When First Friday collides with Denver Arts Week on Friday, November 2, it will create an explosion of exhibition openings, $52.80 art deals at galleries all over town and, as it happens, Día de los Muertos street celebrations connected to artwalks in the Santa Fe Drive and 40 West arts districts. On Saturday, November 3, take advantage of DAW’s Night at the Museums to visit the Denver Art Museum, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, the Clyfford Still Museum and the Byers-Evans House Museum gallery in the Golden Triangle, as well as the close-by Museo de las Americas, all for free. You’ll also find plenty of art to explore in RiNo and other regional art districts. But just in case you’re still confused about where you want to land this weekend, here are some standout stops.
Kim Harrell, Back to the Garden
Mai Wyn Fine Art, 744 Santa Fe Drive
November 1 through December 1
Preview Reception: Thursday, November 1, 6 to 8 p.m.
First Friday Reception: Friday, November 2, 5 to 10 p.m.
Silversmith Kim Harrell might be best known for her stunning, bare-bones sterling-silver jewelry set with an occasional gemstone, but she also delves into sculpture and ultra-modern functional pieces, from kitchen spoons and bubble-blowers to impossibly smart-looking articles she calls “moon bowls,” all of them almost too fine to use. She’ll be showing off a variety of objects in her first fully solo show at Mai Wyn, and you can catch the exhibition while it’s fresh this weekend during two nights of receptions, with or without a crowd.
Relay: Paintings by Margaret Pettee Olsen
808 Projects, 808 Santa Fe Drive
November 1 through 30
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 1, 6 to 8 p.m.
Margaret Pettee Olsen, an abstract painter with a background in limited-edition lithography, brings a printmaker’s ethos into her work, which consists of polymer-layered canvases that are painted in broadly brushed swaths of organic tangles, drips and markings she calls “edits.” See Olsen’s latest at this exhibition curated by Denver art writer Stephanie Grilli.
Día de los Muertos
Ingrid vB. Porter, Other Worldly
Ian Bullard and Hillary Muramoto, Gauntlet Eyes
Art Gym Denver, 1460 Leyden Street
November 1 through 23
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 1, 5 to 8 p.m.
Art Gym gives over its main gallery to a group Día de los Muertos exhibition curated by resident artist and printmaker Tony Ortega, who also participates in the nod to the Mexican tradition. In the Common Space Gallery, two shows — Other Worldly, by painter and book artist Ingrid vB. Porter, and Gauntlet Eyes, with works by metalsmith Hillary Muramoto and artist Ian Bullard. Word is that there’ll be chocolate at the reception.
ReCreative Denver, 765 Santa Fe Drive
Opening Reception: Friday, November 2, 6 to 9 p.m.
Get real: Wrangled together by Curtis Tucker and Danielle Cunningham-Tierney, the group show Self takes a deep look at how to present oneself three-dimensionally in a world where social media blankets the truth under a glossy surface. Dianna Miguez, Wyatt Scott, Thomas Scharfenberg, Kelly Shortandqueer, Michael F. Sperandeo and Frankie Toan give online personalities a reality check with their installations and artwork, some of them elaborating further with a series of consecutive Saturday workshops in November. Make a zine with Caito Foster of Spit Poet Zine and the Denver Zine Library on November 3 ($5); Sperandeo dishes on digital symbols on November 10 ($20); and Wyatt Scott invites folks to hang out and sculpt noodle people on November 17 ($20). Buy tickets in advance online at ReCreative’s home page or at the door.
Neighborhoods: New Work by Tracy Weil
Weilworks, 3611 Chestnut Place
Opening Reception: Friday, November 2, 5 to 9 p.m.
Open by appointment only thereafter via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tracy Weil is the grand old man of RiNo, a warehouse-district pioneer who built his distinctive Chestnut Street tower in a run-down neighborhood in the northwest corner of Five Points long before RiNo had a name, much less an art district. Weil used to regularly mount gallery exhibitions at his quirky home base and studio, but years of starting up art districts, building community for artists and tomato farming kept him too busy to be a gallerist, too. But things change, and Weil is ready to open the doors of Weilworks to the public again for "Neighborhoods," his own large-scale, twenty-by-seven-foot, mural-esque painting inspired by the legacies and history of the once-forgotten connecting neighborhoods surrounding RiNo. Have a gander and learn the painting’s full story, then head across the street, where the Ironton Distillery is reviving Ironton Gallery with a show by tattoo artists Sam Parker and Scott Santee.
Trumped II: Teasin' Treason
Pattern Shop Studio, 3349 Blake Street
November 2 through December 7
Opening Reception: Friday, November 2, 6 to 9 p.m.
Election Night: Tuesday, November 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
Closing Reception: Friday, December 7, 6 to 9 p.m.
