I heard about the controversy surrounding the new building of the Aspen Art Museum long before my arrival. This privately funded “kunsthalle,” which displays only rotating temporary exhibitions and has no permanent collection, roused the ire of many Aspen residents from the moment Japanese architect Shigeru Ban’s distinctive design was unveiled. In particular, people complained that it was too tall and clashed with the town’s Victorian character.
To my surprise, I discovered a graceful glass cube clad in interlacing ribbons of wood, which allows natural light to illuminate two of the three floors of exhibition space. The museum guards seemed more like docents, happy to share their knowledge of the pieces and the artists. After touring the exhibitions, we sat down to a delicious light lunch on the mountainview roof terrace, an all-season space already popular with many locals. I suspect it won’t take long for the new museum to become a universally accepted part of Aspen’s cultural scene.
This article appeared in the December 2014 print edition of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report under the headline “A Spectacular New Art Museum.”