Talking Shop

'Tis the season for galleries to push affordable art for the holidays, so Gilbert Barrera and Ivar Zeile of the Cordell Taylor Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, put their heads together in an effort to package the concept in brand-new wrapping paper. The result, an exhibit titled It¹s a Boy!, opens Friday, November 22, with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. The show is both a tease and a great opportunity: The duo invited the gallery's entire stable of artists to create works of art small enough to fit inside a cigar box and sell at a price of $150 or less. The edge? You don't get to peek inside until after you buy the box.

"The whole idea is that people will buy the boxes based on the artists' reputations," Zeile says. "We wanted to do something that would make art pieces accessible for the holidays, but also, we've been bringing in a lot more artists under our representation, and we wanted it to be a project that would get them all together collectively for an event. And we also wanted it to be something low-stress, fun and invigorating for them." Each closed box, he adds, "becomes the groundwork for the piece," establishing unmistakable clues about the secret contents.

Zeile admits that he's cheating: "In terms of looking at them, that's hard to resist," he says of the works already arriving at the gallery. But he also rationalizes that someone has to be responsible for quality control. So far, it hasn't presented a problem. And in the interest of the buying public, he notes, no participating artist can claim another's box until the end of opening night, although remaining boxes will be available through December 20.

Aside from that, you're on your own. Shop dangerously! For details, call 303-296-0927 or log on to

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd