatfield (8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton). The main part of the exhibit begins in the Boettcher Memorial Center, where a collection of the artist's tools and maquettes are crowded into showcases, and where a single work has been installed in a fountain. Most of the other pieces have been displayed around the gardens. The monumental works, typically in bronze, look absolutely perfect in the landscaped settings. Through January 31 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3500, Reviewed June 17.

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, Reviewed November 4.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia