Art Market

Why New York’s Malin Gallery Chose Aspen for Its Second Space

Ayanna Dozier
Mar 16, 2023 3:46PM

Exterior view of Malin Gallery, Aspen, 2023. Courtesy of Malin Gallery.

Although most renowned for its ski slopes, Aspen, Colorado’s growing gallery scene appears to be one of the art world’s best kept secrets. Aspen is a town that caters to wealthy vacation crowds looking to escape the city for quality leisure time, which makes it ideal for businesses catering to high-quality tastes. It is precisely this allure that inspired New York–based Malin Gallery to choose Aspen as its second location earlier this month, opening with a stunning show by figurative abstract painter Foad Satterfield, “Elemental Variations,” on view through May 27th.

Malin Gallery’s New York storefront in Chelsea attracts denizens of audiences eager to see their dynamic shows, which tend to feature an implicit sociopolitical measure across abstraction, figuration, sculpture, and painting. It’s currently showing a solo show by abstract painter Angela China, “Girl on the Grass,” on view through May 20th.

Foad Satterfield, installation view of “Elemental Variations” at Malin Gallery, Aspen, 2023. Courtesy of Malin Gallery.


Malin Gallery began nine years ago in lower Chelsea as Burning in Water. Founder and director Barry Malin told Artsy in an interview earlier this month that, while the name was appropriate when they were a small experimental space, it became more confusing for audiences to navigate at art fairs and in casual conversation. “When you only have a few minutes with an art fair patron, you want to talk about your artists’ work and not spend valuable time explaining the meaning of the title of the gallery,” he wrote.

The standard eponymous name has aided Malin Gallery’s rapid accession in the art world, which has culminated with its expansion out west in Aspen. While its ground-floor Chelsea storefront has plenty of space at a staggering 6,000 square feet, it lies at the intersection of the railroad tracks of the High Line and the exit for the Lincoln Tunnel, giving it a more industrial feel. The Aspen location, meanwhile, is more intimate at 1,200 square feet and will allow the gallery to explore more curatorial opportunities. Its parquet wood floors and recessed lighting evoke a more classical feel in a way that is not permissible in the Chelsea space.

Portrait of Foad Satterfield in his studio, 2022. Courtesy of Malin Gallery.

The Aspen gallery’s inaugural exhibition is a collection of recent abstract paintings with landscape elements by Oakland-based artist Foad Satterfield. Satterfield, who was born in Orange, Texas, in 1945, spent his formative years in rural Texas and Louisiana, where his education was severely impacted by Jim Crow laws and segregation. Following his draft to serve in the Vietnam War, Satterfield relocated to Oakland in the mid-1970s where he fell in with the Bay Area’s artistic community.

Malin described Satterfield’s practice as being inspired by landscapes and nature in the en plein air tradition of French painters who painted outside in the modern period. “Foad finds outdoor spaces as locales for contemplation and inspiration. He also describes his work as salutary, as one impetus behind his work is the notion of trying to use art as a countervailing force against trauma, which is something we all experience one way or another,” Malin wrote.

Additionally, Malin is excited about interacting with Aspen’s more leisurely paced, yet thoroughly engaged crowd of collectors. “Instead of coming to the gallery with a list of 10 shows they want to see in Chelsea that afternoon, people will come in and sit down and really want to discuss the work,” Malin wrote. “This has helped the New York space, as many of the clients in Aspen have a home in New York which has enabled them to visit with friends when they are in town.”

The one time in which this slower pace is disrupted is in early August when the annual ArtCrush gala is hosted by the Aspen Art Museum, Malin emphasized: “We bring the artists to Aspen during that time. It is a great opportunity for artists to really get to know collectors and museum personnel and establish strong relationships that endure after the artist’s show ends,” he wrote.

Foad Satterfield, installation view of “Elemental Variations” at Malin Gallery, Aspen, 2023. Courtesy of Malin Gallery.

While curatorial opportunities and a more engaged audience lie at the heart of Malin’s Aspen location, the decision to expand was, oddly enough, driven by COVID-19. Like many galleries, Malin was forced to close their New York location during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020. Following the first wave of quarantine, many galleries, including Malin Gallery, opened temporary secondary spaces closer to where their clients were concentrated outside of the city, with the most popular destinations being the Hamptons and Palm Beach.

“Aspen seemed like it presented a better opportunity for us to expand our client base,” Malin wrote. “There were spaces available for galleries to use for exhibitions. We were one of nine galleries from New York City who went to Aspen that summer. By [2021], Aspen was booming again and it was very difficult to find any space. I believe that we were the only New York gallery from the previous year to return.”

The skilled knowledge of the collectors present in Aspen is the biggest draw for Malin. This, combined with its slower speed to the Chelsea art district, enables rich and inspiring conversations with collectors. Aspen, it seems, is a gallerist’s dream come true: “You never know who is going to walk in the door: famed business people, celebrities, [or] accomplished curators,” he added.

Ayanna Dozier
Ayanna Dozier is Artsy’s Staff Writer.
Get the Artsy app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play
Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019