Snowmass seeks new spot to put a big piece of art |

Snowmass seeks new spot to put a big piece of art

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Courtesy Bland Hoke

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – Finding the perfect spot to place a sculpture in Snowmass Village has challenged a local group dedicated to the placement of public art. The piece in question is a fitting memento for the resort, but it won’t fit just anywhere.

Artist Bland Hoke’s sculpture “Sheer Bliss” weighs about 8 tons and is roughly 48 feet long.

Created while Hoke worked at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass during the summer of 2008, the sculpture makes use of a stout length of the old Sheer Bliss chairlift cable, held aloft by towers of old snowmaking pipe.

“It’s like a Slinky wrapped around a stick,” said Hoke, who said the sculpture was inspired by the construction of cable itself – individual wire strands wrapped together to create the greater whole.

First erected on Fanny Hill at Snowmass in a different form, it was relocated farther up the slopes, near the new Sheer Bliss lift.

Hoke said he understood the locale to be a temporary one in the U.S. Forest Service’s view, and now the agency would like it moved off the ski slope, which is part of the national forest.

The question is, where next for the sculpture.

“My hope is that it finds a permanent home in Snowmass,” said Hoke in a telephone interview from Milan, Italy, where he is studying. “If it leaves the valley, it is more or less a sculpture that is appreciated for its aesthetic value, not the memories it evokes.

“If I had a choice, I’d leave it where it is.”

Jim Kehoe, chairman of the Public Art Committee and a member of the Snowmass Arts Advisory Board, wants the sculpture to remain in Snowmass Village.

The challenge isn’t just accommodating its size, but finding a place where the sculpture can be experienced in the way that Hoke envisioned, he said.

“I was thinking, ‘what would he think if it went vertical?'” Kehoe said.

The sculpture comes apart into eight sections, according to Hoke, and it’s possible to create two smaller pieces from what is now one.

Hoke, who hails from Jackson, Wyo., said he can find property owners there who would be happy to have the sculpture. Potential takers in Aspen and Vail have also been suggested. He will return to Snowmass in July to begin taking the piece apart.

Kehoe’s committee, which most recently commissioned the sculpture in front of Snowmass Village Town Hall – the piece by Denver artist Michael Clapper features large rings and is titled “Transparency” – is devoted to creating an Art Walk through town that features art in public places.

“Sheer Bliss” offers the potential for an exciting addition to the mix, said Kehoe, who hopes to arrange for its relocation somewhere in Snowmass this summer.