Renowned Italian artist to encapsulate facade of Aspen Art Museum with inflated installation

A rendering of what the facade of the Aspen Art Museum facade will look like next summer.
Courtesy Image

The entire facade of the Aspen Art Museum facade will be covered next summer with puffy vinyl and nylon wrap and LED lights to illuminate the imagery of a mountain landscape.

Aspen city council on Tuesday unanimously approved the museum’s request for a temporary use permit for the art installation for up to 180 days.

Installation is scheduled for April 25 through October 23, 2022. The exhibit will feature a display panel supporting commercial grade vinyl wrap, air blowers and LED lights, according to a presentation by town planner Michelle Bonfils Thibeault.



It will take two weeks before April 25 to fabricate and set up the exhibit and an additional two weeks to be taken down after October 23.

The museum invited the Italian artist Gaetano Pesce, 81, considered one of the most influential living designers in the world, to create an in situ commission for the facade of his building, funded in part by the Italian Ministry of Culture.



Pesce’s work will be created with the aim of evoking the natural form of the mountains as an iconic symbol of the town of Aspen and its immediate surroundings.

The artwork will be constructed with a flat billboard style background that serves as the sky, as well as inflated sun and mountain components.

The material will not protrude more than 18 ”from the front of the building, nor will it exceed the height of the building.

Programmable LEDs will be used for the stars and the sun, the latter being in translucent fabric with internal lighting.

It is expected that the installation will be deactivated just after dusk.

“The perception of the building’s lighting will look different,” said Bonfils Thibeault. “The chandelier-less building has a transparent quality given the pattern of the basket. “

The facade of the Aspen Art Museum, Tuesday, September 14.

Three small fans, with a power of around 500 watts with a daily consumption of around 36KW, will be used to inflate the room and placed under a stairwell on the first floor of the building, on the west side.

The fans are similar in volume to a window air conditioner with decibel levels according to city rules, and the artwork is expected to be inflated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Sound boxes around the fans will be used if they become too loud for locals.

Council members expressed concerns about lighting, noise and power consumption, but authorized the museum to work with the city’s community development staff to develop a plan to alleviate these issues.

“I think it’s great and you know, art is supposed to evoke a reaction, the positives and negatives of what it’s about and seems to be different,” said City Councilor Rachel Richards. “I think our city and I would be honored to have it, and I think we should invite the delegation from our Italian sister city to come during next summer.”

Pesce’s first trip to the United States was to Aspen in 1971 for the International Design Conference, and he’s returned every year since, said Nicola Less, Nancy and Bob Magoon director of the Aspen Art Museum..

“We are very happy that this is her last substantial project (of her life),” she said.

Luis Yllanes, the museum’s chief operating officer, told the board that the scale of the project will have national and international significance while being highly relevant and engaging for the local community.

“Everything from the imagery that you can see on the frontage, which is the landscape that reflects the mountains that are here in Aspen,” he said. “We think it will be great and exciting for local residents and returning visitors who are used to seeing something outside the museum before entering the building.”

Local artist and gallery owner Sam Harvey spoke out in favor of the app on Tuesday with some of those same thoughts.

“I think about how this makes our community vibrant and how much attention it will bring to our community by adding the city’s name internationally and nationally,” he said.

City Councilor John Doyle said that as an artist himself he appreciates public art and understands the impact the installation could have on Aspen.

“I think it’s very important for communities around the world to be able to just see art without having to pay to enter a museum, or in our case, we don’t have to pay,” he said. -he declares. “I’m thrilled… that this artist is coming here and showing his work, and lately, with all the talk about Aspen remaining relevant, that’s what keeps Aspen relevant.” “

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