As part of its ongoing Art in Unexpected Places program, Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) will feature the work of Chicago and Aspen-based multi-media artist Paula Crown. “Our history in supporting and partnering with the arts community ties in perfectly with our core principals and our company’s business philosophy,” says Mike Kaplan, president and CEO, Aspen Skiing Company. “Art, like skiing is just another way to live passionately and honor the things that make this community shine.”
The five lift-ticket designs give a curated view into Crown’s sprawling sculptural installation, SOLO TOGETHER. Using the form of the crushed red Solo cup as 150 unique hand-painted plaster sculptures, the work unpacks the symbol of all-American fun. The ubiquitous, single-use plastic cup offers an opportunity to contemplate a number of complex ideas including environmental awareness, the singular experience of togetherness, FOMO, and a consumer culture defined by abundance and optimism.
In their full form, SOLO TOGETHER’s cups stand in the absence of a party, each sculpture titled with the personality that may have created it. With titles like “Failing Out” and “Keeping Up Appearances,” a taxonomy of characters is assigned to the sculptures. The imagined internal and social energy is stored in the facsimile of crushed plastic. Crown points to the transference of energy that takes place as we record our presence in everything we touch. Looking toward a new generation defined by climate change, SOLO TOGETHER takes the leftover traces we make in plastic and makes them uncannily heavy underneath the bright and cheerful red coating. “Art provides space for important conversation,” says Paula Crown. “Though provocative, the cups remind us to take note of each individual imprint in the world. Each cup was made to reflect a soft organic interior. We exist in dual modes…solo and together in larger social spheres.”
The red color sends two messages: one of joy and the other of alarm. Who will clean up after the party? How will we all manage the oppressive quantity of single-use plastic products? This is a challenge we need to address together. For the ski passes, abstracted photographs of the cups provided curious and new ways of viewing a common element.
The Art in Unexpected Places program (ArtUP) continues to develop as a significant expression of the belief in the importance of bridging the relationship between commerce and culture. The program was recently expanded to the new Limelight hotel in Ketchum, Idaho, and will continue to explore relationships with institutions, artists, and curators across the globe. In the past, Aspen Skiing Company has partnered with institutions such as the Aspen Art Museum featuring commissioned works by internationally notable artists including Yutaka Sone, Peter Doig, Karen Kilimnik, Jim Hodges, Carla Klein, Mamma Andersson, Mark Grotjahn, David Shrigley, Mark Bradford, Anne Collier, Takashi Murakami, and, last year, Laura Owens.