Ready, Set, Art: Collectors, Dealers and Artists Head to Aspen in August

The first weekend in August in Aspen has become synonymous with art. It’s when the Aspen Art Museum’s annual gala, artCrush, returns to town followed by the ArtAspen fair. Major collectors, artists, curators and business leaders from around the country visit for the weekend’s events.

The Aspen Art Museum festivities start on Wednesday, July 31, with WineCrush, held in the home of John and Amy Phelan. Guests will sip wines by Tenuta di Biserno and sample wine and food pairings by master sommelier Jay Fletcher. On Thursday, PreviewCrush is a cocktail reception held in the Baldwin Gallery, offering a sneak peek of Friday’s auction items. The grande finale is ArtCrush, a seated dinner and auction followed by an after-party at Belly Up Aspen.The 2013 honoree is Teresita Fernández, an artist known for site-specific and experiential sculptures. Her permanent works include Starfield (2008), at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas, and Seattle Cloud Cover (2006), commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for the Olympic Sculpture Park.

This year, auction items include works by esteemed artists such as Cory Arcangel, Iwan Baan, Alexandre da Cunha, Thea Djordjadze, Shannon Finley, Kate Gilmore, Ellsworth Kelly, Liza Lou, Jason Middlebrook, Ernesto Neto, Shirin Neshat, Catherine Opie, Angel Otero, Roxy Paine, Erik Parker, Rob Pruitt, Tom Sachs, Kenny Scharf, David Shrigley, Yinka Shonibare (MBE), Taryn Simon, Lorna Simpson, Ricky Swallow, and RETNA. For more information on the gala and events, visit ArtCrush.

On Thursday, Aug. 1, ArtAspen kicks off its weekend with a preview party at the Aspen Institute. Here, the more than 30 preeminent dealers will mix and mingle with art collectors as a launch for the weekend’s events at the Aspen Ice Garden. ArtAspen is the town’s only fair for contemporary fine art, featuring works from the 1950s to present. Because it’s limited to only 30 dealers, attendees get an intimate buying and viewing experience. ArtAspen runs through Sunday, Aug. 4, with a variety of events throughout the weekend including panels, silent auctions and private parties, in addition to the exhibition space at the ice garden. For more information, visit Art Aspen.