Art Collecting

ArtWeek: Guest artists reflect on first experiences, interactions | arts and entertainment | Pro Club Bd

Aspen ArtWeek is now in full swing. With over 70 participating artists and a range of exhilarating and thought-provoking events – most of which are free and open to all – this year’s week-long celebration promises to be one to remember.

ArtWeek, hosted by the Aspen Art Museum each August, is a culture of discussions, performances and parties to honor artists whose creativity and vision have profoundly influenced the contemporary art field. The event kicked off Monday and leads into AAM’s annual ArtCrush Gala, which begins Friday night at the base of Buttermilk Mountain.

Aspen ArtWeek 2022 started in high spirits during the welcome party held at the museum on Tuesday evening. All floors of the museum were open so that visitors could see the “Berg/Zeit” exhibition in addition to the ArtCrush auction works on display. Unlike last year’s opening event, a handful of these auction works were displayed on the roof of the AAM.

Between the booze, live musical performances and a poetry reading by artist and poet Precious Okoyomon – whose garden sculpture installation is currently on display outside the roof – the evening was intimate and the shared energy palpable. Not to mention the excitement surrounding artist Gaetano Pesce’s monumental project “My Dear Mountains” – covering the museum’s façade – which is finally going live in time for ArtWeek.

Artist Russell Craig is in town for his first Aspen ArtWeek and ArtCrush experience; In fact, this is Craig’s first visit to Aspen. The self-taught artist survived nearly a decade of incarceration after growing up in the foster care system. Today he lives and works in New York.

Speaking to Craig at the welcome party, he said that being in Aspen during ArtWeek is unlike any other celebratory art event he’s experienced in his career.

“There’s a kind of vibe to this place that’s different…it’s very relaxed, but there are a lot of people out here who are from privileged backgrounds and have a lot of money – I’ll mention that because you can feel the difference” said Craig . “But there is a river here, and it is good to be here; It is good to experience the people who live here and to bring our experiences together so that we can learn from each other.”

Craig donated a layered self-portrait entitled Nobody Was There II to ArtCrush earlier this year and expressed his excitement that he had already had two bids for the piece in the online auction.

Hosted by Sotheby’s, the online auction features around 60 artworks up for auction until Saturday (6 August), in addition to the 10 works featured in the live auction taking place in person at the ArtCrush Gala. All auction items were donated by artists and galleries in support of the museum’s artistic and educational programs.

Craig’s donated piece was also selected as one of the ArtCrush Collector Picks, as was a piece by his friend and business partner Jesse Krimes – who is also a formerly incarcerated artist. Both Craig and Krimes shared their stories at Monday’s Confronting Mass Incarceration talk hosted by the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and the two artists’ work is currently featured in a joint exhibition at the Malin Gallery in Aspen.

Expressing the importance of sharing new perspectives and stories with the Aspen community through art, Craig rhetorically questioned how far down the rabbit hole people are willing to go to try to understand another person’s experience.

“I think it’s important that people like me and Jesse come out of that experience and be able to have a platform or an opportunity to speak to people who are very privileged,” Craig said. “They get into a conversation with us and with the artwork … it brings you a little bit closer to that.”

More than one person approached Craig during the conversation to thank him for sharing his story.

Artists and collectors from around the world come to Aspen for ArtWeek and ArtCrush, and AAM encourages community members to participate in the artist-centric experience by hosting accessible events throughout the week.

On Wednesday, AAM hosted an artists’ breakfast and in-depth discussions about the auction works with the Chair of the Collector Committee, Mary Zlot. There was an afternoon discussion with artist Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio, followed by a flag-waving and speaking performance by Jeffrey Gibson entitled “The Spirits Are Laughing” which took place at Anderson Park Meadow on the Aspen Institute campus. All three programs were free and open to the public.

Today’s events include a free artist talk with 2022 ArtCrush award winner Gary Simmons. Simmons will take place at 4:00 p.m. on the AAM rooftop and will be joined by writer Travis Diehl to discuss his practice and evolution as an artist. Registration is required and can be accessed through the AAM website.

Tonight at 8pm, artist Korakrit Arunanondchai and director Alex Gvojic will present a “ghost cinema” performance in an aspen meadow at T-Lazy-7 Ranch, located on Maroon Creek Road. Shuttles run between the museum and T-Lazy-7 every 20 minutes starting at 7:15 PM, and limited valet parking is available.

“I think it’s really great to be able to perform here, in a place where there are so many stories, but also where both the performers and the audience are exposed to nature most of the time,” said Arunanondchai.

The performative piece entitled “Together” is inspired by film traditions in rural communities in northeastern Thailand. Arunanondchai – who, like Craig, is here for his first Aspen ArtWeek – has already shown the piece twice in New York and Bangladesh. The Aspen rendition of Together will feature around 20 local dancers of all ages and levels, and this is the first and only time it will be performed in a natural setting, Arunanondchai said.

“It’s in the right context… surrounded by aspens and in nature,” he said. “I have a feeling that the spirit of this space will really come through the artists and the audience.”

The Together performance at T-Lazy-7 is also free and open to the public and requires registration. Evening outdoor clothing is highly recommended.

Over the years, galleries and other arts-based institutions in Aspen have benefited from the action AAM’s ArtWeek brings to the city. The incoming pool of high-paying collectors mixed with some of today’s most acclaimed artists means it’s time for the entire Aspen art community. Several galleries host artist receptions and exhibition openings throughout the week. Today is the last day of the Intersect Aspen art fair, which has been taking place at the Aspen Ice Garden since Sunday.

A handful of these events are held in partnership with AAM, while others are timed independently of ArtWeek. Regardless, the arts scene in the city is indeed buzzing, and at the heart of its pulse are the collaborative interactions between incoming artists and the Aspen community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.