Koko Bayer’s New Mural in Aspen

Herbert Bayer’s granddaughter pays homage to In Search of Times Past photomontage on Aspen civic plaza

Koko Bayer has transformed the mundane concrete sides of a new outdoor staircase on Aspen’s redeveloped Galena Plaza into a tribute to her grandfather and an attraction in itself.

In May 2022, the Denver-based artist completed Folded Grove, a dual mural covering each side of the staircase that pays homage to Herbert Bayer’s 1959 photomontage In Search of Times Past. The original piece vividly captures a grove of local aspen trees and playfully accentuates the “eyes” formed by the trees’ knots.

Koko believes it should be an iconic Colorado image and chose it for this City of Aspen-commissioned artwork. Reaching as tall as 46 feet at its apex on one side and runs 22 feet long it demands attention from passersby and Rio Grande Park patrons, but also complements the nearby aspen groves and the distant aspen-pocked mountainscape view. 

“I wanted to create an image that is harmonious with this beautiful Colorado location, honoring Herbert’s piece while processing it through my lens,” Koko wrote in an Instagram post.

Folded Grove is slated to be on display through 2025.

The artist distinguished herself in Colorado during the COVID-19 pandemic with “Project Spread Hope,” a series of installations in which she wheat-pasted positive imagery and messages in outdoor public areas. Koko created several temporary “Project Spread Hope” pieces on the Red Brick Center for the Arts campus in summer 2021 including a bright orange and yellow heart with the word “hope” written in the universal font invented by her grandfather.

Koko is currently in production on the documentary film  “head+heart+hand: exploring the genius of Herbert Bayer,” which navigates Bayer’s theories on visual communication and delves into his diverse work, life and legacy. A Kickstarter campaign to fund the film is expected to launch soon. A teaser is available at kokobayer.com.

Folded Grove is best viewed from Rio Grande Place HERE.