Despite COVID-19, the art fair formerly known as Art Aspen is returning this year—that is, with a new name and a virtual platform. The annual event is now called Intersect Aspen (July 22-26), and will be hosted entirely online due to ongoing public health protocols. Participants who log in for the event, however, can still expect to see a huge mix of galleries, and featured artists and their work.
"I think we have a really well-rounded group of galleries presenting everything from contemporary and modern art to photography and design," said the fair's managing director Becca Hoffman.
Over a hundred galleries from around the world and the Roaring Fork Valley have signed on to this year's event. Hoffman—who took over as Intersect Aspen's managing director in early March, right before the pandemic-related shutdowns—said that despite not being able to gather for this year's event, going virtual has had some benefits.
"Out of this moment has come a lot of pivoting and creativity, like the fact that we can have 110 galleries from 28 countries," she said of the COVID-timed planning phase. "Taking [financial barriers of travel and transport] away allows for a platform that has so many further opportunities."
Intersect Aspen will also stream discussions led by curator and critic Paul Laster with three featured artists who all have Aspen ties. Fred Tomaselli (Wednesday, July 22, 11 a.m.), Sanford Biggers (Friday, July 24, 11 a.m.) and Kelly Aksashi (Sunday, July 26, 11 a.m.) will all take part in the Q&A sessions.
New to this year's art fair is also "One Thing," Intersect Aspen's initiative to highlight the work of local nonprofits. A daily silent auction will also give part of the proceeds to each of the featured organizations. Virtual attendees can bid on artwork in the silent auction, log in for virtual artist talks or peruse online viewing rooms until July 26.