Arts and Culture

Now Showing: Adam Gildar gets straight to the art

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.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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