While much of the world spent its lockdown period wringing its collective hands in despair at what-could-have-been, Lebanese design platform House of Today got to work and, in collaboration with New York’s R&Company and the Seoul, Hong Kong and New York-based Lehmann Maupin, has opened a unique design pop-up in the heart of America’s Rocky Mountains – Aspen, Colorado.
For sure, no one could have envisaged the way the world would turn during the early months of 2020. Now, as we move cautiously but optimistically from lockdown towards the undoubted opportunities that this new way of living presents, Lebanon’s House of Today has emerged in to the bright lights of the year’s second half with renewed vigour.
As the spread of the virus brought in to question global plans great and small, House of Today, led by founder Cherine Magrabi, quickly came to value the importance of staying positive throughout the crisis.
Alongside long-time partners R&Company, and with new friends Lehmann Maupin, she got together (virtually) to co-curate an exhibition dedicated to the gesture of the hand: Haptic Narrative – The Aspen Edition.
On August 1st, House of Today, together with R&Company and Lehmann Maupin, decamped to Aspen in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to present a pop-up exhibition designed to open dialogue between art and design, established talents and emerging names, vintage and contemporary, East and West.
Throughout the six weeks until September 15th, Helen Pasghian’s resin sphere sculptures will sit paired with Catherine Opie’s landscape photographs of national parks, along with panels and sculptures by Nari Ward which evoke the therapeutic virtues of copper, and recent works from McArthur Binion and Cecilia Vicuna – all actively supported by Lehmann Maupin.
The vintage furniture of Wendell Castle and Joaquim Tenreiro, curated by R & Company, is installed within a private viewing room.
A unique collaboration between House of Today and these two partners of global influence, Haptic Narrative – The Aspen Edition includes several works rarely or never yet publicly seen by a select group of Lebanese designers: Carlo and Mary-Lynn Massoud, Sayar & Garibeh, Karen Chekerdjian, Hala Matta and Stéphanie Moussallem, and provides high level exposure during Aspen’s busy summer holiday period – a high-end destination for high-net-worth individuals – and within a city that boasts a strong pedigree as a leading center for design in the United States.
The common thread of Haptic Narrative – The Aspen Edition – House of Today’s first foray in to the world of curation and exhibiting since last year – springs from their desire and urgency to support Lebanon’s artistic community by revealing unique works produced during confinement. It is also inspired by a yearning to offer collectors and the public the possibility of rediscovering the incomparable emotion driven by the physical encounter with canvas, sculpture, installation, furniture in these post-lockdown times.
The show also represents an essential preview of a postponed 2020 show, co-curated by House of Today and R & Company, which will now be held in New York in 2021 where a wider roster of Lebanese contemporary designers works will be featured.
Haptic Narrative – The Aspen Edition runs from 1 August – 15 September 2020 at the Shigeru Ban-designed Aspen Arts Museum, in Aspen, Colorado.