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MCA Denver Presents Installations by Brad Kahlhamer in the Promenade Space
Brad Kahlhamer, Untitled (Prairie Girls), 2007, mixed media 273 x 339 cm. Courtesy of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna.

DENVER.- The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver proudly announces Brad Kahlhamer in the Promenade Space, curated by Cydney Payton, Executive Director and Chief Curator of MCA DENVER. This exhibition includes watercolors as well as cardboard and bronze sculptures. The exhibition opens June 10, 2008 and runs through September 21, 2008. A public reception featuring the artist will be held on Friday, June 13 from 6-10pm. A Logan Conversation featuring Brad Kahlhamer, Cydney Payton and Dean Sobel (Director of the Clyfford Still Museum) will be held on Tuesday, June 10 from 6:30-7:30pm.

Both Rapid City and Prairie Girls by Brad Kahlhamer blend sex and death, urban and rural, artificial and natural, and dark and light. For Kahlhamer, the hidden language of things in-between is everything. His paintings and works on paper display an exuberant expressionistic line and mix the energy of country western music with Native American symbolism and subversive figuration that can include strippers and skeletons, as seen in his installations at MCA DENVER. A newly cast 9 1/2 foot tall bronze totem pole is on view for the first time. His installation projects take on a character that reads as landscape, swirling with an atavistic energy–as if a sound accompanies their visual rhythm.

“Kahlhamer’s paintings are an arena for him to explore the world of his ancestors and to create his own hybrid landscape that fuses his heritage with his own contemporary experience. He thinks of his paintings as his “third place”, as distinct from the “first place” of his conventional American upbringing with his adoptive parents, and the “second place” of his Native American heritage. Kahlhamer creates his own personal America in his work, scrambling the real and the imaginary. The prominent use of red, white, and blue in his works represents his own version of the American flag, constructed out of sky, water, and the American earth. Colors have specific symbolism in Kahlhamer’s paintings: Black is the East; his towers of black amplifiers stand in for skyscrapers and urban development. Blue is for sky, the wind, and velocity. Browns and reds are for earth and flesh. Yellow is for understanding. Transparency and openness are about possibility. “ -Jeffrey Deitch, “Brad Kahlhamer’s Friendly Frontier”, Brad Kahlhamer, Edizioni Charta, 2007.

Kahlhamer was born in 1956. He lives and works in New York City. He received a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He has exhibited at Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Deitch Projects, New York, NY and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, UK among many others.

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