A Total Work of Art

Herbert Bayer-designed Aspen Institute will launch a center for Bayer studies

The Aspen Institute in summer. (Dan Bayer)

Self-made billionaires Lynda and Stewart Resnick have donated $10 million to establish the Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies on the Aspen Institute campus in Colorado.

Bayer, an exemplary figure of the Bauhaus movement in America, designed the institute’s historic campus, originally founded in 1949 as the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies. The new Resnick Center will allow the institute to preserve and showcase Bayer’s art, grow its collection, borrow from other cultural institutions, and create new exhibitions to educate the public about Bayer’s remarkable modernist legacy. The gift is timely as the Institute, and the town of Aspen itself, have been heavily involved in the global celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement.

“Bayer’s unique creative vision allowed him to capture complex phenomena in their core, simplified elements,” said Dan Porterfield, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “Inspiring such vision in others is the mission of the Aspen Institute. By demonstrating the ways in which Bayer’s art and architecture contributed profoundly to the development of both the Institute and Aspen, Colorado, this new center will bring the Institute and the community into an even greater relationship, which is one of our highest priorities.”

Concrete modernist sculptures in a meadow

Sculptures nestled in the Institute’s meadows. (Dan Bayer)

Like Bayer’s work, innovative thinking and problem-solving are central to the Institute. The new center will enhance programming, and visitors will be able to learn the principles of design and creativity and apply those principles to their own work, whether it be art, social improvement, or entrepreneurship.

The new center will be architecturally integrated with the remaining grounds, bringing to life Bayer’s vision of the campus as a total work of art. The project is expected to complete in Summer 2022.

The Aspen Institute is also a non-profit organization, or “think-tank,” working to build a free, just, and equitable society. As the creation of Walter Peapcke and Herbert Bayer, the Institute was the original home of the International Design Conference at Aspen (IDCA), an ongoing series founded in 1949 to serve as a forum for designers to discuss and disseminate current developments in the related fields of graphic arts, industrial design, and architecture.

Aerial photo of rolling green hills

Another view of the Institute’s meadows in summer. (Dan Bayer)

Lynda and Stewart Resnick are co-owners of The Wonderful Company, a privately held $4.6 billion global company dedicated to agriculture and health through consumer brands like FIJI Water and Wonderful Pistachios. Their philanthropy includes historic gifts to UCLA and LACMA.

“As longtime Aspen residents, we have had the opportunity to experience and admire the vision of the great Bauhaus master Herbert Bayer through the work he created in this community,” said Lynda Resnick, vice-chair and co-owner of The Wonderful Company. “We are gratified to support the Institute in providing a resource for future generations to appreciate the influence that Bauhaus had on Bayer and consequently on the town of Aspen and the campus of the Aspen Institute, Bayer’s greatest work of art.” 

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