Sharon Brown does some reviving of her own in RiNo for Denver Arts Week and election season with Trumped II: Teasin' Treason, a new collection of hilarious portraits of Trump and his Republican cronies at her Pattern Shop gallery and residence. In deference to politics, Brown will also open the gallery on election night so folks can have a laugh and keep an eye on the returns with fingers crossed. Can’t make any of the three receptions? Make an appointment through the holidays at 303-297-9831.
Natural Persuasion: Jamey Stillings and Greer Muldowney
Colorado Photographic Arts Center, 1070 Bannock Street
Through December 1
Reception: Friday, November 2, 6 to 9 p.m.
A new two-person exhibit at CPAC makes environmental observations by showcasing "The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar," a photographic series of black-and-white helicopter views of a massive Mojave Desert solar-power plant covered with thousands of reflective mirrors, and "Urban Turbines," Greer Muldowney’s series of views of New England wind turbines caught in city settings. Both photographers will speak at the reception.
The Space Between, with Avifauna
Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue
Closing Reception: Friday, November 2, 6 to 9 p.m.
It’s your last chance to catch Walker Fine Art’s beautiful group exhibition The Space Between, and because it’s also Denver Arts Week, there will be some artsy entertainment at the closing reception: the Denver artist-band Avifauna, which includes two Walker stable-mates, keyboardist Mark Penner Howell and lead singer Meagen Svendsen, who happens to have an installation in the show. Way to round things out! Have a look and a listen.
Dylan Griffith, Rainbow Body
Alto Gallery, 4345 West 41st Avenue
November 2 through December 1
Opening Reception: Friday, November 2, 6 to 10 p.m.
Alto Gallery hatches two shows for Denver arts week. Soliloquy, curated by Eric Anderson and Tiffany Graham to provide artists with an arena for experimentation, free of outcome expectations, is displayed up front, while Dylan Griffith’s Rainbow Body, a riff on Southwestern mysticism and comics, will fill the back gallery with illustrations, paintings and zines by the former Arizonan.
Sammy Lee and Eriko Tsogo, Saving Lions by Killing Them
Odessa Denver, Collective SML | k, 430 Santa Fe Drive
November 3 through 29
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 3, 6 to 10 p.m.
The curatorial team at Odessa Denver tops off a year of shows popping up at Collective SML | k with Saving Lions by Killing Them, a mixed-media installation by Sammy Lee and Eriko Tsogo, two Denver-based women with East Asian roots (Lee is originally from Seoul, and Tsogo was born in Ulaanbaatar). Together, Lee and Tsogo explore the changing dynamic between home and the world and the art of reinventing who you are wherever you land.
Joseph Coniff, Base Value
Dateline Gallery, 3004 Larimer Street
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 3, 6 to 10 p.m.
Rule Gallery artist Joseph Coniff takes a side trip to Dateline for Base Value, a series of wall sculptures made from building materials and found objects related to buildings. Conceptually, the show is about nature overtaken by the strictures of civilization and industrialization, covered over in plastic materials and thinking.
Nina Tichava, Same As It Ever Was
Karen Roehl, Cobbled Landscapes
K Contemporary, 1412 Wazee Street
28th Annual Holiday Miniatures Show
Abend Gallery, 1412 Wazee Street
All shows November 3 through 24
Opening Receptions: Saturday, November 3, 6 to 9 p.m.
The LoDo gallery complex at 1412 Wazee Street will host openings for two resident art venues — K Contemporary and Abend — to ring in Denver Arts Week. In the main gallery, K Contemporary showcases work from three series — Lanterns, Botanicals and Weavings — by Santa Fe-based painter Nina Tichava, who carefully constructs her work in complex abstracted patterns and shapes held together with mathematical accuracy, with landscape abstractionist Karen Roehl in the Project Space. At Abend, which specializes in figurative and representational art, things are beginning to look like Christmas, with the advent of the gallery’s traditional and affordable holiday season miniatures show, comprising more than 200 works by fifty-plus artists.
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Next Stage Gallery, 1025 13th Street
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 3, 6 to 8 p.m.
Join CU Denver art instructor Melissa Furness and her CU Denver Art Theory & Practice students at downtown art niche Next Stage for a real-time art-history lesson on the process-oriented Fluxus movement of the ’60s and ’70s. Enjoy student manifestos and Flux films, and take home a free Flux Kit of tiny original artworks if you’re one of the first sixty people to walk in the door.
The Incubation Effect: Nicole Banowetz
Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway
November 4 through September 9, 2019
Whenever inflatables artist Nicole Banowetz gets a room to fill with air-filled sculptures stitched together into shapes of oversized insects, it’s worth noting, especially when the internationally known balloon lady does it in Denver. The Denver Art Museum, to be exact — where Banowetz has created a walk-through wonder world of cocoons and larvae that’s fun for the whole family. And as the museum is free for all youth ages eighteen and younger, the gate admission for many families won’t empty their wallets.