Aspen has been at the vanguard of artistic and intellectual cross-pollination since the 1950s. The city is home to The Aspen Institute, the legendary and ephemeral Aspen Magazine, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and the Aspen Art Museum designed by Shigeru Ban in 2014. From August 8–September 15, 2020, the city will host Haptic Narrative - The Aspen Edition, an in-person exhibition of art and collectible design.
Two highly prized galleries, Lehmann Maupin with locations in New York, Hong Kong and Seoul and R & Company with two locations in New York, have teamed up with House of Today–a non-profit organisation supporting twenty-first century Lebanese design–to create a collaborative, multidisciplinary partnership. The pop-up exhibition invites an open-ended dialogue between art and design, established and emerging talent, vintage and contemporary, and East and West, while inhabiting a vast, light-filled s space with panoramic views of the Colorado landscape, an experience more akin to a private loft viewing than a visit to a traditional 'white cube.'
In a world that suddenly stopped due to the global pandemic, collaborative projects that bring together varied disciplines, cultures, and generations, and feature projects that bring both moral and material support to artists, are needed now, more than ever. The implications of the current health crisis are both economic and social and a reminder that the primary mission of a gallery should be to give artists the space and means to create and express their vision of the world while earning a sustainable living. Even though it might have been obscured in recent years by the primacy of art in the marketplace, it is essential to reconnect with this mission by continuing creating connections, and shed light on our society through the work of artists. Giving back is a non-negotiable, central tenant and philosophy that takes on additional meaning in the current landscape, against the backdrop of crises affecting the United States, Lebanon and the rest of the world.
Lehmann Maupin director Sarah Calodney, House of Today founder Cherine Magrabi, and R & Company founders and principals Evan Snyderman and Zesty Meyers felt compelled to coordinate their curatorial efforts on this exhibition, giving strength and vitality to the work presented by each of the selected artists and designers. The exhibition is driven by two guiding principles: to offer support to the artistic community during this difficult time—including showing work created during lockdown—and to offer collectors and audiences the opportunity to rediscover the indescribable experience of encountering artists’ work first hand (visits will be by appointment only).
The exhibition will feature sculpture, painting and photography by leading contemporary artists from Lehman Maupin’s program including McArthur Binion, Catherine Opie, Angel Otero, Helen Pashgian, Cecilia Vicuña, and Nari Ward. The works on view evoke the haptic—to engage visuality through an appeal to tactility—by expanding and questioning traditional art-making practices within the context of contemporary art. Helen Pashgian’s sculptures, which are characterised by their semi-translucent surfaces that appear to filter and somehow contain illumination, are in dialogue with the blurred precision of Catherine Opie’s landscape photography of national parks, which explore the diversity of America’s landscapes and communities. Nari Ward’s panels and sculptures allude to the therapeutic qualities of copper and trace the meaning of various symbols, histories, and personal journeys. Similarly, McArthur Binion and Angel Otero’s complexly layered works reveal intimate details of their own identities and personal histories by allowing only fragments of information to be discerned—but never enough to be immediately legible. Inspired and driven by the paintings from her past that no longer exist or are lost to her personally, Cecilia Vicuña is reclaiming her history as a painter by recreating new, reimagined versions of her most significant earlier works. As a group, these artists imbue their work with personal perspective while commenting on social or political realities.
Haptic Narrative - The Aspen Edition will also feature new work, some on view for the first time, by Carlo and Mary-Lynn Massoud, Hala Matta, Karen Chekerdjian, Sayar & Garibeh, and Stéphanie Moussallem ahead of a major exhibition of Lebanese contemporary design, co-curated by House of Today and R & Company, that will take place next year in New York.
Due to the dual influences of a lack of industrial production and the formidable resilience of local artisanal know-how, Lebanese design has, as is clearly visible in the Haptic Narrative, thrived as unique and limited editioned work. This natural evolution is at the heart of something of a developing manifesto: why design yet another chair, table or bookcase meant to be produced en masse and preprogrammed with obsoletism, putting our planet further at risk? This sentiment is echoed in the vintage furniture of Wendell Castle and Joaquim Tenreiro presented by R & Company, alongside work by Nicola L.
Press release courtesy Lehmann Maupin.
535 East Hyman Ave, 2nd floor
Aspen, CO 81611
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