The first five shows you should see in 2017

Photographer Maureen Drennan is part of CPAC's Relationship Show.


2017 has started and you should, too. Here are five interesting choices.


Evan Lorenzen, Odin, ink on paper, 2015

Les Petites Choses, Through Feb. 24, Processus.
We see a lot of “miniatures” shows this time of year and, by and large, they are attempts to sell works that are smaller than the usual gallery fare and therefore more affordable at a time when consumers are in a holiday shopping mode. Les Petites Choses, curated by Viviane Le Courtois and limited to objects under 2.5 inches,  does indeed offer little works at extraordinarily low prices, but it’s not a sell off. Instead, it’s an examination of our human fascination with tiny objects that are thoughtfully considered by their creators. To call this show adorable, with its dollhouse-sized drawings, ceramics, books and photos, might be to insult it, but it is totally adorable; an understated offering you shouldn’t miss.
In: Christine O’Dea, Justin Beard, Thomas Scharfenberg, Evan Lorenzen, Brandon Martinez, George P. Perez, Kate O’Donnell, Rian Kerrane, Tobias Flores, Derek Ralat, Jordan Knecht, Yoshitomo Saito and goods from the Denver Zine Library. Address: 955 24th St., Denver (at The Temple)


Stanley Bell at Michael Warren Contemporary

From the Ground Up, new work by Stanley Bell,  Through Jan. 21. Michael Warren Contemporary.
Stanley Bell doses his mixed media creations with psychedelic references to everything from anime to anatomy to classical architecture. The works, spread across the walls of Michael Warren Contemporary, are colorful and drippy image collages that feel simultaneously youthful and complicated, confident and confusing. Definitely a good effort for Santa Fe Drive. (Bell gives a talk at the gallery at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7)
Address:  760 Santa Fe Drive, Denver


Black Power Tarot at GOCA121

The Black Power Tarot, Jan. 13-April 1, GOCA 121 Gallery.
Musician King Khan and graphic designer Michael Eaton have gotten a lot of well-deserved attention for their update of the traditional tarot deck, which replaces the card’s traditional, and mostly-white, archetypes with familiar faces from contemporary African-American culture. Imagine Tina Turner as  he face of “fortitude” and Richard Pryor as “the fool.”  It’s been traveling around and makes its first Colorado stop at GOCA121, the most interesting place for art in downtown Colorado Springs.
Address: 121 S. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs



Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, through Jan. 8, RedLine.
The Artnauts and their big idea that art can save the world would seem naive — except for the fact that two decades in, the collective of 300 artists is still going strong and continuing to make work that challenges the world’s political and social order. RedLine has a new show, with works inspired by flags and curated by Linda Weintraub, and a play-by-play survey by Artnauts founder George Rivera, recapping the amazing exhibitions the group has presented across the globe. Some of Colorado’s biggest art names are in this crowd, but individual efforts aren’t the point, the work gets its power though collaboration.
Address: 2350 Arapahoe Street, Denver

Rally ‘Round the Flag of Justice at RedLine


Relationship Show, Jan. 20 – Feb. 25, 2017, Colorado Photographic Arts Center.
The Colorado Photographic Arts Center, you know it as CPAC, is once again moving, this time to a storefront on Bannock Street in the Golden Triangle. It’s still not the luxe headquarters Denver’s most prominent photo gallery needs or deserves but at least it’s in the museum district, and that is likely to lure new visitors. The first exhibit, titled Relationship Show, holds some promise. The descriptor — “four artists’ viewpoints on the beginning, end, and isolation within current relationships” — is a bit soapy, but the promo shots look refreshingly unsentimental and the four out-of-towners in the mix each present some challenge to photography-as-usual. Maureen Drennan, Laura Beth Reese, Matthew Swarts and Allison L. Wade take part.
Address: 1070 Bannock St, Denver.

Photo by Laura Beth Reese.




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