City Guide: Aspen

Art | Aug 2017 | BY Maxwell Williams

Every summer, some of the most important art collectors in the world—the Phelans, the Magoons, the De Soles, the Marxes, among them—leave their homes in New York, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and elsewhere to descend on the tiny village of Aspen, Colorado. The rest of the art world follows in August. The reason? ArtCrush, the Aspen Art Museum’s raucous celebration and fundraiser. Here are some can’t-miss locations and events surrounding ArtCrush 2017.

Aspen Art Museum

Aspen Art Museum. Photo by Michael Moran / OTTO.

Aspen Art Museum | 637 E Hyman Ave
Fischli/Weiss and Wade Guyton | Through November 26th
Swiss artists Fischli/Weiss (Peter Fischli and the late David Weiss) and Wade Guyton have built respective careers that thumbed their noses at the seriousness in art. They’ve come together for a sprawling, expansive show at the Aspen Art Museum, a jaw-dropping Shigeru Ban building smack in the middle of downtown Aspen. “It’s an unprecedented collaboration, and it’s an opportunity to learn more about each artists’ practices through not just new work that they made specifically for the Aspen Art Museum, but also to learn about how they really make exhibitions, and the way that they came together to make a really special, innovative, and unexpected exhibition,” says AAM director Heidi Zuckerman.

Photo by Robert Millman.

Baldwin Gallery | 209 S Galena St
Jim Hodges: Tracing the contours of our days | Through September 4th
In the big cities, art galleries take the summer off, or put together an experimental group show. Not so in Aspen. The 23-year-old Baldwin Gallery usually breaks out their big guns this time of year when the collector types all come to town for the natural summer beauty and ArtCrush. This year is no exception: Baldwin will be showing the works of New York-based artist Jim Hodges, coming off a touring survey that made stops at the ICA Boston, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Dallas Art Museum and the Hammer in L.A. in 2014 and 2015.

Ruscha’s Magic Isle, 1982. Courtesy of ©Casterline|Goodman Gallery.

Casterline/Goodman | 611 E Cooper Ave
Ed Ruscha: Rooms with Words | Through summer
Casterline/Goodman is the other blue chip gallery in downtown Aspen. Founded in 2011, they offer works by the likes of Kusama, Christo, Bourgeois, Twombly, Frankenthaler, and Weiwei, to name a few. This summer, they’re presenting a prime selection of Ed Ruscha paintings.

Diana Al-Hadid’s Smoke Screen, 2015. Photo by Joshua White.

Anderson Ranch Arts Center | 5263 Owl Creek Rd, Snowmass
Sisters on Top: Art-world professionals talk about Islam, Immigration and Ingenuity | August 3rd
Set on a 5-acre ranch in the idyllic foothills of Snowmass, Anderson Ranch is one of those perfectly situated art centers that attracts world-renowned artists for workshops and classes in the summer and residencies in the winter and spring. They also have a robust program of talks and lectures. On August 3rd, they’ll host one of their vibrant summer panel discussions: artists Diana Al-Hadid and Huma Bhabha will take the stage with gallerist Leila Heller and Cultured Contributing Editor and author Sarah Thornton for a talk that will center on “Islam and immigration in the art world.”

Aspen Art Museum

Artcrush 2016. Courtesy of Aspen Art Museum.

ArtCrush | Various locations | August 2 – 4
ArtCrush is a ticketed gala dinner that supports the Aspen Art Museum, but it’s probably the most fun possible iteration of those oft-stuffy benefits. Sure, there’s an auction of expensive art that allows the museum to put on top-notch shows like the Fischli/Weiss and Guyton show, but it’s so much more than that. It starts with WineCrush, held at mega-collectors Amy and John Phelan’s house; moves to PreviewCrush and PreviewExtra, where the auction items are presented to the public at Baldwin Gallery and Casterline/Goodman respectively; and it ends up at ArtCrush proper.

Every year, there is a surprise theme to the dinner—last year, guests were treated to a ribald burlesque show-carnival (yes, there was a Ferris wheel). This year, legendary artist Lawrence Weiner will be honored with the Aspen Award for Art, but Zuckerman always holds the theme close to the chest. “I will just say that the incredible artwork that Lawrence Weiner has donated to the live auction inspired the theme of ArtCrush,” Zuckerman riddles. “Also, part of why it makes extra sense for Aspen is because we’re always looking upward.”

Courtesy of Caribou Club.

Caribou Club | 411 E Hopkins Ave
It’s a private club, so it’s a bit tough to get into unless you know someone who knows someone. But apparently, there’s a chance that staying at a certain hotel can help you score reservations for their fantastic dinners. The hunting lodge themed interior, and excellent food and drinks is why Caribou Club is where Baldwin Gallery hosts most of their private dinners.

Hotel Jerome. Courtesy of hotel.

Hotel Jerome | 330 E Main St
Built in the 1880s, Hotel Jerome is a historical landmark that is also the best hotel in town. Between the amazing accommodations and the impeccable design, it’s no wonder legend has it that the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson haunts the hotel’s J-Bar, where the gonzo journalist used to hold court.

Photo by Jeremy Swanson.

Aspen Saturday Market | Downtown Aspen
As far as markets go, Aspen’s is amazing. There’s the requisite fresh fruits and veggies, as well as tons of artisan craftworks—ceramics, textiles, and the like—and it’s all strictly local. Snap up some local fireweed jelly or a handcrafted pot to take with you back home.

Michael Arches © 2017

Crater Lake
Up in the Elk Mountains of the Snowmass Wilderness, Crater Lake is one of the most majestic sights in the United States. And Aspen Art Museum’s Zuckerman—an avid outdoorswoman—says it’s a relatively easy day hike. “I hate to give away my secrets in terms of nature, but I really do think the hike to Crater Lake is amazing,” she says. “It’s on the route to Crested Butte, and you go up to Maroon Bells, and you park in the day parking lot, and it’s only about a two-and-a-half hour round-trip hike. It’s super beautiful. That’s the hike I took Peter Fischli and Wade Guyton on this year.”

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