Andy in Aspen: Warhol photographs of Aspen on view at Hotel Jerome
Jim Hedges curates photographs and Polaroids from Andy Warhol's local visits
What: “Andy in Aspen”
Where: Wheeler Room, Hotel Jerome
When: Through March 3
More info: A portion of proceeds from sales will benefit the Aspen Art Museum; “Andy in Aspen” will be followed by “Women of Warhol“ opening March 1 at Bad Harriet; HotelJerome.com
Aspen’s winter of Warhol continues with two new exhibitions of the artist’s photographs at the Hotel Jerome, curated by Jim Hedges from his private collection.
The two-show run begins with “Andy in Aspen,” up now and showing photos and Polaroids by and of Warhol during visits to Aspen in the 1970s and early 1980. “Andy in Aspen” will be followed by Hedges’ “Women of Warhol,” showcasing the artist’s portraits and candids of famous females in his orbit. The shows complement the museum-wide “Andy Warhol: LIfetimes“ at the Aspen Art Museum and ”Warhol in Colorado“ at the Powers Art Center in Carbondale — both still up and running.
The Aspen-focused photography show offers a chance to see Aspen through Warhol’s eyes, including many adoring snowy landscapes that underscore his often-repeated philosophy that “land is the best art” (being Warhol, of course, he contradicted himself by also proclaiming at other times “business is the best art“).
“Andy’s beautiful photographs of The Roaring Fork Valley shine a personal and romantic view of the artist’s appreciation for the majesty of our nature, in quite strong contrast to his broader body of work,” Hedges said of the show. “To see Aspen through Andy’s eyes gives us a sense of how indelible an impression the community makes on those who are lucky enough to visit or call it home.“
Warhol visited Aspen throughout his career, from as early as December 1956 when he was having his first art shows outside New York City through the mid-1980s when he made a string of New Year’s Eve visits chronicled in his journals. The artist also frequently came to see his friends and patrons John and Kimiko Powers, who lived in Carbondale, he bought land in Missouri Heights and he edited the avant-garde Aspen “magazine in a box” in 1966.
“Andy Warhol spent decades visiting Aspen, and his connection to the Valley represents an important chapter of the artist’s life,” Hedges said.
Some of the local shots may be familiar to local art patrons as they were also exhibited at Christie’s pop-up shows in 2014, 2015 and 2021 and helped feed the local Warhol lore. Those include images that help one imagine walking or driving Aspen and taking in the scene with Warhol — images like the Aspen Valley Hospital sign buried in snow in 1980, a downtown street lamp with a snowy Christmas wreath on it in 1983 and an image of the Snowbunny Lane street sign nearly buried in powder.
But many of these images are fresh and weren’t in previous shows, including an intriguing candid of John Denver posed with his plane at Sardy Field in Aspen. Warhol wrote in his journals of meeting the “Rocky Mountain High” singer here in 1981, noting that Denver said people often mistake him for Warhol.
The black-and-white photos include images of the Powers’ home in Carbondale (one with Warhol posed in an oversized trapper’s fur coat) and several snowy landscapes, including the view of Aspen Mountain from Baby Jane Holzer’s home in Meadowood.
We see an image of Warhol on skis during a Powder Pandas lesson at Buttermilk Ski Area (“It was easy,” he wrote in his journal on Dec. 30, 1981, “all the two-year-olds skiing with me, and if you start when you’re two you can really go with the waves and relax and become a good skier, but I was so tense. I fell three times.”)
Warhol also captured candid ski shots of his compatriots Jed Johnson and Catherine Guinness and boyfriend Jon Gould, including a sweet portrait of Gould with a heart carved into a snowbank.
The photos are evidence of the life of performance art that Warhol created, but also maybe give us a more intimate peek at his nonpublic self. The Aspen shots are certainly of a different ilk than Warhol’s famed screen tests or his celebrity Polaroids (both on view in must-see sections of the Aspen Art Museum show).
The “Women of Warhol” exhibition, timed to International Women’s Month, promises to offer a different side of the artist’s photographic practice and habit. Also from Hedges’ collection, the works to be included in this show include posed and candid images of some favorite Warhol subjects like Bianca Jagger, who is featured in several candids including one at Studio 54 in 1977.
The collection also offers Warhol’s glimpse of Madonna with John “Jellybean” Benitez in 1984, of Lana Turner and the “Love Boat” cast, of actor Pia Zadora, philanthropist Deeda Blair, First Lady Nancy Reagan in 1981 and Elizabeth Taylor at Halston’s home (Halston himself also crops up on a couch with Dolly Parton). There are photo portraits of figures like Princess Caroline of Monaco, Liza Minelli and Tina Turner and of Warhol himself posing with Ginger Rogers in 1980.
Like the Aspen shots, these help place you in Warhol’s world, imagining what he was doing, for example, with Grace Jones and Maria Shriver when he found them laughing cheek-to-cheek at a party in 1986 or of the laughter as he shot Pat Hackett holding a peeled banana.
As Hedges puts it, Warhol had a “furious, poetic eye who knew that a camera could celebrate the famous and also preserve the simple, silent corners of the world where a real interaction could be made.”
Read more of The Aspen Times coverage of this winter’s exhibitions and Andy Warhol’s history in Aspen:
* “In Aspen with Andy Warhol,” Dec. 2, Aspen Times Weekly
* “Warhol exhibition begins winter-long run at Aspen Art Museum,” Dec. 4, The Aspen Times
* “Why another Warhol show?” Dec. 9, Aspen Times Weekly
* “Finding Warhol in ‘After and Before,’“ Dec. 16, Aspen Times Weekly
* “The Day Andy Warhol Visited the Times,” Dec. 23, Aspen Times Weekly
* “Inside the ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable’ at the Aspen Art Museum,” Dec. 23, Aspen Times Weekly
* “Andy Warhol’s Aspen New Year’s Eves,” Dec. 30, Aspen Times Weekly
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