In the heart of downtown Aspen, Colorado, the new Aspen Art Museum already has a busy itinerary of festivities — from an award ceremony to the official ribbon-cutting this past weekend -- even before its public opening this Saturday, August 9 at 5 p.m.
Surrounded by Aspen's mountainous landscape, the new 33,000 sq.ft building designed by Pritzker Prize laureate Shigeru Ban includes a rooftop sculpture garden and 17,500 square feet of new exhibition space. Known for his temporary structures, the new AAM building is Ban's first permanently built U.S. museum.
During the Museum's free-admission, 24-hour grand opening this weekend, visitors can check out the inaugural contemporary art exhibitions, film screenings, performances, workshops, and more.
Read on to find out more.
"Located on the corner of South Spring Street and East Hyman Avenue in Aspen’s downtown core...Ban’s vision for the new AAM is based on transparency and open view planes — inviting those outside to engage with the building’s interior, and providing those inside the opportunity to see their exterior surroundings.
The main entrance is located on the north side of the building along East Hyman Avenue, which allows access to the reception area and two ground-floor galleries. From there, visitors may choose their path through museum spaces—ascending to upper levels either via Ban’s Moving Room glass elevator in the northeast corner, or the Grand Stair on the east side."
"The Grand Stair—a three-level passageway between the building’s woven exterior screen and its interior structure—is intersected by a glass wall dividing it into a ten-foot-wide exterior space and a six-foot-wide interior space. The unique passage allows for the natural blending of outdoor and indoor spaces, and will also feature mobile pedestals for exhibiting art. The exterior Woven Wood Screen is made of the composite material Prodema—an amalgam of paper and resin encased within a dual-sided wood veneer."
"From the roof-deck sculpture garden, visitors will enjoy unparalleled vistas of Aspen’s environment and the only unobstructed public rooftop view of Ajax Mountain. The roof deck will also be an activated exhibition and event space featuring the café, So, a bar, and an outdoor screening space.
Other new AAM amenities include an education space, the AAM shop/bookstore, and an on-site artist apartment, as well as art storage and preparation spaces. The AAM Shop is collaborating with New York’s iconic nonprofit art bookseller Printed Matter to feature artist-produced titles alongside its own AAM imprint publications, as well as featuring a number of unique and collectible artist-edition offerings."
"In recent years, the AAM’s annual attendance has increased by 110%, its staff tripled, and the institution has seen the number of students served by museum educational programming skyrocket with a 1,140% increase. A longstanding strategic goal for the AAM—the expansion of its facility and relocation to the downtown Aspen core—became a necessity...Construction of the new AAM facility and its endowment is 100% privately funded, with overall Capital and Endowment pledges of nearly $70 million raised—$45 million in building project funds and $25 million for the museum’s endowment."
"Beginning with a piano rendition of Erik Satie’s Vexations, which will be performed continuously for 24 hours, the event will also feature film screenings of Alison O’Daniel’s Night Sky and Derek Jarman’s Blue; a concert by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; a midnight Silent Disco—with participants wearing headphones—on the AAM Roof Deck; a dream interpretation activity in the Tomma Abts: Mainly Drawings exhibition; and a morning yoga class and breakfast.
The remainder of Sunday, August 10 will be filled with family workshops, performances, a panel discussion, and a food tasting from the AAM’s new café, So."
"The Museum’s inaugural exhibitions present a dynamic slate of contemporary art: