For Now Showing, our fall arts guide inserted in the September 27 issue of Westword, we asked dozens of luminaries on the local arts scene -- including winners of the Westword MasterMind awards -- to take a survey about the state of the arts. We published many of the responses in Now Showing, but answers keep coming in, so we're sharing them on Show and Tell.
Getting straight to the art today: Adam Gildar, a 2011 MasterMind who's the owner of Gildar Gallery, where Powers of Ten, a show of works by Pattie Lee Becker, is on display through October 20. See also: - Now Showing: Our fall arts guide - MasterMind: Illiterate/Adam Gildar - Jill Hadley Hooper gets straight to the art
Westword: Aside from your arts organization (or yourself), who is doing the most interesting work in metro Denver right now?
Adam Gildar: I think a lot of people and organizations are doing interesting work in Denver. I find that I particularly gravitate to those who consistently push for new horizons, challenging the expectations of their audiences and also themselves.
Right now the artist who regularly pushes me to see differently is Ethan Garton. He's sort of Denver's Rimbaud in visual form -- an untamed and passionate outsider confronting the conflicts inherent in attempting a sincere existence amid a post-industrial urban setting. There's a certain grotesque beauty in that struggle that he's been able to capture in his drawings, paintings and his life, for that matter. That's a mad mouthful, and you'll get another if you sit down with him at his studio for tea and a hand-rolled cigarette sometime. Of course, he is really one of many people making interesting work.
That's what I love about Denver. Per capita, there is an incredible amount of creative energy here, and the list of individuals dedicating themselves to their own odd vision is impressive and, I'd venture to say, growing.
On the organizational level, right now I've been liking what's happening with free literary, music and comedy events at Deer Pile, plus their logo still makes me blush, which is a good thing. I'm a big fan of the MCA's programming this last year. I think its director, Adam Lerner, is this very endearing weirdo who wears smart tailored suits in a casual cowtown (yes, I said the dreaded CT), and isn't afraid to take some major chances questioning the role of what it means to be an art institution while still putting on potent exhibitions.
I also think in the wake of the Lab leaving Belmar, the 'burbs are getting a good dose of experimental art, whether they like it or not, with Fraction Gallery and Colorado Photographic Arts Center. Cortney Stell, the gallery director over at RMCAD, is doing some amazing work showcasing both national and local talent. She always puts out the coolest custom show cards for exhibitions that I regularly add to my "awesome shwag" file. Last up, I'm not sure if Boulder counts as Denver metro, but if it does, BMoCA is another favorite, bringing some much-needed strangeness to that comfortable culture. When you go out on the town, what's your favorite cultural activity? I tend to get pretty caught up in the visual-art world when going out, seeing what other galleries and institutions are up to, going to talks and fundraisers and the like. When I go out with no agenda, though, I like to see films at the Mayan theater in my neighborhood, which is just one of the most wonderful places to see a movie, with its "art deco Mayan revival" decor, not to mention you can have a beer with your popcorn -- a pretty perfect cinematic experience, in my opinion.
What's the one thing you'd like to see happen over the next year to improve the local arts scene? The one thing I'd like to see happen to improve the local art scene? I'd love to see an art press emerge in Denver. Even something not in print, like a dedicated contemporary arts blog that incorporates the Denver scene into the larger art-world dialogue, would be great. It would also be great if there was funding to pay talented (and probably equally poor) writers to populate it with relevant content. I also think it would elevate the cachet of the whole city to see a living Denver artist sell a million-dollar object.
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Read dozens of other responses to our Now Showing arts survey here.