An app for art’s sake |

An app for art’s sake

Bloomberg Connects multimedia guide supplements Warhol show at the Aspen Art Museum

(Courtesy Aspen Art Museum)

There are countless fascinating rabbit holes to fall down in the Aspen Art Museum’s “Andy Warhol: Lifetimes,” the monumental museum-wide retrospective of the Prince of Pop Art that opened in December.

The museum recently added some new ways to explore the show, as it launched a new free digital guide to the show through the Bloomberg Connects app.

“The incredible Bloomberg Connects app they have built will bring our programming to broader audiences with deeper engagement of our institution and its exhibitions,” museum director Nicola Lees said in an announcement of the app, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The museum is proud to now be among an esteemed group of organizations represented on Bloomberg Connects, expanding the ways we digitally engage and educate.”

Bloomberg Connects produces interactive guides to global cultural institutions – the Aspen Art Museum is the first featured in the Mountain West.

It’s more than a simple gallery guide, I found. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Warhol retrospective since December and have written about the show from many angles, and yet the material on the app still struck me as fresh and added to the experience of the show.

Flipping through the simple interface on your smartphone, you’ll find a gallery-by-gallery multimedia guide with audio supplements to the show (I went through the material at home, not in the museum, and I recommend approaching it that way rather than while you’re inside the show when there is so much other art and ephemera to hold your attention).

Click on the section for the “Before and After” section of the show – the eye-opening biography-driven centerpiece of the exhibition, hosted on the museum’s second floor – and you’ll find audio of curator Monica Majoli talking about Warhol’s youth and talking with curator Simone Krug about the personal items they chose to include here.

Installation view: “Andy Warhol, Lifetimes,” Aspen Art Museum, 2021. (Carter Seddon)

The section on the “Wanting” segment, which focuses on Warhol as a queer artist, and you can her the curators talking about Warhol as an out gay man (“because he couldn’t help be,” Majoli put it) at a time when most of his contemporaries stayed closeted, gay artist and interpretations of his “Oxidation” paintings and more transgressive and explicit work that he did not exhibit or sell at the time.

“He was able to do work that was interesting but that he didn’t necessarily have to show or survive on,”Majoli explained, describing his as a “split practice” of business-oriented art and commissions that sold and this personal work that is only now – and in part due this show – being understood as part of Warhol’s artistic mission.

“I associate those (‘Oxidation’) paintings with the gay liberation movement of that period in the 1970s,” Majoli says.

With all materials available in English and Spanish, the app also includes segments on the museum’s non-Warhol corners of the moment, including three minutes of Precious Okoyomon talking about their year-round garden installation on the rooftop and sections devoted to Jonathan Berger’s The Store and Adam Stamp’s The Slippery Slope bar along with general info about the museum.


Read more of The Aspen Times coverage of this winter’s exhibitions and Andy Warhol’s history in Aspen:

* “In Aspen with Andy Warhol,” Dec. 2, Aspen Times Weekly

* “Winter of Warhol: Tracing Andy Warhol’s deep Aspen connections as Aspen Art Museum and Powers Art Center open shows,” Dec. 3, The Aspen Times

* “Warhol exhibition begins winter-long run at Aspen Art Museum,” Dec. 4, The Aspen Times

* “Why another Warhol show?” Dec. 9, Aspen Times Weekly

* “Finding Warhol in ‘After and Before,’“ Dec. 16, Aspen Times Weekly

* “The Day Andy Warhol Visited the Times,” Dec. 23, Aspen Times Weekly

* “Inside the ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable’ at the Aspen Art Museum,” Dec. 23, Aspen Times Weekly

* “Andy Warhol’s Aspen New Year’s Eves,” Dec. 30, Aspen Times Weekly

“Andy in Aspen: Warhol photographs of Aspen on view at Hotel Jerome,” Feb. 17, The Aspen Times.

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