My first trip to Aspen was in 1986, to interview a superb singer who was going to perform at a royal wedding. She was part of the Aspen Music Festival and School. Sitting in the music tent and soaking in her performance, walking around the campus seeing students everywhere, being struck by the beauty of the music tent (as well as Aspen’s stunning location), wandering around town: That visit was magical.
The credit is due to a wealthy industrialist named Walter Paepcke, who in the 1940s decided to turn Aspen into a place that valued culture – and skiing. Paepcke asked Herbert Bayer — artist and graphic designer, and a student of the influential, if short-lived, Bauhaus — to visit Aspen. The rest is history.
For a really good read, click on the first link below. It leads to a story in Architect magazine by David Hill, who writes often on architecture (he also is a producer at Colorado Public Radio). This piece — “How the Bauhaus Came to Aspen” — popped up in my inbox this morning, and I couldn’t stop reading: a struggling former mining town blossomed because it banked on design, ideas and stunning buildings (unfortunately, some of them gone).
The Bauhaus, which was shut down by the Nazi regime, is being celebrated on its 100th anniversary. There have been exhibitions on the Bauhaus and lots of stories, including a piece that ran earlier this year in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and a list of related books on CityLab.
Closer to home, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art has mounted a small exhibition pulled from its collections related to the Bauhaus; a lecture about Bayer is sold out, according to the museum’s website. To learn more about Bayer’s work, head to the Denver Art Museum (DAM), where work from the Herbert Bayer Collection & Archive is displayed on the lower level of the Hamilton Building. And keep your eye out driving north on I-25 to get a glimpse of one of Bayer’s outdoor sculptures, sited in the Denver Design District: The soaring, bright yellow Articulated Wall also is part of the DAM’s collection.