To begin with, Lerner tentatively placed locals in pseudo-exhibits in the unfortunately named Poop Deck. But the first Colorado artist to be given proper gallery space at the Lab -- and to thus actually break this geographic version of the color barrier -- was Phil Bender, (pictured), the Mile High City’s premier folk conceptualist.
Bender’s show, Last Place, which closed this past Sunday, was a crowded affair filled to the brim with his signature assemblages in which the artist collects together a group of similar things—ladders, rulers, belts, pictures, whatever—and then simply lines them up on the walls. It may sound ridiculously simple, but it often works, leading to creations that are powerful and fun to look at.
Though its run is over, the installation is still in place and will provide the backdrop for Bender Bender, billed as “a party” and “roast” of the artist. It gets under way tonight, Tuesday, May 6, at 7 p.m. at the Lab (404 South Upham Street, 303-934-1777, www.belmarlab.org) and is free with prior registration. — Michael Paglia