What’s up at ArtAspen 2019?
IF YOU GO …
What: Art Aspen
Where: Aspen Ice Garden
When: July 25-28
How much: $25-$100
Tickets and more info: art-aspen.com
In its 10th year at the Aspen Ice Garden, the ArtAspen art fair isn’t just exhibiting work from leading contemporary artists. The fair is making it, too.
The fair, running through Sunday, will unveil its inaugural commissioned artwork this weekend: a site-specific installation by New York-based artist Adrienne Elise Tarver.
The immersive work is a tropical environment made up of jungle-green floral canopies and vines fashioned out of wire mesh and other household materials (she’ll discuss the work on a panel with SciArt curator Marnie Benney on Saturday at 2 p.m.)
Among the 30 galleries with booths at the fair are some newcomers and local stalwarts of the Aspen art scene.
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The Aspen Art Gallery is taking over a booth for the first time, showcasing newcomer Marco Grassi — the Milan-based artist is showing in the U.S. for the first time this summer at the gallery — and photographer/sculptor Todd Gray, along with familiar faces from local gallery-goers: the young Florida-based painter Tyler Sean, who has shown in the gallery regularly over the past two years and staged shows supporting local nonprofits; and the Cuban painter Michel Mirabal, whose first works made on U.S. soil were created here during a 2017 residency.
Sean, 25, makes photo-realistic paintings he’s created through a painstaking spray-paint and stencil process
“People think it’s computer-generated, but I’m laying it down layer by layer and stencil by stencil, spraying it,” Sean explained before one of his recent solo shows at the gallery. “It allows me to achieve an extremely detailed aesthetic in a medium that you don’t think of as detail-oriented.”
The work emerged from experiences with art therapy, as he struggled to manage his obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“It was the only time I could breathe,” said Sean, who won the 2017 Best Rising Artist Prize at the Spectrum Miami art fair. “And it wasn’t so much about what I was expressing through my art. It’s just the act of creating that was therapeutic.
The uncanny visions that emerged are ironic, pop culture pastiches — celebrities and icons from Marilyn Monroe to Ben Franklin mixed in with imagery about celebrity, consumerism and mortality.
Mirabal, based in Havana, uses non-traditional materials like bullets, keys and barbed wire in his chunky, overpowering sculptural paintings. His Aspen works pointedly used the pages of The Aspen Times, Aspen Daily News and Denver Post along with keys from Aspen Locksmith. The materials make their way into an ongoing, acclaimed series depicting the Cuban and American flags in various states of union and opposition, often responding directly to news events as diplomatic relations between the countries unravel once again.
“It’s a battle between governments and in the middle are people who are most affected by this situation,” Mirabal said during his residency here.
Aspen’s Opera Gallery, which made a splashy ArtAspen debut in 2017 with the largest booth on the floor showcasing Bernard Buffet, Pablo Picasso and others, is back with an exhibition of 17 contemporary art giants including Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Manolo Valdés and Keith Haring.
The Aspen-based sculptor and nontraditional painter Mark Cesark, represented by Nine Dragon, will also have work up, along with the Cooper Street-headquartered Raven Gallery, showcasing its earthy glass art and sculpture.
Galleries from across the U.S. and Europe are making the pilgrimage to Aspen to exhibit rising and established art stars for Aspen collectors.
Among the standouts is Hilton Asmus Contemporary, from Chicago, which is showcasing photographer David Gamble’s rich, playful and utterly fascinating works depicting Andy Warhol’s Upper West Side Manhattan townhome. Gamble photographed it in 1987, shortly after Warhol’s death but before his possessions were sold at auction — totaling $25 million — to support the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Gamble, a renowned photojournalist and portraitist now based in New Orleans, is exhibiting shots from Warhol’s home ranging from the intimate to the strange and surreal, including mixed-media collage appearances by Warhol himself in the pieces.
Avant Gallery, from New York, is bringing works by it-artist Skyler Grey — a 19-year-old Los Angeles street artist whose pop culture-laded work has already landed him on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list and the nickname “The Fresh Prince of Street Art.”
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