Kyle MacMillan

  • Floyd D. Tunson, The Wrestlers, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 84".

    Floyd D. Tunson

    Floyd D. Tunson works across a remarkable range of media, and he is successful to varying degrees in all of them, as this forty-year retrospective at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center made clear. With 110 works on view—just a small fraction of the prolific sixty-five-year-old artist’s massive output—the survey offered an explosion of ideas and emotions, unhindered by any single stylistic mode. Graceful assemblages and swirling abstractions stood as compelling counterpoints to the locally based African-American artist’s piercing sociopolitical commentary on race and class relations

  • Sandy Skoglund, Pink Sink, 1977, ink-jet print, 16 x 16".

    Sandy Skoglund

    Having attained international success in the 1980s and ’90s, Sandy Skoglund has flown under the radar in recent years. But “The Invented World,” a compact yet surprisingly comprehensive exhibition at the Rule Gallery (where she has shown since 1988), compellingly demonstrated how relevant the Connecticut-born artist’s imaginative, often startling installations and photographs can still be. Taking her cue from the exploding consumer culture of the 1960s and ’70s and inspiration from, among other elements of first-wave Pop, Claes Oldenburg’s The Store, 1961, Skoglund describes herself as a “

  • Fred Sandback, Untitled (Four-Part Construction), 1981/2011, blue, orange, yellow, and black acrylic yarn, dimensions variable.

    Fred Sandback

    Perhaps no artist took more to heart Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famous dictum “Less is more” than Fred Sandback, who died in 2003 at age fifty-nine. Working with the humblest and most unlikely of materials, ordinary acrylic yarn, he upended conventional notions of sculptural space and substance. MCA Denver paid homage to the American Minimalist with a stunning career survey this fall, featuring twenty of his near-immaterial sculptures as well as four drawings, a painting, and a set of five serigraphs. This is the first time since the institution moved in 2007 to its permanent home—a

  • Dale Chisman, The Ring, 1989, acrylic on linen, 72 x 72".

    Dale Chisman

    Abstraction is central to the art history of Colorado. In 1948, fifteen progressive painters broke from the convention-bound Denver Artists Guild and organized their own exhibition, sparking such local newspaper headlines as “Modern vs. Traditional Painting Inspires Denver Artists’ Schism.” Dale Chisman, a Denver luminary who died in 2008 at age sixty-five, was an heir of this fertile movement, and his vibrant abstractions were enthusiastically sought by the Denver Art Museum and collectors across the region. While elsewhere in the country Chisman’s name may hardly generate a flicker of recognition,

  • Mamma Andersson, Hobnob, 2010, acrylic and oil on panel, 48 x 59".

    Mamma Andersson

    In 2004, the Swedish painter Mamma Andersson was included in a show at LA’s Hammer Museum called “The Undiscovered Country,” which explored a postmodern take on representation described by curator Russell Ferguson as a strategy of “painterly ambiguity.” At the time, Andersson was not well known in the States, yet it was immediately clear that her paintings epitomized an approach to form that could be characterized in Ferguson’s terms: Old dichotomies of abstraction and figuration had been erased, and art history had become available as a kind of stylistic smorgasbord to be drawn on at will.

  • Gao Brothers

    Whether touched directly by the Cultural Revolution or not, many Chinese artists work with that bloody, turbulent time as recent history. The Gao Brothers (Gao Qiang and Gao Zhen), driven by the memory of their father, who was arrested in 1968 as a counterrevolutionary and died in custody, rose to international fame in the 1990s as artistic provocateurs. In a practice that can be mocking and damning but also personal and meditative, they relentlessly challenge the legacy of Mao Zedong and explore its broader implications in the process, provoking, not surprisingly, the ire of the Chinese

  • Tony Oursler

    Visiting a show of Tony Oursler’s sculpture-based video projections is unsettling and surreal on several levels. First, disparate voices accost the viewer from multiple directions, literally calling out for attention but at the same time blurring together into a cacophonous mass of sound. Then there are the video images of usually disembodied faces or even parts of faces—just an eye or a mouth—that register as creepily real in the same way puppets can. These often pathetic figures seem eerily imprisoned, repeating the same words over and over again.

    Formally, the seven sculpture-video fusions in

  • “Embrace!”

    In the late 1990s, the Denver Art Museum sought to bring the “Bilbao effect” to Colorado. It selected architect Daniel Libeskind to oversee a $110 million expansion, and he designed a jutting, crystalline building with sharply sloped walls and ceilings. While some critics praised the unconventional structure, which opened in October 2006, others panned it, decrying in particular the challenges its angled spaces presented for the display of art. Not helping perceptions were a leaky roof and attendance that fell below optimistic projections.

    In 2008, a year after his arrival from Germany as curator

  • Dan Christensen

    Whether delicately hushed or eye-poppingly intense, Dan Christensen’s abstractions unfailingly offer an ever-changing mix of incandescent colors, looping lines, giant dots, frothy patches, and loose calligraphies.

    Christensen, who died in 2007, belonged to a group of painters who persisted in the legacy of postwar abstraction long after Conceptualism, video art, and other currents gained dominance in the 1960s and ’70s. And though the New York–based artist attracted the support of important critics, Clement Greenberg among them, and his paintings have joined the collections of more than thirty

  • Daniel Richter

    With the turn of the twenty-first century, painting boldly reasserted itself in German art, which for a decade had been dominated by photographers such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth. Among those leading the country’s latest burst of painters is Daniel Richter, whose work is being showcased (through January 11) in a midcareer survey at the Denver Art Museum. Richter’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States is a modification of a show organized in 2007 at the Hamburger Kunsthalle by Christoph Heinrich, who became the Denver Art Museum’s curator of modern and contemporary

  • Phil Bender

    Phil Bender might best be described as a pure assemblagist, his art being derived wholly from collecting and ordering. The term assemblage typically denotes work constructed from found objects that have been manipulated or recombined, but Bender’s approach to assemblage blurs into a Duchampian presentation of readymades. The Denver-based artist arranges commonplace objects such as toolboxes, potholders, and matchbooks into rows or grids of like things on walls, floors, and shelves. His recent exhibition “Last Place” was Bender’s largest solo show of a nearly three-decade career, featuring

  • Fang Lijun

    Born in 1963, Chinese artist Fang Lijun was still a student when his work was included in 1989’s milestone exhibition “No U-Turn,” at the China Art Gallery in Beijing. In the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Fang emerged as a pioneer of “cynical realism,” a style that writer Ben Davidson has characterized as a “mix of ennui and rogue humor.” And while he is still best known for his figurative paintings and wood-block prints—in particular those featuring his trademark bald Everyman—the artist has focused increasingly on sculpture in recent years.

    Fang’s first solo museum exhibition in