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This week, the Aspen Art Museum kicks off its 13th edition of ArtCrush—the museum’s annual week-long benefit series of art parties, talks, tours, and auctions. Whitewall spoke to CEO and Director of the Aspen Art Museum, Heidi Zuckerman, to learn more about the museum’s programming, its current and upcoming exhibitions, and what to expect for the busy week ahead.
WHITEWALL: You began to host board meetings with artists in foreign locations, transforming them into informal, international road trip “gatherings”—having an artist welcome the Aspen team into their country, like Vic Muniz and Ernesto Neto in Brazil. What did you gain from that? Are there any more on the horizon?
HEIDI ZUCKERMAN: There is nothing quite like being in an artist’s studio, and the first one you visit can have a lifetime impact. Mine was Sam Francis’ the summer after my freshman year at Penn.
I love introducing our donors to artists and showing them how and where art gets made. Our next trip will take us to South East Asia in the spring.
WW: ArtCrush is the museum’s annual fundraising party, and each year you ask artists to donate works. In the past, those have included pieces from artists like William Wegman and Ai Weiwei. How has this event evolved over the years since its start?
HZ: One of the highlights of ArtCrush is the profound and frankly humbling generosity of the artists who donate works. Much of the donated art is from artists featured in AAM exhibitions, past, present, and future.
WW: This summer, a major museum-wide exhibition opened in late June, “Wade Guyton Peter Fischli David Weiss,” on view through the fall. What was the starting point for the show?
HZ: Wade is a longtime friend. Many years ago, I took a group of donors to his studio. Several years ago, he came to Aspen to give an artist talk, and he donated a work to one of the first ArtCrush events. I offered him an open invitation to do a show at the AAM, any time in any space. About two years ago, he asked to do a show in the summer and if Peter Fischli could do a show at the same time. It was the easiest ask anyone has ever made of me! My only caveat was that they take the entire building, Roof Deck Sculpture Garden and the Commons out front included!
WW: Peter Fischli and David Weiss obviously had a relationship, but what was their relationship with Wade Guyton?
HZ: Wade and Peter are good friends. The idea for the exhibition was worked on sailing in Greece and hiking over multiple seasons in Aspen. Their collaboration was an opportunity for new works by Wade, new works by Peter, and collaborative Wade Guyton and Peter Fischli works, too.
WW: What are some of the explored themes the artists share across their practices?
HZ: Wade and Peter both have a sense of humor (in life and art) and an interest in everyday objects. They each transform the everyday and the everyday object into something transcendent. The show is both playful and a purposeful challenge.
WW: Was there something new you discovered in any of their work, putting this show together? Was there anything surprising revealed by some of the juxtapositions?
HZ: Every time I look at the show I see something new. Just today, I walked the show with Doug Aitken, who was asking me whether there were any airport works in the Fischli and Weiss Visible World presentation. Together we discovered four, and he told me an incredible story about a trade of airport photos between himself and Peter Fischli.
Wade Guyton Peter Fischli David Weiss is on view through November 26, 2017.