A rtCrush, the Aspen Art Museum’s annual fundraising gala, is coming up this week. The highly anticipated benefit auction is a weeklong event: beginning 29 July, Sotheby’s is hosting an online auction that culminates with a live sale on 5 August during the Museum’s beloved gala.
This year, ArtCrush will honor the artist Gary Simmons, who’s represented in the auction with a stunning work titled Whistle Walk from his “Erasure” series. Co-chaired by Chandra Johnson, Sara Zilkha and Jamie Tisch, the event features dozens of exceptional works of art donated by generous artists and collectors — from Hank Willis Thomas to Arlene Shechet. Estimates range from about $5,000 to over $200,000, and proceeds will benefit the non-profit institution’s artistic and educational programs.
Excitingly, 2022 also saw the opening of Sotheby’s own space in Aspen Village — the area’s new premier destination for art, design, cars, jewelry and handbags, and wine and spirits. As Director of the gallery, my goals are to connect Aspen with everything that Sotheby’s has to offer and to reflect the values of the local community. Sotheby’s Aspen opened in June with a selling exhibition dedicated to Andy Warhol’s love of Colorado and pop-ups featuring Reza Jewelry and Marlo Laz. “Venice in Aspen” is the gallery’s next show, opening 2 August, and it will feature work by artists who appear in this year’s Venice Biennale.
In honor of ArtCrush and the wonderful Museum it supports, I spoke with Jamie Tisch about some of her favorite works coming to auction. Tisch is a collector and patron based in Aspen, Los Angeles and New York City, as well as the co-founder of the Women’s Cancer Research Fund. Choosing just five works from such an exciting and brilliantly curated selection of paintings, sculptures, works on paper and design objects was no doubt a difficult task, but we’re so thrilled to have her perspective on a few of the incredible works coming to auction.
Jamie Tisch’s Picks
Gary Simmons is the Honoree of our 2022 Aspen Award for Art, and I look forward to welcoming him to Aspen! We are so grateful for this incredible donation from his “Erasure” series. Simmons is also working on a highly anticipated exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum, and I am excited to hear him speak as part of Aspen ArtWeek on 4 August, where he will be in conversation with Travis Diehl. (Diehl wrote a piece on Simmons for our summer magazine: Aspen Award For Art - Aspen Art Museum.)
I have treasured the opportunity to spend time with Precious Okoyomon since their garden installation on the Aspen Art Museum rooftop 18 months ago. It has been inspiring to see the seasonal transformations, each version providing a sense of renewal. It will certainly be bittersweet to see it come to a close! These two watercolors are perfect examples of Okoyomon’s deep appreciation of nature — something that brings us all together here in Aspen.
Katherine Bernhardt and I share a love for the 1980s, the decade that inspires her paintings. Seeing the iconic Miss Piggy with her leg warmers on, in her perfect Jane Fonda-esque pose, surrounded by cigarette butts and banana peels — it brings me so much joy. Katherine is coming to Aspen from her St. Louis home, and I can’t wait to finally meet her. Her work has already contributed a great deal of energy for this year’s ArtCrush.
I first came across DRIFT at The Shed in New York last year, where they had a surreal and immersive solo exhibition. The work we will be auctioning at ArtCrush is made with giant dandelions native to Aspen; they were handpicked by the Aspen Art Museum team earlier this summer to create a unique version of the artist’s iconic Fragile Future chandelier. The DRIFT team in Amsterdam had never come across these dandelions, known as Giant Salsify, and were so excited to incorporate them into the work. The piece will be on view through August in a dedicated gallery space.
Paola Pivi's brilliantly playful polar bears popped up all over Aspen this year, as part of “Art In Unexpected Places,” a wonderful collaboration with the Aspen Skiing Company. This bright pink bear sculpture was exhibited at the museum, and we are thrilled the artist has generously donated it for ArtCrush. Bears are a common sighting in Aspen in the summer, but this is definitely the only bear I would want to find in my house!