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This week, the Aspen Art Museum (AAM) is celebrating the museum’s 14th annual ArtCrush benefit—an intimate summer series of events that occurs in Aspen from August 1–3. The museum also honors one artist with the Aspen Award for Art—a special acknowledgement accompanied by a future exhibition at AAM. This year, artist Rashid Johnson is the recipient, teasing a solo show that will premiere at the AAM in the summer of 2019.
This year, AAM’s Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director, Heidi Zuckerman, is joined by collector and AAM National Council member Amy Phelan and sponsor Sotheby’s for the week’s festive events—and Whitewall will be there, too.
In addition to a talk with Johnson for AAM’s Artist Talk series, a hike, and a walk-through of the museum’s current exhibitions, we’ll be attending: WineCrush—a soirée hosted at Amy and John Phelan’s residence to kick off the week with an intimate night of mingling, wine, and dinner; PreviewCrush and PreviewExtra, first looks at what will be included in the ArtCrush auction, presented at Baldwin Gallery and Casterline | Goodman Gallery; ArtCrush, the premiere event at Buttermilk Mountain that features both a live and silent auction of works, complemented by a wine tasting, seated dinner, and an award presentation Johnson; and AfterPartyCrush, a late-night dance party at Belly Up, which will feature live music by Jellybean Benitez.
To kick off this year’s edition of ArtCrush and our Whitewaller Aspen 2018 takeover, we spoke with Zuckerman about art, her first book, and what makes Aspen so special.
WHITEWALLER: You recently released your first book, Conversations with Artists. Tell us a bit about what kind of dialogue your conversations with these artists have started.
HEIDI ZUCKERMAN: The conversations in my book are fundamentally about why art matters and how having open and honest dialogue can lead you to beautiful, unexpected insights. I believe we can learn a lot about who we are individually and as a broader community through talking and learning about the art and artists of our time.
WW: You’ve mentioned before that you think artists are very special people. Why is that?
HZ: Art is a unique language and those that create within it share perspectives that we could not otherwise access.
WW: Being a director of an art museum is a larger role within the art world, and it can either inhibit or advance an interest in collecting. Do you collect? What’s in your home?
HZ: Yes, I absolutely live with art. Most of the art in my collection is by artists that I know and have shown. Walking around my house is a lot like walking through my professional life.
WW: What are some of your favorite art functions to attend?
HZ: I love our series of Artist Talks that brings some of the most engaging artists working today to the AAM. ArtCrush and the events leading up to that glorious event are always the highlights of my year!
WW: Tell us a bit about your yearly functions—the summer benefit, ArtCrush, and your winter benefit, The Now. What do these two annual events mean to the museum?
HZ: ArtCrush is more than a single evening. It also includes WineCrush, PreviewCrush, and AfterPartyCrush—lots of art, people, fun, and wine. The Now is an intimate evening at the museum, bringing together art and live music. Both are really special celebrations of art and philanthropy.
WW: What about the Aspen community is particularly special?
HZ: Aspen is a place of extremes—extreme culture, extreme nature, and extreme philanthropy!