‘Observable Universe’ opens at Paepcke Gallery on Wednesday

Cosmic Bunker Locate 30x22.
Courtesy photo

The Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies (the Bayer Center), presents “Richard Carter’s Observable Universe,” opening Wednesday in the Paepcke Gallery.

The exhibition includes 18 works from seven disparate series in the artist’s career. Spanning 2002 to 2021, these mixed-media pieces mark a break from his signature geometric and constructivist paintings and instead reflect his intense study of Earth sciences and astronomical, natural, and geological phenomena.

Carter explains the work in the current exhibition as “not strictly geometrical but strictly influenced by the science around me: stars, seas, birds, atmospherics, particles, and geology. It has been very liberating to discover that I can follow my personal scientific curiosity in an artistic way.”

He arrived in the Roaring Fork Valley in 1971 from New Jersey and has been an incredible influence on the local art community, including spearheading the Aspen Art Museum. He also served as studio assistant to Bauhaus artist and designer Herbert Bayer in Aspen from 1972 to 1978, working on projects in painting, sculpture, printmaking, tapestry, exhibition design, and environmental works. During that time, Bayer gave Carter a signed copy of his groundbreaking 1953 “World Geo-Graphic Atlas” (itself the subject of the exhibitions “Concept of a Visualist” at the Bayer Center and “Charting Space” at the Doerr-Hosier Center). 

While the atlas was not a direct influence on Carter, he developed scientific interests similar to those that Bayer explored, using his artist’s eye to find new ways of seeing the world around us. 

The works in “Richard Carter’s Observable Universe” are on loan from the artist’s collection. Examples can be found here.

Exhibition Details 

Dates: Oct. 4 through April 12, 2024

Location: Paepcke Gallery, 1000 North 3rd Street, Aspen Institute Campus 

Hours: Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Visitor Information

Free and open to the public.

More information is available at

People can learn more about the exhibition at an Aspen Institute Hurst Lecture Series event featuring Richard Carter in conversation with Andrew Travers, Bayer Center’s Penner Manager of Educational Programs on Dec. 20.

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