Powers Art Center
Originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of SPOKE+BLOSSOM
Powers Art Center sits prominently in a pasture just outside of Carbondale, Colorado, but despite its small town locale, this sleek, modern art hub would not feel out of place in a metropolitan area. The building is striking and modern, a major work by Tokyo-based architect Hiroshi Nanamori. While square and modern, employing ample concrete, the building mixes contemporary design with local flavor. It features local sandstone and was designed to frame views of nearby peak Mount Sopris. In summer, a reflecting pond adds to the building’s visual impact and interplay with the natural landscape.
Powers Art Center is a museum and study center honoring the memory of American collector John G. Powers. Powers amassed asignificant collection of contemporary art, especially the art of Jasper Johns, a friend of Powers. The art center has over 300 of Johns' limited edition works on paper that rotate in display sets of 100. Johns and Powers enjoyed a friendship, as well as an artist-collector relationship, and the Powers Art Center collection has over 300 Johns limited edition works on paper, of which about 100 are on view at a time.
Jasper Johns is a significant American artistof the 20th century who currently lives in rural Connecticut. Johns is a painter, sculptor and printmaker whose work is relevant to the abstract expressionism, Neo-Dada and pop art movements. While his work has often been assumed to be infused with political meaning, the artist himself seems to loathe explaining his pieces.
While the focus of the Powers Art Center is Johns’ works on paper, one gallery space is dedicated to a rotating exhibit of works by other artists in the former John and Kimiko Powers art collection. In May, the space featured prints by Andy Warhol.
Powers was also passionate about Japanese art and developed a relationship with famed Karatsu potter Takashi Nakazato. Nakazato’s ceramic pieces are displayed throughout the galleries. Nakazato practices his family’s traditional Karatsu techniques that began in the 16th century and have continued with unbroken lineage to this day. Nakazato teaches around the world and has recently been a visiting artist at another Roaring Fork Valley art institution, Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village.
The Center is located on property purchased by the Powers family in the 70s. While Powers and his wife began collecting during their time in New York City, visits to the Aspen Institute solidified their connection to the Roaring Fork Valley, and they eventually made Colorado their primary residence.
Powers Art Center is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Center closes annually around May through early June to rotate exhibits and on major holidays. Additionally, the Center may not open during significant winter storms. It is advisable to call ahead (970.963.4445) when planning your visit. Admission is free. powersartcenter.org