Aspen Art Week’s must-see exhibitions, from Christo and Jeanne-Claude to Ernie Barnes

The 2022 edition of Aspen Art Week kicks off this weekend with events across the scenic alpine retreat, starting with the second in-person edition of Intersect Aspen (July 31-August 4) Art Fair at the Aspen Ice Garden, featuring over 30 international exhibitors, at the Aspen Art Museum’s annual ArtCrush auction, which is organized by Sotheby’s (online until August 6; during the museum’s summer gala on August 5) and presents nearly 60 works by artists such as Mungo Thomson and Paola Pivi. Here are some of the must-see exhibits happening around Aspen over the coming week.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Ephemeral Nature
From August 1 to September 15 at the Hexton Gallery, 447 East Cooper Avenue

The late artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, best known for their interventions that often involved gargantuan drapings of fabric in natural settings, completed a major project in Colorado during their lifetime. The work valley curtain (1970-72) included a 200,000 square foot orange bulkhead installed between two mountain slopes and suspended over the road between Grand Junction and Glenwood. The $700,000 project was painstakingly completed over the course of 28 months with a crew of construction workers and volunteers, and was pulled 28 hours after completion due to a forecast of high winds, prompting Christo to proclaim that he “would never do another curtain”. ”. But some of the preparatory drawings for the ill-fated piece, alongside unrealized visions for a curtain in Aspen and a project for the Arkansas River, which met with local failure and helped fuel ongoing debates about pride and environmental impact of artists. works, are presented in this exhibition, which represents a total of six projects designed for American landscapes. The exhibition also includes never-before-seen pieces from the artists’ private collection, such as a sculptural wrapped bouquet that Christo gave to his longtime love and collaborator Jeanne-Claude in 1993. To celebrate the history of the Colorado project made in On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his installation, the artists’ nephew and studio director Jonathan Henery will give a talk at the gallery at 5 p.m. on August 1.

Installation view Precious Okoyomon: Each earthly morning, the light of heaven touches your life is unparalleled in its beauty at the Aspen Museum of Art. Photo: Tony Prikryl.

Precious Okoyomon: Each earthly morning, the light of heaven touches your life is unparalleled in its beauty
Until September 21 at the Aspen Art Museum, 637 East Hyman Avenue

Artist and poet Precious Okoyomon unveiled an Elysian garden on the roof of the Aspen Museum of Art last June for an 18-month exhibition that considers the “regeneration of death and rebirth”, says the artist . The arts journal. The outdoor installation featured a soundscape; an animated sculpture encrusted with blood and organic matter, evoking the spiritual objects of Yoruba sculpture imbued with sacrificial material; and both edible and invasive plants like kudzu, a perennial vine that has served as a recurring metaphor for the racialization of the natural world in Okoyomon’s work. In winter, the room was replaced by an oven that invited visitors to write and burn their fears; he was then revived in his new life force. “The harsh winter in Aspen taught me to be more malleable and to consider the fact that utopia is flexible, uncontrollable,” says Okoyomon. “Soil and trees from the Aspen exhibit will return to community gardens and schools. It’s an eternal relationship, which has changed the way I think about work, decay and regeneration. Okoyomon also scattered the kudzu ash used in previous pieces in his immersive work. To see the Earth before the end of the world (2022) at the 59th Venice Biennale, which expands the concept to a monumental scale, engulfing a warehouse-sized environment with insect-flanked aisles, organic materials like raw textiles, earth and invasive plants, and sculptures laden with blood. Okoyomon adds: “When I create spaces like the one in Aspen or Venice, I think of them as ‘portals’ and I hope that people can feel a certain weakening, or have a moment to enter a garden, to so to speak, or finding the time to put down roots in order to observe their entanglement in the world, from which there is no separation.

Ernie Barnes: body and soul
From July 30 to August 20 at Christie’s, 100 South Spring Street
From the famous painting by athlete-turned-artist Ernie Barnes The sugar shack (1976) sold for 76 times its high estimate at a Christie’s auction last May, interest and demand for the former professional footballer’s work has been extremely high. Recognizing an opportunity, Christie’s private sales team organized this exhibition of Barnes’ work at its Rocky Mountain outpost. As the show’s title suggests, the show brings together scenes of athleticism and devotion, from loud church scenes to the frenetic action of a basketball game. The entertainer, whom Denver Broncos teammates dubbed him “Big Rembrandt,” recalled the moment he realized a career change was in the works. “One day on the playground I looked up and the sun was breaking through the clouds, hitting the non-muddy areas of the uniforms, and I said, ‘This is beautiful!'” wrote one day. “I knew then that being a player was over. I was more interested in art. So I traded my cleats for canvas, my bruises for paintbrushes, and I put in my paintings all the violence and the power that I had felt on the ground. This same dynamism crosses all the works of Body and soul.

Alchemy of materials: part II
August 2 to September 3 at Marianne Boesky Gallery and Carpenters Workshop Gallery, 601 East Hyman Avenue, second floor
The second installment of a two-part collaborative exhibition featuring works by Marianne Boesky and artists from Carpenters Workshop, Alchemy of materials: part II continues its predecessor’s emphasis on the parallel interests of materiality through art and design objects, this time with particular emphasis on the Italian avant-garde movement Arte Povera. Marianne Boesky’s section centers on recent works by Pier Paolo Calzolari, who is best known for his paintings and sculptures that incorporate unexpected materials, from rose petals and salt to shells and natural pigments. Contributions from Carpenters Workshop will showcase new pieces by Italian designer Vincenzo De Cotiis, whose work incorporating recycled fiberglass and stromatolite is firmly in line with Arte Povera. Marianne Boesky’s presentation will also feature works by painters Suzanne McClelland and Jay Heikes, as well as the irreverent artist-design duo Haas Brothers. Carpenters Workshop will also feature works by the Campana brothers, Ika Kuenzel, Wonmin Park, Atelier Van Lieshout and others.

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