1) Redline Uber Alles
Denver is home to some excellent cooperatives, but Redline stakes out a different territory, with most artists applying for 2 year residencies, and other more established artists granted studios as mentors (Clark Richert being among the most prominent.) 2010 seemed to be the year of Redline with several top notch exhibits at the RiNo facility (Redline: Cross Ties Across Time featuring excellent work by new members Conor King and Derrick Velasquez; Redline: Artists' Footprints curated by Viviane Le Courtois; Love Lines which featured some of Denver's top tier artists alongside national names like Kiki Smith and Ann Hamilton courtesy of Robischon Gallery). In addition, Redline artists took part in events throughout the city (Buell: Ian Fisher, Republic Plaza: RedLine @ Republic Plaza, and Bruce Price at Plus, among others.) Redline also played host to a variety of lectures and artist talks throughout the year, and I'm looking forward to Sterling Crispin's new "Postmedia Critiques" taking place the first Thursday of each month throughout 2011.
(left: Derrick Velasquez at Redline)
2) CVA on Santa Fe
The Center for Visual Art found a new home on Santa Fe Drive and has quickly become the anchor tenant for the district, mounting 2 excellent exhibits, Soaring Voices: Recent Ceramics by Women from Japan, and Merge: a Metro State Alumni Exhibition, which highlighted the vast pool of talent that has graced Denver's artist community over the last 3 decades post graduation. The spacious new gallery serves well as a forum for the many student shows hosted by the Center throughout the year, and the final BFA show featured interesting work by a number of students including Nate Obee's "Airplane Machine," a Rube Goldberg contraption that performs the mundane task of making a paper airplane, and Gregory Tait's melting ice works "...Explores the Time Cost of Now."
(right: Gregory Tait at the CVA)
3) Robischon's Extra Space
The CVA's departure left the Robischon Gallery, where the CVA had been a next-door neighbor for years, with a vast suite of walls that were put to good use throughout the year, but last summer's Covering Ground stood out; it was the closest thing Denver has had to an in-depth contemporary photography exhibit in recent memory, featuring intersting work from Jim Sanborn, Gonzalo Lebrija and Gary Emrich among others. Kudos to gallery directory Jim Robischon for spending some time on the emerging artist's scene by juroring one of Boxcar Gallery's Semi-Annual exhibitions as well as lending his talent to the Working With Artists Photo-A-GoGo: Portfolio Reviews.
4) Denver's "Bienalle"
Despite the controversy surrounding the abrupt departure of Bruce Mau as the driving force behind Denver's Biennial of the Americas, the central exhibit "The Nature of Things" at the renovated McNichols building in Civic Center Park was most ably curated by Paola Santoscoy who brought in some great talent, including Gregory Euclide who is represented by Denver's David B. Smith Gallery and photographer Lucia Koch of Sao Paulo, Brazil. I don't know what the future holds for Denver's little Bienalle, but I can say without doubt that The Nature of Things was a special treat, one of the years highlights. Also of note was Janet Echelman's colorful, enigmatic aerial sculpture "1.26" spanning 14th Street by the DAM.
(left: Janet Echelman's "1.26")
Piggybacking on the Biennial, Ex-Denverite and current graduate student Lauri Lynnxe Murphy curated "Objectophilia" spanning 2 downtown locations circa the MCA, featuring an outstanding crew of local and national artists including Rian Kerrane, Phil Bender, Andrew Novick, Portia Munson, Dave Seiler and David Zimmer. My favorite of the show: Greg Carideo's Cut and Re-Assembled Cassette Tapes.
6) Gonzalo Lebrija's Hot Rod
Also popping up outside the MCA Denver during the Biennial was one of Denver's most unusual public artworks, Gonzalo Lebrija's "History of Suspended Time: Monument for the Impossible," a novel work featuring an upended auto, nose down into a shallow pool that without doubt turns heads. Other 2010 public sculpture of note: Christopher Lavery's Cloudscape and a variety of Public Art at Plus.
(right: Gonzalo Lebrija's "History of Suspended Time: Monument for the Impossible")
7) Heads of Hydra
(left: photographer Richard Peterson)
Denver photography collective "Heads of Hydra" who at various times is composed of David Zimmer, Cornelia Peterson, Mark Sink, Chris Perez, Richard Peterson, John Babcock, Sabin Aell, Katie Taft and Norman Broomhall had 2 noteworthy exhibits, at Vertigo and Hinterland ("Becoming Visible"), and I especially enjoyed Katie Taft's meditation on her super woman alter ego "Vin Christine", named after the plant that bears fruit to the cancer medication that helped nurse her back to health. Also of note from HoH members was Richard Peterson's exhibition of punk rock photographs at the Photo Martini Club (and fascinating "Talk About Old-School-Punk-Art-Photography" public lecture as part of the exhibit) and Mark Sink's retrospective at the Byers-Evans House highlighting his years documenting the 1980's NYC art scene.
8) Rule Rules
It seems Robin Rule couldn't go wrong in 2010, with a non-stop cavalcade of excellent shows including Sarah McKenzie, Nathan Abels, Pard Morrison, Gregory Hayes and "4.0" and Yoshitomo Saito.
9) DenverArts Does Denver
Among my personal highlights for 2010 were helping out as guest juror for curator Mark Penner-Howell's "Locally Grown" exhibit at Core as well as participating as a guest on the weekly "Untitled Art Show" hosted by Erik Isaac and Michael Keen; thanks Mark, Erik and Mike!
10) Other exhibits of note:
- MCA: Michael Borremans and William Stockman
- Walker Fine Art: Eric Corrigan and M Vlasic & Mark Castator
- David B. Smith: Oliver Vernon, Josh Keyes and Ricky Allman
- Arvada Center: The Kirkland Museum Collection
- Hinterland: Allie Pohl and Peter Illig: The Logic of Dreams
- DAM: Face to Face and Exposure: Photos from the Vault
- Pirate: Amanda Gordon Dunn, Nick Silici, Michael Brohman and Bug
- Z Art Dept.: Herbert Bayer and Colorado Abstract
- Niza Knoll: Erik Isaac and WARHOLOVE (along with the Andy Warhol Birthday Celebration on Santa Fe Drive)
- Plus: You are Here
- Next: Lori Kanary
- Illiterate: Amanda Marie and Jason Appleton
- Sandra Phillips: Andrew Speer and Frank Sampson
- Ironton: Sharon Feder
- Edge: Susan Goldstein and John Davenport and Charlene Harlow
- Ice Cube: Theresa Anderson and Kathy Knaus
- Core: Jen Thario and Brianna Martray and The Love Show
(all photos by Ken Hamel/DenverArts.org)