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Curatorial & Projects

"In two short years, gallerist Doug Kacena has realigned the artist hierarchy in Denver, assembling a stable of painters and makers who have delivered consistently solid exhibitions while sparking their own commercial careers."


-Denver Post, December 2019

Carlos Martiel, "Third Person", August 2020

Curated by Marisa Caichiolo, produced by Doug Kacena


“Third Person” as part of “Black Bodies — White Lies” produced with the support of the Biennial of the Americas and K Contemporary Gallery. Projected videos were seen at The Armory, Daniels & Fisher Tower and Night Lights Denver, History Colorado Center, RiNo, Denver, USA.


“I stand naked in the center of the gallery while three white US citizens film me with their mobile phones. The videos are broadcasted live in different locations of the city, giving passers-by who do not have physical contact with me, a fragmented and distorted view of my body.” - Carlos Martiel. 


This work was an incredibly powerful addition to the legacy of live projection in Denver. In it, the idea of the contemporary conception of a Black body was explored, through the lens of white America, in order to call attention to the social, environmental, and economic inequalities that Black communities experience every day. Martiel was first invited by Doug and K Contemporary to be part of the Biennial of the Americas in 2019, where he performed live at a storefront near the Denver Art Museum. “Black Bodies — White Lies” was his second invitation to Denver.

Read more about it in 303 Magazine


#ArtFindsUs, Summer 2020

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When the art world shut down, Doug thought about ways to bring it safely to people. That resulted in a series of mobile billboard trucks adorned with fine art reproductions, traveling around Denver and Boulder to spark joy in people who happened to see it. #ArtFindsUs was an instant hit, galvanizing the art world — especially some local performance artists — to think creatively about their response to the pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of society's cultural offerings. The program expanded into a citywide celebration and a resulting partnership with Athena Projects.

Read more about it in The Denver Post, Westword, and 303 Magazine

Colorado Governor's Mansion

Contemporary Pop-Up Exhibitions


Originally built as a private residence in 1908, the Colorado Governor’s Mansion on Eighth Avenue in Denver has served as a home for the state’s governors since the 1960s. Doug Kacena curated and sponsored a one-night-only art event at the mansion.


Titled In Response, this group show featured the work of notable Colorado artists represented by K Contemporary. Each artist reacted to the history of the house and created pieces designed for a specific room. The opulence, elegance and eminence of the historic building fueled their processes, setting the stage for each to respond through the experience of art.


The unique event benefited the Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund (GRPF) and was supported by and attended by Governor Jared Polis.


Read more about it in 303 Magazine

Shawn Huckins "Fool's Errand" June / July 2020

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Looking at the things that make a society thrive and what may lead to its collapse, Shawn Huckins presented an entire solo show for K Contemporary. Using Roman sculpture as a preemptive warning of a failed society and paranormal hands as a symbol of current day manipulations of the past, Huckins explored our relationship with the past and how that affects our current understanding of the state of the world and our place in it today. The increasingly chaotic society we live in could potentially be at a colossal tipping point and Huckins’ work foreshadows the edge we must back away from if we are to survive. 


Read more about it in Westword

Jonathan Saiz, 'Colorado Coastal' June / July 2019

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Composed of 1,000 artworks varying in size, as well as floor-to-ceiling vinyl lettering that stretched 45 feet in length, this solo exhibit at K Contemporary in 2019 explored a new Colorado landscape in a post-dystopian world. Instead of mountains, artist Jonathan Saiz imagined a vast seascape, where all of the reminders of Colorado — beloved landmarks, forests of pine trees, the great plains — are submerged. Through the use of oil paintings that evoke the movement and grandeur of waves, he offered an ominous warning — Colorado is still landlocked, for now. The black lettering across from the seascape read “THE WRITING ON THE WALL.” 


Doug encouraged Saiz’s probing of the gallery space for this exhibition, as well as Saiz’s use of the platform to stir up conversation regarding climate change. “Colorado Coastal” as a show was made in direct conversation with an installation made by Saiz at the Denver Art Museum, titled #WhatIsUtopia. 


See more about this exhibit at K Contemporary.

Read more about it in Southwest Contemporary.

Suchitra Mattai, 'Fugue' at The Vault, Summer 2019

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In this curatorial adventure, Doug displayed a solo show of work by Suchitra Mattai — an artist he has represented for years through K Contemporary — outside the gallery walls. Although the setting shared the same open concept and white walls as most contemporary galleries, the atmosphere Doug cultivated was more like an intimate house party with the artist. 


Mattai’s work at 'Fugue' incorporated the textures and patterns that have become essentially hers — woven saris, embroidered Colonial needlepoints, island fabric prints. Speaking to the migration of cultures, the role of women, and the effects of globalization, Mattai presented an alluring way to dissect such nuanced issues of identity.   


See more images of this show at K Contemporary

Hunt Slonem, "Curiouser and Curiouser" 2021

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Hunt Slonem’s first solo exhibition in Denver, “Curiouser and Curiouser,” co-curated by gallery owner Doug Kacena and Denver-based artist Jonathan Saiz, running Sept. 10 through Nov. 6. 


Since 1977, Hunt Slonem has had more than 350 exhibitions at prestigious galleries and museums internationally. Globally, more than 250 museums include his work in their collections, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.


The K Contemporary exhibition will include more than 200 of Slonem’s iconic pieces, including neon, glass, painting, bronze and outdoor sculptures. Drawing inspiration from the spiritual and natural worlds, Slonem is renowned for his distinct neo-expressionist style. His prolific “maximalist” paintings of wildlife, most notably bunnies, butterflies and tropical birds, are often repeated on a large scale, as a meditative visual mantra.


“Hunt’s work creates a temple of extreme materiality that reminds us of our abundant natural potential. The repetition of painted and sculptural forms activates a larger, spiritual process infused by Hunt and felt by the viewer, and his primal colors vibrate and inspire,” said co-curator Jonathan Saiz. “We’re curating this exhibition as an immersively decadent experience, providing context to Slonem’s work and serving as a colorfully lush, extroverted counterpoint to the insular feeling that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.”


“‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ will be a spectacle of an exhibition,” said Doug Kacena, co-curator and K Contemporary gallery owner. “The exhibit will immerse viewers in Slonem’s world of abundance to better tell his story. Using wallpaper, paint, vintage furniture and object suspension, we’re creating an environment where the artist’s artwork is corresponding with itself, presenting something so big and loud that we hope people will feel quiet enough to interact with it.” 

Art Fairs / LA / Miami / Aspen

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Doug has attended Art Fairs on behalf of the artists he represents since he opened K Contemporary in 2017. Although some gallerists and curators do not see the benefit in the Art Fair model, Doug has attracted the attention of national and international collectors for artists based in Denver, which historically has proven difficult and unlikely. Doug’s passion and commitment to displaying artist’s work with taste and a flair for marketing at these events results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales as well as praise for the artists he cares about. 


K Contemporary, with Doug at the helm, has attended the L.A Art Fair twice, the Aspen Art Fair, the Jackson Hole Art Fair, Pulse and Untitled at Art Basel in Miami, as well as many others.

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