6 Questions for Dealer Simon Miccio on Why He’s Betting on Aspen With the Opening of His New Gallery

Simon Miccio Gallery aims to bring a new dynamic to the art world outpost.

Simon Miccio. Photo: Dale Mitchell, Summit Photo and Film.

Earlier this summer, Simon Miccio launched his new gallery in Aspen, Colorado, with the inaugural exhibition “Center for Art and Advocacy: A Presentation of the Work of Nine Justice-Impacted Artists.” Collaborating with the Center for Art and Advocacy, helmed by Jesse Krimes, the show platformed the work of artists impacted by the criminal justice system and offered new perspectives and narratives relating to mass incarceration.

The show and its strong curatorial theme not only announced the gallery’s arrival within the Aspen art scene but also boldly introduced the emerging gallery’s exhibition program and direction. The second gallery show, “Converging Perspectives: Light, Memory, and Transformation,” promises to uphold the same degree of artistic rigor, and offer visitors—both local and international—an opportunity to explore the work of the four artists featured.

We caught up with Miccio to learn more about his plans to “bring new energy to the Aspen market,” and what he envisions for the future.

“Welding Histories: A Live Art Performance by Juan Garaizabal” held at Simon Miccio Gallery August 30, 2023. Photo: Dale Mitchell, Summit Photo and Film. Courtesy of Smon Miccio Gallery, Aspen.

Can you tell us a bit about your background, and what led you to establish your eponymous gallery?

Growing up in Argentina, my family owned a farm, and I spent a significant amount of time immersed in agricultural activities, horseback riding, and the rich cultural traditions of my country. Entrepreneurship has always been in my blood, a trait that has driven many of my decisions in life. I moved to Buenos Aires for college and, after, was persuaded by friends to come to Colorado for a ski season to work as a chairlift operator and be a ski bum. The season ended, and my friends left, but I’d fallen in love with the mountains and with Aspen’s dynamic energy and culture. Ten years later, I’ve made this wonderful town and community my home. I supported myself through catering, waiting tables in restaurants, and as a personal assistant before landing a job at a local art gallery. It was a small operation, but it exposed me to the ins and outs of the art industry, and I was quickly hooked. Within two years, I had started my own advisory practice and developed a client base across the U.S. and internationally. The beauty of operating out of a resort community is you build relationships with folks from all over and I began traveling extensively and splitting my own time between Aspen and Mexico City. Over the subsequent years, my advisory practice scaled to include corporate clients, and it became clear I needed to grow my team and build a platform to create a deeper engagement with artists. So, I decided to open my own gallery, which is entirely self-financed with money I’ve made dealing art. Opening our space was one of those situations where you conceptualize your ideal situation and then it miraculously manifests. Aspen real estate is in notoriously short supply, and wildly cost prohibitive, but I was incredibly fortunate to have the most ideal location, directly in front of the Aspen Art Museum on a street where Marianne Boesky and Carpenters Workshop both have summer pop-ups. It’s been a busy and exciting time.

How would you describe the mission or ethos of Simon Miccio Gallery?

We’re here to support and champion artists.

Aspen has become an outpost for the New York, Los Angeles, and London gallery scenes, but the town here has had a real gap in the showing of both younger and more international artists, particularly LatinX artists. Respected galleries have come for seasonal pop-ups, which has energized the art scene, but it also creates inflated pricing and limited continuity. We felt like there was a real opportunity to create a permanent space.

The gallery plans to showcase established international artists, particularly of Latinx heritage, as well as breakout younger talent. With broad relationships across the global art market, Simon Miccio Gallery hopes to create an energized new platform and partner with like-minded collaborators to provide access to Aspen’s thriving arts community. With a prime downtown location, the gallery looks forward to hosting events, artist talks, and more institutional collaborations.

Installation view of “Center for Art and Advocacy: A Presentation of the Work of Nine Justice-Impacted Artists” (2023). Photo: Dale Mitchell, Summit Photo and Film. Courtesy of Simon Miccio Gallery, Aspen.

Can you tell us about the inaugural exhibition that was presented by the gallery with the Center for Art and Advocacy?

We were keen for our first show to not only reflect our aesthetics as a gallery but also make a statement about who we are and what we care about on a more personal level.

The show stood for itself—it was very successful because the work was strong and each of the artists has impressive resumes and promising trajectories. Any one of these artists or works are on their own worthy of being shown. To have a greater connective thread, however, was so impactful.

We opened the show during a celebratory moment for art in Aspen. We wanted to ensure that real dialog also takes place and that leverage the festivities and engagement to inspire dialog around critical issues of social.

Artist, Founder, and Director of the Center for Art and Advocacy Jesse Krimes has spent the past two summers in Aspen and built incredible collector relationships that we thought we could help him to transition into donors for the center. We are thrilled by the growth.

Juan Garaizabal, Rose Window I (2019). Photo: Dale Mitchell, Summit Photo and Film. Courtesy of Simon Miccio Gallery.

What is the focus of the forthcoming exhibition at the gallery? Which artists will be featured?

The new show explores the dynamism of light, time, and urban narratives through the lenses of three globally renowned, mid-career artists: Pablo Armesto (Switzerland, b.1970), Juan Garaizabal (Spain, b.1970), and Andrea Galvani (Italy, b.1973). Collectively, they explore the interplay of technology, urban history, and the interplay of light and time. Their works challenge us to reflect on our place in the world, our connections to the past, and the possibilities that lie ahead.

We’re excited to announce that the opening for this transformative exhibition will be on Thursday, August 31. We warmly invite everyone to join us for this unveiling and immerse themselves in the captivating world these artists have crafted.

What is your process for formulating and directing the gallery’s exhibition program?

I envision Simon Miccio Gallery as an exciting new platform for Aspen’s thriving arts community. With an extensive global art network, I plan to showcase established international artists, especially those of Latinx heritage, alongside emerging young talents.

I also firmly believe that the synergy of collaborative partnerships with like-minded entities is absolutely integral to the enrichment of Aspen’s vibrant arts scene. It’s through these collaborations that we ensure enhanced access for all, opening doors to a world of artistic diversity and creativity.

Juan Garaisabal, Fenêtre Dainay II (2022). Photo: Dale Mitchell, Summit Photo and Film. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Miccio Gallery, Aspen.

Looking to the future, what are some of the plans and goals for the gallery? How do you envision the gallery impacting the Aspen art scene?

We want to create something more dynamic than your traditional gallery. We are keen to use our venue as a project space, where artists can build installation works, partners can come to share space with us, and we can foster dialog and engagement. We want to create an active, energized platform to help further elevate our artists’ profiles, build a U.S. market for international artists, and yield new and different opportunities.

Aspen is an incredible market for helping artists build more substantive relationships with collectors and institutions. So many of the top patrons of major museums have homes here. There is a constant flow of events that draw museum directors, press, and other industry influencers out from major international art markets, and it is so much easier to build deeper and more meaningful relationships here in such a small and social town. There is a true passion for art in this community and an informed, connected audience.

Given that we are operating outside of primary markets, we see our gallery as an additive opportunity. We are not looking to compete to sign artists to a permanent roster, or otherwise conflict with shows, fairs, and other gallery relationships they may have. We see this market as an incredible platform and are eager to extend access.

We are very excited to partner with other gallerists, institutions, curators, and non-profits to build a collaborative business.

Learn more about Simon Miccio Gallery here.

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