Back Home In Colorado, The Design Of The Aspen Art Museum, Summer 2015

It is always a bit disorienting to return home after a long trip.
It has taken us more than a week to get over the jet-lag and adjust to the new time zone, the dry mountain air and the high altitude.

The return of my daily nagging worries and petty obsessions is not something that I like to pick up again after traveling, but it happens.
Suddenly I am worried about my weight, about the Greek economy that affects our investments, about all the catastrophes that happen all around the world, away from these quiet vast mountains that I call home.

On the positive side, it is summer in the mountains and the sky is impossibly blue.
The Aspen Music Festival is about to start, and Jules has already booked for us some lovely classical concerts.

We took out the outdoor furniture that we bought last summer, and placed them on our deck.
Despite logic, it feels so careless to put such nice new outdoor living sofas outdoors, where the chipmunks and lizards, the ants and the cicadas, the deer and the soaring Eagles, can shit or run on it.
After all, since ours is not a covered deck, the furniture just sits out in the open air.

On the other hand, I never felt this way when we had an outdoor wooden dining table and chairs on that deck.
The wood can be hosed down, but these nice sofas and sectional sitting areas seem so lavish to be placed outdoors….

I will have to get over it, because for the first time in years, I have actually been lounging outdoors under the shade of the umbrella and enjoying our surrounding mountains.

During the wintertime, we usually head to Vail to ski, and we ski either in Vail or in Beaver Creek, but in the summertime, we usually head towards Aspen.
We shop for groceries in Basalt, a small town right before Aspen where there is a newly opened Whole Foods supermarket, and we also visit the farmers’ market in Glenwood Springs, where we buy fresh produce from the growers.

This week we had a lovely, healthy lunch at the Pyramid Bistro in Aspen and visited
The new Aspen Art Museum.

For an artist, visiting the art museum was very nourishing.
At times, I look at my art and feel that I have so much room to grow…. So much to express…. So much to say…. Yet the world seems to be interested in other things…. People seem to be struggling just to make a living…. To build a basic life devoid of sickness, boredom, and to find love or some meaning….
It feels too much to ask to try and sell them art….

But I am aware that there are always many sides to my perception, and many ways to look at what I am feeling.
Feelings are often misleading.

Yes, some people suffer, lack and struggle, but others prosper, celebrate, rejoice, enjoy, appreciate and collect art.

Luckily, this week, despite my jet lag and disorientation, I sold two paintings and spent a few days packing the art carefully and shipping it.
It feels so nice when people appreciate and buy your art… When people choose to buy art and see the value in living with it….

The collector even told me that when she surprised her husband with the boxed painting, he thought that the box looked too narrow to be a “Tali Landsman,” and that it must be some kind of “dumb sporting gear,” since they are avid outdoors people. When he saw the painting, he told her that it was the best gift she had ever given him!

While I was feeling lavish and wasteful sitting on our new outdoor sofas that cost us $4300, I read an article in Forbes Magazine about people who had traveled to Myanmar, Bhutan and Africa on a private jet with top luxury hotels and a private chef onboard.
24 activity-packed days cost them $77,000 per person…. AND they hardly had any time to see all the wonders we just saw.
In the same magazine, a home espresso machine was featured that sells for $7000.

I consoled myself with the fact that our outdoor sofas will last for years and give us many fun days of enjoyment, grilling Paellas outdoors or roasting Moroccan Tajines…

Anyway….The Aspen Art Museum is a delight.
It was designed by the Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban, who designs modern buildings with disposable materials.

Ban started designing with cardboard rolls when he was helping to restore areas that suffered from natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding.
In third world countries like Haiti, the people took down the buildings that were built for them, to sell them as construction materials, so Ban used cardboard, which has no value in the secondary market.

The Aspen Art Museum looks airy and dynamic, spacious and almost floating.
The museum is filled with intelligent, knowledgeable artistic staff, not with security guards.
The staff comes to you and starts conversing about art and design or architecture.
They are instructed to engage the visitors and converse; what a delight!

Here is what the Denver Post wrote about the museum:

“Only in Aspen! — surrounded by hills and mountains of money — would the good citizens come together to raise $72 million for a museum with no collection.

Not that the Aspen Art Museum isn’t worth the attention.
Its roster of rotating exhibitions, sometimes difficult, routinely ground-breaking, make it a national leader in contemporary art.

And not that its new, $45 million building, opening with a 24-hour celebration Aug. 9, isn’t a prized possession.

The place is a modern wonder, a mind-bending box, covered top to bottom in a screen of wood strips woven together like a basket, and designed by Shigeru Ban, the top architect in the world right now.

Still, it takes a civic sensibility specific to this mountain town — flashy, spendy, grateful and generous — to pull off an effort this size.

Consider: The entire museum was funded by private donations, with 27 local moguls and lucky trustfunders writing checks for $1 million or more each.

That will leave the AAM (Aspen Art Museum) with a tidy endowment of about $27 million to help cover operations for decades to come.

“There’s not a single tax dollar, not a single dollar of public money,” said Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, the powerhouse director who spent eight years leading the charge for the new museum, battling opponents who thought the building might be too large and out-of character for a town that remains cozy on its surface….

…..There are a variety of cardboard tubes at the AAM, some the size of packing tape rolls, and others wrapping paper rolls.
They are fashioned into benches and line a stairway ceiling.
Overall though, the interior is mostly free of extreme ornamentation.

It’s not for traditionalists — and Aspenites will be watching to see how much shade the building casts on the downtown in the winter when all sunlight is precious — but it likely will please the art aficionados who paid for it.

They are a varied but intent group, with significant representation on the annual “Top 200” international collectors list published by the prestigious “Art in America” magazine.

“Of the 200, 22 have homes here in Aspen, and they know the value of art” said board member Nancy Magoon.
She and her husband, Bob, gave more than $2 million, and she was a key fundraiser for the effort overall.

Many of Aspen’s wealthier residents live in the town part-time with permanent homes, and philanthropic demands, in places like Dallas or Los Angeles where they reside the rest of the year.

“This is everybody’s second museum,” Magoon said. “But I wasn’t turned down by a single one of them.”

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