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Aspen Art Museum

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Mission

Aspen Art Museum is an artist-founded institution dedicated to supporting artists in the development of bold ideas to shape our museum and the field of art today. We are both a platform and a place, highly attuned to the advancement of the vital ecosystem of art and the critical discourse surrounding it within the context and community of Aspen and beyond. As an exhibition-focused, non-collecting museum, we are positioned to make strong commitments to meaningful exchange, both responding to—and driving—cultural change.

Vision

Aspen Art Museum is the leading destination for the convening of artists, scholars, policymakers, organizations, innovators, and risk takers. Responsive to the field’s needs now and next, we foster rigorous, groundbreaking thinking and seek opportunities for its impact within and outside of our walls. We are committed to the health and vitality of our local and global communities and look to artists and thinkers to lead the way, re-imagining the possibilities for our shared future.

Values

Inquiry:

We are rigorous in our pursuit of new initiatives, challenging ideas, and vibrant discourse, committed to remaining self-reflective, dynamic, and flexible.

Immediacy:

We are responsive to the artists, audiences, and context in which, our institution exists, supporting the pressing discourse of our time and the implementation of its lasting impact. We believe that diversity is central to constructive change.


Innovation:

We honor our history as an artist-founded institution and Aspen’s legacy as a locus for ideas by investing in artists and thinkers to reinvent our museum and transform our field through focused ideation, collaboration, and leadership.

Early History

In 1976, a City of Aspen vote led to the acquisition and development of an out-of-use building at 590 North Mill Street that became the Aspen Art Museum’s first home until 2014. Built in 1888, the Hunter Creek Power Plant first served the city’s silver mining operations while also enabling Aspen to be the first city west of the Mississippi to have streetlights powered by hydroelectric energy. Supporting a recommendation that an art space would offer the most creative and adaptive community service, the City assisted efforts to rehabilitate the disused structure. By November 1977, the Aspen Center for the Visual Arts (ACVA) was incorporated within the state of Colorado, and in August 1978, the ACVA board selected its first director, Philip Yenawine.

On June 16, 1979, the ACVA opened to the public with the inaugural exhibition American Portraits of the Sixties and Seventies, featuring works by Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Chuck Close, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Mapplethorpe, Claes Oldenburg, and Andy Warhol, among others.

The first year three years of programming featured a wide range of exhibitions, including one-person shows by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg. In 1984, the board approved a name change to the Aspen Art Museum (AAM) to better reflect its curatorial scope, established its AAM National Council, and became a nationally accredited institution through the American Association of Museums (now American Alliance of Museums).

Director

Nicola Lees

Board of Trustees

John Phelan, Chair
Melony Lewis, Co-President
Amnon Rodan, Co-President
Mary Scanlan, Secretary
Justin Douglas, Treasurer

Sarah Arison
Barbara Bluhm-Kaul
Chris Brown
Janet Crown
Domenico De Sole
Marcy Edelstein
Bruce Etkin
Joe Felson
Christy Ferer
Barbara Gamson
David Ganek
Steve Hansen
Toby Devan Lewis, In Memoriam
Nancy Magoon
Nicola Marcus
Susan Marx
Paul Pariser
Kelli Questrom
Nancy Rogers
Gayle Stoffel
Jamie Tisch

Director History

Philip Yenawine
1977–1982

Laurel Jones
1982–1986

Annette DiMeo Carlozzi
1986–1989

David Floria (Curator/Acting Director)
1989

Susan Jackson
1989–1990

Susie Hojel
1991–1992

Suzanne Farver
1992–1999

Mary Ann Igna (Interim Director)
1999–2000

Dean Sobel
2000–2005

Heidi Zuckerman
2005–2019


Awards

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