Becca Hoffman, managing director for Intersect Art and Design, would normally have at least a year to plan and prepare for an illustrious art fair like Intersect Aspen.
Instead, she had three months.
From Aug. 1 to Aug. 5, Intersect Aspen will return to town for a special pop-up edition, taking place in person at the Aspen Ice Garden. The contemporary art fair will showcase 30 galleries from 26 cities across the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Intersect Aspen (formerly Art Aspen), Intersect Chicago (formerly SOFA Chicago) and Intersect Palm Springs (formerly Art Palm Springs) were acquired by brothers Tim and Dirk von Gal when they launched Intersect Art and Design in April 2020. The von Gals, Hoffman and the entire Intersect team were faced with reinvigorating the three art fairs in the midst of COVID-19.
Despite the obstacles of the pandemic, Intersect was determined to connect galleries, collectors and artists around the world by hosting innovative, virtual events. Hoffman helped coordinate one of these programs in February 2021, Intersect 21, which was a virtual exhibition of artworks from galleries in the Middle East, North Africa and California.
“We seized this moment in time and utilized the tools of technology to continue speaking to each other through art,” Hoffman said.
Following the success of the virtual events, Intersect was not even considering hosting an in-person fair until at least November 2021. Yet, in May, after receiving numerous calls with requests and pleas for an in-person art fair experience, Hoffman started to plan Intersect Aspen.
As one of the first in-person art fairs since the beginning of the pandemic, Intersect Aspen will differ from previous fairs in terms of everything from the floor plan and open spacing to the curated exhibitions and programming being presented.
“These galleries have taken on a new sense of nimble creativity and thoughtfulness to bring works they haven’t been able to physically show people in 16 months,” Hoffman said. “They’re bringing their A-game to Aspen.”
From established, international names like Galerie Gmurzynska, Carl Kostyál, Nino Mier Gallery and Perrotin to the two much-loved local galleries in the mix, Galerie Maximillian and Casterline|Goodman Gallery, exhibitors are contributing a blend of modern and contemporary works, curating presentations in a way Hoffman has never seen in the past.
“Intersect Aspen will offer a wide array of options in an intimate setting that is perfect for seeing art,” said Paul Laster, curatorial adviser for Intersect Art and Design, in a press release. “The works on view will range from new artistic creations made during the pandemic to historical pieces from the postwar era.”
Hoffman spoke heartily about the exhibitions that will be on view, especially when discussing TOTAH’s interesting presentation of Alex Sewell’s paintings in conversation with Saul Steinberg’s drawings to explore the concept of text through art, Berry Campbell Gallery’s group exhibition featuring underrepresented women artists of the Postwar movement and a monumental Clyfford Still oil painting, “PH-568, 1965,” which will be featured in Sélavy by Di Donna’s art and design exhibition.
Hoffman also mentioned that a handful of the galleries plan to showcase outdoor sculptures — an interest specific to Aspen.
“From across the board, I’ve seen galleries find their stride in a different way because there is such a surge in creating a new form of warmth in your own personal space,” Hoffman said. “Each gallery coming to the fair is in some way responding to people and collectors in the region.”
Aside from bringing a high-quality selection of galleries to Intersect Aspen, Hoffman views the art fair as a platform for highlighting the local cultural institutions that make the Roaring Fork Valley such a special place.
Hoffman has been working closely with many of these local institutions, such as Anderson Ranch Art Center, Carbondale Arts, Aspen Film, the Red Brick Center for the Arts, The Little Nell, the Aspen Art Museum and local art galleries and news organizations.
Hoffman emphasized how welcoming and open members of the Aspen community have been as she prepares to bring this new form of a cultural event to town.
“I believe in order to create citywide cultural events, you must really become a part of the community,” Hoffman said. “We’re not just there for the duration of the week, we’re there to build part of the Aspen culture.”
Intersect Aspen will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and will also be presented online at Artsy.net, Aug. 1-19. General admission tickets and VIP passes, which include access to a preview brunch on Aug. 1, are available for purchase on the Intersect Aspen website.
Additional programming (open to all ticket holders) includes “Shoppable Objects,” a presentation by Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Carbondale Arts showcasing design and craft created by local artists, which will be held daily in the Intersect Screening Room. Aspen Film will present four acclaimed short films, screening each evening at 5 p.m., and throughout the week, various galleries will host artist talks at their booths.
By not overcomplicating nor over-programming the event, Hoffman hopes this year’s pop-up edition of Intersect Aspen will carry “a sense of simple elegance.”
“It’s meant to be more relaxed — a reentry into the fair world,” Hoffman said. “We’re responding to what we feel Aspen needs at this time.”