Haptic Narrative – The Aspen Edition
A collaboration between R & Company, Lehmann Maupin and House of Today.
535 E. Hyman Avenue, Aspen, Colorado
August 8th – September 15th 2020
AS BEIRUT MOURNS its loss after the cataclysmic explosion in the city’s port last week, an exhibition of Lebanese design is opening in Aspen in Colorado. Despite the weakness of Lebanon’s infrastructure and its fraying economy – further devastated by COVID-19 and the country’s sheltering of over 1.5 million refugees from Syria – the country is full of talent. The resilience of expert local craftsmanship in this melting pot of cultures, has given rise to a strong, highly creative tradition of contemporary Lebanese design, responsive both to European and Middle Eastern influences.
R & Company is planning a major exhibition of Lebanese contemporary design, co-curated with House of Today, the leading non-profit organisation supporting twenty-first century Lebanese design, to take place next year in New York. But this summer the gallery has joined forces with Lehmann Maupin to bring forward this in-person show.
Here, in a vast, light-filled space overlooking the Colorado landscape, Haptic Narrative – The Aspen edition, offers visitors new work, some on view for the first time, from five Lebanese design studios, complemented by works of art from Lehmann Maupin and vintage collectible design from R & Company. Sleek limited-edition furniture by Stéphanie Moussallem and bold ceramics by Hala Matta take their place among more colourful and exuberantly experimental pieces by Carlo and Mary-Lynn Massoud, Karen Chekerdjian and Sayar & Garibeh.
The galleries offer a joint statement: “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.” For the artists of Lebanon, this summer, the expression of that mission could not be more essential – nor, for the visitor, more joyful.