If you’ve ever wondered what Aspen would look like through the eyes of Andy Warhol, take a walk around the 212 Gallery over the next few days. The Cooper Avenue gallery is hosting a pop-up show of the pop artist’s work, presented by Christie’s and the Andy Warhol Foundation, that includes 20-plus photographs by Warhol of Aspen along with pieces spanning his career.
Compositionally, there’s nothing in the photos that screams “Warhol.” There are no stylistic pop-art touches. But, for his admirers, or anyone interested in what he was up to when he visited the valley, they offer a captivating glimpse into his time here.
Among the black-and-white images is a shot of a snowy Aspen Valley Hospital sign and one of the street sign for Snowbunny Lane buried in feet of powder. There’s one of a jet gassing up at Sardy Field, one of Aspen Mountain Sports, of the Hotel Jerome (when it was painted all white), of a horse-drawn carriage on Mill Street and of a train car on what is now the Rio Grande Trail, along with downtown street scenes.
The show also displays Warhol’s interest in photographing the natural world, with shots of the Roaring Fork River and of Aspen Mountain. A report from Warhol’s visit to The Aspen Times in 1981 quotes him as saying — surprisingly, given his penchant for commercial imagery and brand names — “Land is the best art.”
“They were a part of his personal collection,” Amelia Manderscheid, Christie’s post-war and contemporary art specialist, said of the photographs. “He would have an assistant print up contact sheets, he’d circle the ones he wanted printed, and he would only print one.”
The Warhol Foundation won’t be printing additional copies of the photos on sale this week in Aspen, Manderscheid said.
Warhol’s interest in the iconography of celebrity is evident in two candid shots of John Denver slopeside during apres ski at the Tippler, which also offer a time-capsule look into the local social scene in the early ’80s.
Warhol also took a series of color Polaroids of Denver, on display in the gallery, which he shot as studies for a later silkscreen.
Free and open to the public, the show runs through Tuesday at the 212 Gallery. All sales benefit the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the grant-giving nonprofit with which Christie’s has partnered for a multi-year series of events selling work from Warhol’s personal collection. It’s Christie’s second year presenting a Warhol pop-up show in Aspen.
Warhol’s Aspen connection goes back to at least the mid-1960s, when he guest-edited an issue of Aspen: The Magazine in a Box, an avant-garde art publication that ran from 1965 to 1971. He visited in the winters frequently, skiing in Snowmass. In his journals, he reported celebrating New Year’s Eve in 1981 at Andre’s disco, writing, “It was like trying to get into Studio 54.” In the early ’80s, he bought a home in Aspen and years earlier purchased 40 acres of land in Missouri Heights — both sold off to benefit the foundation after his death in 1987.
The show also spans Warhol’s career, from his early, whimsical illustration work in the 1950s to screen prints of Sitting Bull from the mid-1980s. It’s a survey of Warhol without the soup cans or Marilyn Monroe.
There are two trial proofs from his 1968 “Flash” portfolio, including a collage of the New York World Telegram’s front-page report on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. There are prints of cows on wallpaper, silkscreens of Perrier bottles, a screen print of fish, graphite drawings of nickels and a curious 1983 silkscreen and collage titled “Love,” depicting a nude couple with their bodies outlined in ink. Manderscheid called it the only romantic piece in Warhol’s body of work.
Also opening this weekend
Painters Barbara Hines and Alexander McQueen Duncan opened a joint show at Aspen Meadows on Thursday. Titled “Two Artist-Two Journeys,” the longtime friends’ show is up in the Hines Room of the Kresge Building through Aug. 10.
Hines, based in Houston, paints work largely inspired by her Jewish heritage, including a large oil landscape of the mountains of Zion and a vivid depiction of the biblical burning bush.
McQueen, of London, blurs the line between representational and abstract paining. Among his paintings — mined largely from his memory — are expressionistic takes on landscape in “Last Light” and of European churches.
All proceeds from sales of Hines’ work in the show will go to the Aspen Institute, Golshim L’Chaim and Chabad Jewish Community Center Aspen, where her work will also be shown beginning Aug. 4.
The Baldwin Gallery opened a new show by Joseph Stashkevetch on Friday. Appropriately titled “Epic,” it showcases the New York artist’s large-scale, intricately detailed and lifelike drawings. They portray massive imaginary towers and castle-like structures, seemingly crumbling from the wear of time.
“Epic” runs through Sept. 1 at the Baldwin.