A spen, Colorado, may be the Shangri-La of the western US that is not so much undiscovered as endlessly rediscovered. The Rocky Mountain valley is a year-round draw, offering its unparalleled Snowmass ski resort as the main winter attraction, and a full roster of cultural happenings during the summer months, when Aspen becomes a favorite destination for collectors, artists, curators and habitués of the art world. A strong supporter of the local art community, Sotheby’s will be returning to the mountain town this year, sponsoring benefit auctions for Anderson Ranch and the Aspen Art Museum. As the Aspen season gets underway, we have curated a guide to the major art events in town plus how to get there with our aviation partner Sentient Jet, where to stay and more.
ANDERSON RANCH ARTS CENTER
Aspen is a ski town, but it’s also an art town. A nexus of that tradition for more than 50 years is Anderson Ranch, a visual arts programming center on a sprawling campus that offers residencies, workshops and public events. Summer Series programming includes artist talks with Enrique Martinez Celaya (5 July) and Walead Beshty (13 July), among others, and a conversation with collectors Jan and Ronnie Greenberg moderated by Amy Cappellazzo, chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Arts Division (19 July). The Greenbergs will be honoured with the Service to the Arts Award at the Ranch’s annual Recognition Dinner on 20 July, when art world luminaries and supporters will gather at the historic Hotel Jerome for cocktails, dinner and a live auction conducted by Sotheby’s.
THE ASPEN ART MUSEUM + ARTCRUSH
The other cultural anchor of the community is the Aspen Art Museum (AAM), housed in a glass cube wrapped in a basket weave of wood veneer designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban. The big draw is ArtCrush (2–4 August), a series of benefit events for the museum, including silent and live auctions of contemporary art that culminate in the ArtCrush Summer Benefit Gala.
During the party, the Aspen Award for Art will be presented to Lawrence Weiner, creator of Conceptual, word-based artworks. As it has for the past five years, Sotheby’s will sponsor ArtCrush, and auctioneer Oliver Barker will be on hand to conduct the live sale.
The AAM’s big summer show is an exhibition pairing Wade Guyton with the collaborative duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss that will occupy its six galleries, rooftop sculpture garden and outdoor commons (23 June–26 November). Guyton’s artworks, made using old Epson inkjet printers, are being juxtaposed with the postmodern found objects, sculptures and playful films from throughout Fischli and Weiss’s 30-plus-year collaboration.
Not far from the AAM is the stalwart Baldwin Gallery, which hosts PreviewCrush the night before the AAM gala, when the works in both the live and silent auctions are on view to the public. From June through early September, the gallery will present successive solo shows of Tom Sachs, Anna Gaskell and Jim Hodges.
Also in town at this time is Art Aspen (3–6 August), the contemporary fair that is entering its seventh year on a high after attracting nearly 6,000 enthusiasts to its 2016 edition. Talks by leading artists, curators, gallerists and collectors will take place alongside offerings from 30 international dealers.
WHERE TO STAY
The Hotel Jerome: The stately brick building has been a feature of East Main Street since 1889. Built to rival Claridge’s in London, the Jerome later became a favoured destination for actors John Wayne and Gary Cooper as well as a hangout for gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson. It has stunning mountain views, 93 guest rooms, bars, restaurants, a pool and a spa.
The Little Nell: The boutique hotel with the diminutive name, the Little Nell is big on luxuries and amenities, with no fewer than four bars, the five-star element 47 restaurant, a pet concierge, and in the winter, it’s the only ski-in, ski-out hotel on the mountain.
Comfortable, customizable, and above all super-convenient, private air travel is a luxury that can easily come to feel like a necessity, especially for the truly global art-world traveller. Private fliers are likely to choose Sentient Jet as their provider. The Boston-based company is Sotheby’s private aviation partner and has been the official private jet partner of Aspen Snowmass for more than a dozen years. The Sentient Jet Card rewards its cardholders with unmatched benefits in the air as well as on the ground, with access to complimentary dinners at six premier Aspen restaurants, spa services, complimentary nights and upgrades at The Little Nell, our featured boutique hotel. For a limited time only, Sentient Jet is extending a special opportunity to Sotheby’s clients to fly privately to Art Crush Aspen at their competitive Cardholder rates, without any Jet Card commitment. To get a quote on your flight to Aspen, visit sentient.com/sothebys, call 866.279.2583, or enquire via email with your travel details and contact information.
This eight-bedroom, nine-bathroom home makes for a perfect family estate. Graced with cathedral ceilings and elegant woodwork, the sophisticated interior features an expansive floor designed for entertaining, with a gourmet kitchen, wine cellar and game room.
$29,900,000 Property ID: RK5KKZ sothebysrealty.com
Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty
Bob Ritchie +1 970 925 6060
This private contemporary home at the top of Eagle Pines has ski-in, ski-out access and plenty of room to breathe. Inside, expansive yet cosy spaces are set up for entertaining, while five acres of land provide direct access to hiking, biking and skiing. This residence represents the epitome of Aspen living.
Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty
Craig Morris +1 970 379 9795
Andrew Ernemann +1 970 379 8125
TOP IMAGE: COURTESY ANDERSON RANCH ARTS CENTER. A MODIFIED VERSION OF THIS STORY BY EMMA JONES APPEARS IN THE SUMMER 2017 ISSUE OF SOTHEBY'S MAGAZINE, COURTESY ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS.