Terry Eaton curates a conversation-starting new collection for the Limelight Hotel.
When you enter a museum or art gallery, you’ve prepared yourself for an encounter with art. Stepping into a hotel, you probably haven’t. But that is beginning to change as more local properties curate permanent collections or rotating exhibitions.
Guests can expect something more than another basic aspen tree painting on the walls. The latest is the Limelight Hotel Aspen, which—on the heels of its spring 2022 interior glow-up—teamed with curator Terry Eaton and Austin-based art consulting firm to establish a permanent Limelight art collection, open for the public to peep as well. His Eaton Fine Art has previously curated properties like the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, and the Viceroy Snowmass.
Here, Eaton and his team collaborated with artist Paula Crown, whose family owns the Aspen Skiing Co. and its line of Limelight hotels. Their aim is to spark conversation, Eaton explained, with a diverse chorus of artistic voices. “They have the ability to convey thought-provoking discussions from their artwork,” Eaton says, “and we’re confident that guests and visitors will come away with a truly memorable experience.”
Scott Reeder’s smirking text-based “Book Titles” hangs in the reception area, where guests waiting to check in can chuckle at the artist’s list of absurd and off-kilter publications like “The Illuminati for Dummies” and “Giving Up with Style.”
Eaton achieves a similar effect with the British artist David Shrigley’s collection of five playful and ominous text-based pieces hanging in a first-floor corridor, including a painting of an aquamarine raccoon announcing “I’m sorry but I can’t promise it won’t happen again.” (Locals may recall Shrigley’s stick figure and text drawings graced the SkiCo’s 2012-13 lift tickets. Another lift ticket alum, photographer Walter Niedermayr, has his Aspen series of photos on prominent display).
Other entries aim to get guests thinking and talking about social and environmental justice, as in Shepard Fairey’s “We the Future” screenprint portrait of the indigenous climate activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez—hanging in a first-floor meeting room—and Robert Rauschenberg’s signed print “Earth Day, 1990.”
The curated collection and conversation extends into guest rooms, where selections include Colorado artist Meredith Nemirov’s mixed media series “Rivers Feed the Trees,” which aims to invoke recent drought and climate change using stylized topographical imagery, abstracted rivers and, yes, aspen trees.
Rashid Johnson returns
Rashid Johnson is among few contemporary artists selected to design the Aspen Skiing Co. season lift tickets who is likely to actually scan a pass, ride a lift and ski here with one of his creations in his parka. The SkiCo’s “Art in Unexpected Places” program—now in its 18th year—has annually drawn titans of contemporary art like Takashi Murakami to create pocket-sized art on the local passes.
Johnson, who created six different versions of Aspen’s 2022-23 ski passes based on his work, is an avid skier and a regular visitor to Aspen over the past decade-and-a-half. A recipient of the 2018 Aspen Award for Art, he has also made work here over the years, most notably during his 2019 residency at the Aspen Art Museum, during which he shot the art film “The Hikers” on Smuggler Mountain and staged a dance performance while also unveiling new work in his “Escape Collage” series. “Escape Collage” is included on the ski passes (pictured below). —AT