Haptic Narrative – The Aspen Edition: Collaboration with Lehmann Maupin and House of Today

August 8 - September 19, 2020

535 E. Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO


Aspen has been at the vanguard of artistic and intellectual cross-pollination since the 1950s. The city is home to The Aspen Institute, the legendary and ephemeral Aspen Magazine, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and the Aspen Art Museum designed by Shigeru Ban in 2014. From August 8 to September 19, 2020, the city will host Haptic Narrative – The Aspen Edition, an in-person exhibition of art and collectible design. 

Two highly prized New York galleries, Lehmann Maupin and R & Company, have teamed up with House of Today – the leading non-profit organization supporting twenty-first century Lebanese design – to create a collaborative, multidisciplinary partnership. The pop-up exhibition creates an open-ended dialogue between art and design, established and emerging talent, vintage and contemporary, and East and West, while inhabiting a vast, luminous space with panoramic views of the Colorado landscape, an experience more akin to a private loft viewing than a visit to the impersonal “white cube.” 

In a world that suddenly stopped due to the global pandemic, genuine collaborative projects that bring together disciplines, cultures and generations are more important now than ever, projects that are able to bring both moral and material support to artists at a time when they need them most. The implications of the current health crisis are both economic and social and a reminder that the primary mission of a gallery should be to give artists the space and means to create and express their vision of the world while earning a sustainable living from that vision. Even though it might have been obscured in recent years by the primacy of art in the marketplace, it is essential to reconnect with this mission. It is essential to continue creating connections, especially during dark times, to shed light on our society through the work of artists. Giving back is a non-negotiable, central tenant and philosophy that takes on additional meaning in the current landscape, against the backdrop of crises affecting the United States, Lebanon and the rest of the world. 

Lehmann Maupin director Sarah Calodney, House of Today founder Cherine Magrabi and R & Company founders and principals Evan Snyderman and Zesty Meyers felt driven to coordinate their curatorial efforts on this exhibition, giving strength and vitality to the work presented by each of the selected artists and designers. The exhibition is driven by two guiding principles: to offer support to the artistic community during this difficult time – including showing work created during lockdown – and to offer collectors and audiences the opportunity to rediscover the indescribable feeling of encountering artists’ work first hand (visits will be by appointment only). 

Throughout the exhibition, Helen Pashgian’s resin spherical sculptures are in dialogue with the blurry precision of Catherine Opie’s landscape photography of national parks, Nari Ward’s panels and sculptures that allude to the therapeutic qualities of copper, and McArthur Binion and Cecilia Vicuña’s recent work – all actively represented by Lehmann Maupin. 

Haptic Narrative – The Aspen Edition will also be an opportunity to see new work, some on view for the first time, by Carlo and Mary-Lynn Massoud, Hala Matta, Karen Chekerdjian, Sayar & Garibeh, and Stéphanie Moussallem ahead of a major exhibition of Lebanese contemporary design, co-curated by House of Today and R & Company, that will take place next year in New York. 

Due to the dual influences of a lack of industrial production and the formidable resilience of local artisanal know-how, Lebanese design has, as is clearly visible in the Haptic Narrative, thrived as unique and limited editioned work. This natural evolution is at the heart of something of a developing manifesto: why design yet another chair, table or bookcase meant to be produced en masse and preprogrammed with obsoletism, putting our planet further at risk? This sentiment is echoed in the vintage furniture of Wendell Castle and Joaquim Tenreiro presented by R & Company, alongside work by Nicola L.