Cai Guo-Qiang Fireworks for New Aspen Art Museum Opening

Cai Guo-Qiang, Black Lightning (2014), digital rendering, commissioned by the Aspen Art Museum. Photo: courtesy Cai Guo-Qiang and the Aspen Art Museum.

Despite legal setbacks based on construction violations (see artnet News report), Colorado’s new Aspen Art Museum will open as scheduled this weekend, with Cai Guo-Qiang starting the festivities off with a bang with his pyrotechnic Black Lightning display on August 2, reports the Art Newspaper.

This is hardly Cai’s first effort in artist firework-making: he created a similar work, One Night Stand: Explosion Event, for Nuit Blanche, Paris’s all-night contemporary art festival, in 2013 (see artnet News‘s firework art roundup). This time around, however, Cai will opt for a daytime event, in which a dark bolt of lightning will suddenly appear above a nearby mountain, accompanied by a thunderous crash, only to gradually melt away into the blue sky.

The new museum building was designed by Shigeru Ban, who recently won the Pritzker Prize. Following Saturday’s members-only festivities, the museum will open to the public on August 9 with a 24-hour opening party and inaugural exhibitions that include “Cai Guo-Qiang: Moving Ghost Town” and “Shigeru Ban: Humanitarian Architecture.”


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