While some might say Denver is the centre of Colorado’s arts scene, galleries and institutions across the Rocky Mountains are challenging that claim. Like the quaint ski towns and mountain hideaways where they can be found, Colorado’s mountain galleries are situated in tranquil locales, belying their prestigious and renowned collections. Starting with the mountain culture capital of Aspen, these are the ten best contemporary art galleries across Aspen and the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
For more than 17 years, Galerie Maximillian has succeeded in infusing Aspen’s sleepy environs with work by some of the most renowned artists from home and abroad, spanning the Americas and Europe. With half of his 35-year-long career spent managing Galerie Maximillian, Albert Sanford brings a personal taste to artists typically held already in high regard, offering an intimate guiding hand to some of the art world’s most exciting individuals. With installations that rotate on a weekly basis, visitors can be sure to discover new and stimulating pieces with each visit. Recent and notable artists on display have included Marc Quinn and Damien Hirst, as well as Peter Doig, Michael Craig-Martin and Sarah Morris.
Galerie Maximillian, 602 E Cooper Ave, Aspen, CO, USA, +1 970-925-6100
A sleek cornerstone of Aspen’s gallery scene, 212 boasts a respectable profile within the art world and even higher-profile artists. A recent collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, titled Andy Warhol in Aspen, typifies the kind of exhibitions that render 212 a standout gallery among many competitors. Other past artists on display like Robert Rauschenberg, Damien Hirst, Chuck Close and Guy Dill undeniably establish the prestige of 212 as international, while the gallery’s Aspen location marks a warm and friendly atmosphere characteristic of laid-back mountain life.
212 Gallery, 525 E Cooper Ave, Aspen, CO, USA, +1 970-925-7117
Perhaps no other Rocky Mountain gallery can claim to be more local than that of Christopher Martin, an Aspen-based painter focusing on abstract compositions inspired by his surroundings and nature. Dubbed ‘organic expressionism,’ Martin utilises layers of natural pigment and the forces of nature, like water, wind and air, as well as paintbrushes, to create a richly textured, nature-inspired aesthetic upon acrylic panels. Aside from filling his own gallery with artworks reflective of Aspen’s natural landscape, Martin has taken time to exhibit in affiliation with the Venice Biennale, as well as to lead a charity art project involving hundreds of children to raise funds for hospitals.
Christopher Martin Gallery, 525 E Cooper Ave, Aspen, CO, USA, +1 970-925-7649
With nearly 30 years of experience in the alpine art market of Colorado, Telluride Gallery of Fine Art is both an established and exciting space in one of the state’s most remote and idyllic ski towns, the beautiful Telluride. With a track record of engaging exhibitions by photographers such as Jerry Uelsmann and Scott Rhea and, landscape paintings by Bart Forbes and drawings by Bernie Fuchs, Telluride Gallery gives a strong showing of locally and nationally acclaimed artists. Doubling as a jewellery showroom, Telluride Gallery achieves a thoughtful juxtaposition of a typically segregated art form with mainstream visual arts, drawing attention to the finesse of craft latent in both.
GOCA, or the Gallery of Contemporary Art of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, is an art space bridging Colorado Springs’ student body and the public with the aim of fostering dialogue on contemporary culture through public programs and visual art exhibitions. Stressing community involvement on the topics of aesthetics and cultural issues since 2002, GOCA can certainly be seen as a challenge to Denver as the center of Colorado’s art scene, tapping into politically engaged themes such as protest, resistance and rebellion in recent programmes. With exhibitions ranging from students to established artists, GOCA is sure to offer a mix of exciting new talent and established prestige.
GOCA, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO, USA, +1 719-255-356, +1 719-255-3567
With locations in Aspen, Vail and Fort Lauderdale, it is clear that Forre Fine Art has a serious agenda. Recent shows include a feature of the Spanish masters, from Picasso and Dali to Miro, as well as Judith Kindler, Ashley Collins and H. Claude Pissarro. Mixing established artists with up-and-coming talent, Forre Fine Art is a worth a visit in the Rockies twice over – once for its location in Aspen, and a second time for its location in Vail.
Forre Fine Art, 426 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO, USA, +1 970-544-1607
Established in the Aspen vicinity in 1993, Joel Soroka Gallery is one of Colorado’s leaders in fine art photography. Owner Joel Soroka is both an established dealer in rare and vintage photographs and a participant in some of the nation’s most established photography shows like the Park Ave Armory, as well as other venues in Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. Rare and vintage photographs aside, Soroka has a strong reputation for supporting contemporary and internationally recognized artists, as well as up-and-coming talent. Mirroring the easygoing and warm ethic of the Rocky Mountains, Soroka prides himself on his willingness to educate beginners and visitors alike.
Joel Soroka Gallery, 100 Elk Run Dr #124a, Basalt, CO, USA, +1 970-927-0200
Dedicated to exhibiting contemporary artwork by artists based in Aspen, the LIVASPENART’s Gallery and Working Space should be the first destination for anyone who wishes to put their finger on the creative pulse of the Aspen art scene. Led by Olivia Daane Reische, a former apprentice of Paul Harmon, LIVASPENART consists of two parts, one a gallery dedicated to local artists, and the other a studio where art enthusiasts can view the artists at work. LIVASPENART further serves its duties as a local hub connecting artists and their audience through regular lectures held for the public.
LIVASPENART Gallery, 115 Boomerang Rd, Ste 5201E, Aspen, CO, USA, +1 970-544-0411
The Ann Korologos Gallery gives nuance to the idea of ‘Western art’, tapping into the American West and frontier culture as an inspiration for their collections. Focused on American artists working across various media from painting and photography to sculpture and print-making, Ann Korologos Gallery is an unmissable, distinctively Coloradan bulwark of the Rocky Mountains’ arts scene. Located outside of Aspen in the small town of Basalt, numerous artists featured at the gallery channel the town’s idyllic surroundings into their artistic vision, with particular reference to the town’s reputation as a mountain fishing Mecca.
Ann Korologos Gallery, 211 Midland Ave, Basalt, CO, USA, +1 970-927-9668