By David Stillman Meyer | December 29, 2017 | Culture
This year Wagner cycles down; Warhol eats his first crount; and the Facebook Art Foundation debuts on red mountain, sort of...
It was an Aspen Music Festival-first inside the Benedict-Bezos Music Tent when Wagner’s Ring Cycle was performed last July. They did have to trim the performance length from three days to one, due to waning Generation Z attention spans, but it was a triumph nonetheless.
The waitlist to visit the state-of-the-art Virtual Reality Annex at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass is now approaching two years. The Holodeck-like rooms combine the latest in virtual reality, robotics and holographic technology to create fully realized, immersive landscapes, which often engage all five senses. Current artists have created experiences for visitors that range from enjoying a cronut and a selfie with Andy Warhol, to a Murakami ski experience, to graffitiing the “Mona Lisa” with your choice of spray paint.
The Facebook Art Foundation finally opened after several years of delays. Zuckerberg enlisted MacArthur fellow Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro to reimagine its 2002 Blur Building at the summit of Red Mountain. Covered in a perpetual white mist, the amorphous facade uses a hyperefficient irrigation system that consumes the equivalent of one toilet flush of water per day. While there is no access via motorized vehicle, visitors may hike or skin to the site. Inside, one may be surprised to not find a single painting, but instead an omni-theater auditorium—the globe-shaped screen wraps completely around the theater and plays three films on loop: War Games (1983), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and The Matrix (1999). Entrance is free of charge courtesy of the Travis Kalanick Foundation.
With vintage Harry Potter posters hanging in the vitrine at the Hyman Avenue gallery, gray-haired millennials are feeling their age. “Everything was just so much cooler and original back then,” a 12-year-old girl commented while looking fondly at a Prisoner of Azkaban lithograph. The recently rebooted Potter franchise has received universal eye rolls from critics and audiences alike. “Everything is just a rehash of something that came before,” the girl sighed.
Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is who will be the new president of the Aspen Institute when Michelle Obama steps down after her lauded 19-year tenure. On the short list is Colorado Governor (and former Aspen Skiing Company CEO) Mike Kaplan and space pilot and entrepreneur Elon Musk.
RED MOUNTAIN PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID STILLMAN MEYER; WAGNER RING CYCLE PHOTO COURTESY OF XINHUA VIA ZUMA WIRE