Mile High Art

Catherine Taft went to ArtCrush in Aspen for ArtForum’s Scene & Herd column. There was a party at the home of John and Amy Phelan and an auction a few nights later:

Mera Rubell and Perry Rubenstein (credit: Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan)
Mera Rubell and Perry Rubenstein (credit: Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan)

Guests included Creative Time’s Anne Pasternak and artist Mike Starn; dealers Jim and Jane Cohan, Marianne Boesky, and Perry Rubenstein, who remarked at the lack of phallic symbols among the many objects and paintings in the Phelan’s decidedly sexy collection; and Sotheby’s Lisa Dennison and Anthony Grant, who hosted a barbecue with bluegrass quartet on Thursday night. There were also Aspen locals and collectors, namely Paul and June Schorr; Nancy and Bob Magoon, who generously opened their own home the following day for an intimate collection tour; and Debra and Dennis Scholl, whose Betts & Scholl wine was a highlight of the tasting. By the time the third course (elk) and the ninth wine (bordeaux) were served, I realized the high altitude (and likely the ninth wine) was taking its toll, and I began to weigh the possible repercussions for next morning’s exhibition walk-through with Fred Tomaselli, who, in addition to being awarded for his achievements, is having a midcareer retrospective at the museum. [...]

Narrowly locating my table before the start of the live auction, I took my seat next to Don Rubell, whose editorials throughout the bidding revealed both an incredible wealth of art knowledge and a good-natured sense of humor. The bidding wars were intense—a Tomaselli fetched $110,000, and works by Peter Coffin, Robert Mangold, Rineke Djikstra, and Raquib Shaw also fared well. An Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin–commissioned portrait prompted one onlooker to note that “vanity is a powerful force.” Director and chief curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson took the stage with trustee president Nancy Magoon to offer thanks for raising one million dollars over the week’s events.

High Society (Scene&Herd/ArtForum)