Letter: Ganging up on the art museum
So I thought I just wanted to play devil’s advocate with this letter, until I saw that our former mayor was punched in the park for his support of the new Aspen Art Museum. It seems to me that many residents of Aspen have come down with a case of mob mentality — The tendency for people to adopt certain thoughts or behaviors within a group that would otherwise be irrational individually. From my experience, watching this sociological spectacle unfold, I have identified what I believe to be the underlying factors contributing to a mob mentality against the museum that I would like to address.
One: It’s ugly. Aesthetics are a matter of opinion, and in mine, it’s a beautiful piece of architecture. Architect Shigeru Ban was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, essentially the Nobel Peace Prize of his field. He is most famous for his innovative work with recycled materials used to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims. I, for one, am proud and feel lucky to have a piece of his work in our rural mountain town.
Two: It blocks the view of the mountain. Every building on Hyman blocks the view of Aspen Mountain, even standing at the farthest point across the street. If you would like to see the mountain, please take 20 steps to the west, 60 steps to the east or simply enter the art museum and enjoy a view of Ajax from the rooftop terrace for free. There is even a cafe where you can have a coffee. Talk about #firstworldproblems.
Three: “The building represents a complete failure … to preserve (Aspen’s) character,” (“Sticking the heart of Aspen where the sun don’t shine,” Andy Stone, Commentary, July 30, The Aspen Times). Change is the only constant, and I believe the character of Aspen is capable of adapting within our ideals and the building represents just that: A strong valuation of arts and culture and it provides opportunities for our visitors to explore Aspen (for free). From my admittedly small poll of n = ~10, it appears that this “change of character” view is mainly held by a generation of Aspenites who experienced Aspen when Hunter Thompson would race his car on snow in reverse down Main Street, when 82 was still a two-lane highway and before the airport was built. I’ve been told that when Boogie’s was constructed, people were in an uproar, and now it’s an Aspen staple.
Aspen has changed and will continue to change. I fail to see why people are so upset other than having embraced the mob mentality. It’s not like the city approved a multimillion dollar private polo club on public property.