The Aspen Ice Garden seems an unlikely venue to host a world-class art fair. But the two dozen nationally and internationally recognized art galleries that have combined to form the third annual ArtAspen fair have helped transform the space from a skater’s paradise to an art lover’s dream.
The four-day event — which kicked off Thursday and runs through Sunday, Aug. 5 — showcases an impressive collection of nearly 1,000 works by 200 respected artists representing an elite group of prominent galleries. The goal, says event producer Rick Friedman, is to craft a space and fill it with pieces that pay homage to Aspen’s well-earned reputation as an important fine art marketplace.
The temporary walls and carpeting — along with the 1,000 pieces of art valued at more than $100 million — render the ice rink nearly unrecognizable, as top artists, art collectors, curators, gallery owners and patrons prepare to converge on the venue.
Friedman is putting on the event for the third year after much success with ArtHamptons, now in its fifth year.
“Business was so great in the Hamptons,” Friedman says, “that the collectors and dealers started asking where else we could do this. So I started thinking about what other resorts were out there where the people were affluent, sophisticated tastemakers that understand art, and Aspen was at the top of the list.”
Attendees can expect post-war and contemporary art of all types ranging in price from a couple of thousand dollars up to a million dollars, though the bulk of the pieces will be in the $10,000-$50,000 range.
“This is a serious town looking for museum-quality contemporary art,” says Friedman, who has been collecting art for less than a decade. “And this is the only contemporary fine art fair in America occurring during the month of August, so I see this event growing into a required stop on the calendar of globetrotting art aficionados.”
While the entire show is meant to be awe-inspiring, here are a few not-to-miss galleries.
Cara y Cabezas Contemporary
The gallery will feature the work of Rita Blitt, international, award-winning painter/sculptor/filmmaker. Blitt has installed over 45 monumental sculptures up to 60 feet in height, and has had over 70 solo exhibitions. Her art celebrates her love of nature, music, dance and the spontaneous flow of movement captured in the drawn gesture. Her drawings and paintings, some of which become sculpture, are often created with two hands at once. She says, “When those lines come from my hands. . . I feel like I am dancing.”
Gallery M will present the exhibit “CAO vs. COW.” This show features the pop icons of Alex Guofeng Cao whose global reach has been recognized since his breakthrough show at Art Basel Miami Beach/Art Miami and the front page coverage by the Miami Herald in 2009. He is known for his mosaic pop art and photography techniques that cross the divide between sculpture, photography and fine art. Using digital techniques, he creates each work that pays homage to earlier achievements in the arts, history and culture. Also featured will be works by painter Jay Schlossberg-Cohen.
Specializing in post-war and contemporary art, the gallery has and continues to show original paintings, sculptures and drawings by established artists including: Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Sam Francis, Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, Gerhard Richter, Carl Andre, Ed Ruscha, Richard Prince, David Salle, Donald Baechler, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and many others. The gallery will be opening a second location in Aspen this October.
Deborah Colton Gallery
The photographic balloons of David Graeve recently peppered the grounds of the Aspen Institute during this summer’s Aspen Ideas Festival. Each balloon has a collage of photographic images printed on its surface, of children, adults and iconic leaders from around the world. “Everyone will find something in this,” says the Houston-based Graeve, who was commissioned by U.S. Trust to create the art installation to bring to life the theme of “legacy” throughout the festival campus. The balloons literally hang from the rafters, some as large as nine feet in diameter and others as small as three. Collectively, the balloonsnshow people representing six cultures including Latinos, African-Americans and Asians. “To me, it was about pluralism and the humanitarian aspect of looking at people as a whole, as a legacy for democratic culture.”
Schedule of Events
Friday, Aug. 3, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 4, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 5, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Special VIP Events
Friday, Aug. 3, 2-3 p.m.
ArtSpeak presented by Aspen Sojourner: A Conversation with Alison de Lima
Saturday, Aug. 4, 5-7 p.m.
Peak with a View cocktail party presented by Aspen Peak
at Aspen Ice Garden