The Aspen Art Museum isn’t the only place in town to view exciting contemporary paintings and sculptures. Aspen has a thriving gallery scene, including several that sell museum-quality works by world-famous artists. You can find plenty of pretty mountain landscape paintings, to be sure, but the galleries below go well beyond the clichés, presenting fascinating and sometimes edgy exhibitions.
This gallery displays works in a range of media, both conventional and quite unexpected. We saw mesmerizing minimalist holograms by James Turrell, for example, and eerie palette-shaped color fields with holes through which a video of an eye looked around the room. But perhaps most representative of Aspen was Marc Swanson’s sculpture of a mounted deer head, crusted from antler tip to antler tip in Swarovski crystals.
Although it also exhibits sculptures and paintings, the wonderfully colorful Galerie Maximillian focuses on masterworks on paper. I was particularly taken with Anish Kapoor’s vibrant and engrossingly simple “FOLDS,” Damien Hirst’s butterfly-speckled “Love Poems” and Jim Dine’s cheerful but gritty untitled heart painting. Well-traveled owner Albert Sanford is passionate about the art he displays. We had a delightful time discussing the works on view — and exchanging safari stories!
Two ceramicists own this charming gallery, which concentrates, as one might expect, on ceramic arts. But don’t expect to find anything cutesy or saccharine here — the works on display are sophisticated and contemporary. The personable and knowledgeable Sam Harvey showed us around the space, which has something to suit just about any taste. The gallery also accepts commissions for custom sculptures and dinnerware.
The loft-like interior of this gallery wouldn’t feel out of place in New York, but the owners plan to move to a new space across the street from Galerie Maximillian. Whatever its location, expect up-to-the-minute contemporary shows to continue. We spent far longer than we had intended, taking in the incisive exhibition “Relevance: Perspectives of the African American Experience,” along with some exquisite abstract works.