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Aspen Art Museum raises over $2.5 million at 2018 ArtCrush Summer Benefit
Aspen Art Museum ArtCrush event Chair Amy Phelan, Aspen Art Museum Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director Heidi Zuckerman, and 2018 Aspen Award for Art honoree Rashid Johnson.

ASPEN, COLO.- On Friday, August 3, 2018, the Aspen Art Museum held the main event in its annual ArtCrush benefit gala. In its fourteen-year event history, ArtCrush has seen the AAM meet or exceed its annual budget goals, with 2018’s iteration raising over $2.5 million in mission-critical funding for the museum’s year-round curatorial and educational programming. More than 500 of the world’s most distinguished and influential art collectors, artists, gallerists, museum professionals, and business leaders gathered in Aspen to participate in the museum’s signature annual series of events culminating in Friday evening’s ArtCrush Live and Silent Auction and the presentation of the 2018 Aspen Award for Art to artist Rashid Johnson.

Wednesday, August 1

ArtCrush officially kicked off Wednesday, August 1, with WineCrush—the private cocktail and dinner party hosted in the Aspen home of AAM National Council Member, and Event Chair Amy Phelan and husband, AAM board Chairman, John Phelan. Guests enjoyed Dom Pérignon during the cocktail reception amidst the Phelan’s renowned art collection, which features works by such notable artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ellsworth Kelly, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, Marilyn Minter, and Jenny Holzer.

The 2018 WineCrush dinner tent theme—Greenhouse Apothecary—was designed by David Fox and Chris Stone, principals of architecture and design firm STONEFOX. Inspired by 2018 AAM event honoree Rashid Johnson’s use of both live plants and lights within his recent installations and exhibitions, the space was anchored by several large-scale shelf constructions suspended from the ceiling, supporting a rich variety of verdant potted houseplants, palms, and linestra lamps. Just prior to the seated dinner, co-host John Phelan voiced appreciation for longtime event presenting sponsor Sotheby’s, and sponsors Audi, Dom Pérignon, Flexjet, J.P. Morgan, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, and W Magazine as well as acknowledging 2018 Aspen Award for Art honoree Rashid Johnson.

Following these comments, AAM Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director, Heidi Zuckerman, expressed gratitude for event guests’ generous support of the museum by sharing the exciting news that the museum’s September 2017 fundraising goal of $20 million toward endowment has already reached $12.7 million in total contributions in its private phase and announcing the launch of the campaign’s public phase.

Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher introduced the evening’s select wine flight alongside his retinue of fellow sommeliers from Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits. Fletcher emphasized that the evening’s multi-course menu was uniquely prepared to pair with the evening’s wine selections—reversing the tradition of customary wine-to-food pairings. Menu items included such delicacies as a Midnight Lobster Roll, Duck Dumpling, Gunpower-Seared Bison, and Chocolate Tulip, each matched to Fletcher’s selections of notable old and new world vintages served to encourage comparisons in their flavor profiles. These wines included such remarkable vintages as the Etienne Guigal, Côte-Rôtie La Landonne (1995), Heitz Cellars, Cabernet “Martha’s Vineyard” (2012), and Château Suduiraut, Sauternes (1989), among others. After the remarkable dinner, guests were ushered to the dance floor to dance to chart-topping hits mixed by DJ Dylan.

PreviewCrush and PreviewExtra
Thursday, August 2

On the evening of Thursday, August 2, the museum hosted a rooftop conversation between Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director, Heidi Zuckerman, and 2018 Aspen Award for Art honoree, Rashid Johnson, as part of AAM’s Summer Artist Lecture Series. The standing-room only-crowd were also able to experience the Aspen Blues sculptural diptych by Larry Bell currently installed in the museum’s Roof Deck Sculpture Garden (June 1 – December 16, 2018).

Immediately following the AAM Artist Talk Series presentation, PreviewCrush was held at Baldwin Gallery, hosted by gallery owner and AAM National Council member Richard Edwards, allowing guests to preview the Silent and Live Auction works included in Friday evening’s ArtCrush event. For the sixth year in a row, Casterline|Goodman Gallery hosted PreviewExtra, which included additional works included in the ArtCrush auction. Both PreviewCrush and PreviewExtra events offered guests a unique opportunity to view a wide selection of the singular contemporary artworks included in the following evening’s ArtCrush Silent and Live Auctions. The evening culminated with an intimate picnic style dinner at the AAM’s roof deck SO Café, hosted by AAM National Council members June Schorr and Paul Schorr III and AAM Board and National member Gayle Stoffel and husband and AAM National Council member Paul Stoffel.

ArtCrush 2018 and AfterPartyCrush
Friday, August 3, 2018

Upon arrival at the ArtCrush tent at Buttermilk ski area, guests were greeted with silver Mylar curtains, mirror ball chandeliers, and shocks of brilliant magenta and cerise, highlighting STONEFOX’s festive Cosmic Utopia theme, which continued throughout both the reception space and the glittering dinner tent, as well as the satellite museum Silent Action artwork gallery. Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher and fellow Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits sommeliers offered selected wine tastings as guests made final bids on Silent Auction artworks by artists including Diane Arbus, Cheryl Donegan, and Ursula Von Rydingsvard among many others. The 2018 Silent Auction was held in partnership with AAM auction partner Artsy.

Transitioning from cocktails and the Silent Auction, guests entered the ArtCrush Dinner and Live Auction tent, paddles in tow. After being seated, ArtCrush event chair Amy Phelan welcomed guests and thanking them, event sponsors, fellow AAM leadership and staff, attending artists, and then introducing Heidi Zuckerman, Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director of the Aspen Art Museum, who took the stage to present the Aspen Award for Art to 2018 honoree, Rashid Johnson, noting to the audience: “Candidates for the award are not just those who have devoted their lives to a laudable career, but also those who have activated passion through their contributions to our community.”

In his acceptance, Rashid Johnson offered up his gratitude for the honor and his thanks for being embraced “with such warmth,” by the Aspen Art Museum and its international Aspen community of supporters and art collectors.

Following the presentation of the award, Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Senior International Specialist, Contemporary Art took to the stage for the evening’s Live Auction. For the seventh consecutive year, Barker presided over the event, offering up works by Larry Bell, McArthur Binion, Jay DeFeo, Carroll Dunham, Leo Villareal, and Robert Longo, among others. Guests bid competitively for sought-after lots including Larry Bell’s Untitled Maquette (Cornflower Blue/True Sea Salt/Optimum White), 2018, valued at $100,000 and hammering-in at $160,000, and Josh Smith’s Talk to the Moon, 2018, which sold for $165,000, well over its $65,000 estimate. The 2018 Live Auction culminated with a dramatic bidding war for honoree Rashid Johnson’s Untitled Escape Collage, 2018, which saw the work going to final sale for the monumental figure of $725,000—well over $400,000 north of its estimate.

In total, the evening amassed yet another remarkable $2.5 million result for the AAM, well attaining its institutional goals for the vital funding of the museum’s ambitious and ongoing contemporary art programming.

As the Live Auction and dinner concluded, guests made their way from the dinner tent to enjoy dessert stations featuring some of Rashid Johnson’s favorite desserts, including donuts and pecan pie, and then onto shuttles to transport them to the evening’s celebratory finale—AfterPartyCrush held in partnership with Aspen’s BellyUp nightclub. There, guests celebrated into the early morning hours with a fantastic DJ-set mixed by iconic artist and music producer Jellybean Benitez, who rose to fame during the heyday of legendary New York club Studio 54, continuing a string of hits and musical high spots through his work with Madonna and beyond.

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