Last night in Aspen, ArtCrush Chair and Aspen Art Museum (AAM) National Council member Amy Phelan and Board of Trustees Co-President John Phelan, hosted WineCrush in their art-filled home. Presented by Sotheby’s, J.P. Morgan, W Magazine, Flexjet, and Audi, the night kicked off with an intimate cocktail hour inside. Guests were greeted by the hosts with glasses of Moët & Chandon, and had the pleasure of perusing a collection of stunning works by artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, Takashi Murakami, Thomas Struth, and Jeff Koons.
Attendees included a handful of artists, photojournalists, and fashion world players like Zoe Crosher, Thomas Struth, Shari Applebaum, Domenico De Sole, and Ammon and Katie Rodan. After hors d’oeuvres, photos, and art talk, we made our way downstairs, passing pieces like a Gazing Ball by Jeff Koons, a neon piece entitled People Like You Need to Fuck People Like Me by Tracey Emin, a Jenny Holzer marble stool that read “What Urge Will Save Us Now That Sex Won’t?” and a wall piece by this year’s artist honoree Lawrence Weiner.
Past the illuminated indoor pool and to the right, we made our way down a small corridor, lined with awnings of colorful cloth that hid the anticipated theme of the year. The passageway led from the Phelan’s home to a lavish tent in their backyard, where the outside pool was covered to create a dance floor. Purple, pink, orange, and blue tassels hung from chandeliers, miniature lamps and hookahs were placed throughout the space, and belly dancers began to perform. The magical night commenced with an introduction by John Phelan.
“It’s always our pleasure to welcome you to the kick-off of the ArtCrush festivities. We really appreciate your support,” he said. “Lawrence Weiner, this year’s honored artist, gave a lecture last night at the museum, and he said a number of things that really resonated with me. But the one comment that I think sums up the night is a child or person that is stuck in the room—‘awe, spelled a-w-e, may be the answer to everything.’ I could not agree more that I am in awe tonight because Lawrence and his wife, Alice, are here with us tonight. This tent, the décor, the transformation of our backyard, the fact that so many of you are sitting here and will be dancing later on top of our pool, we are in awe of all of you and your support for the Aspen Art Museum. So thank you all.”
Next, we heard from Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher from The Court of Master Sommeliers (and Somm: Into the Bottle on Netlix), who explained to us that the wines we were trying were the guiding light for our meal, as the dishes were paired to the wines, instead of the typical vice-versa scenario. Over grilled prawns, braised veal cheek, tenderloin Rossini, and a pistachio parfait dessert, we indulged in rare samples of wine, such as Domaine De Chevalier Blanc, Chateau Pichon Baron, and Chateau D’Yquem.
After talk at our tables about art fairs, travel, fashion, and the future, we then heard from AAM’s CEO and Director Heidi Zukerman, who raised a glass to thank John and Amy Phelan, the AAM board of trustees, Chef Miles, Jay Fletcher, and those in attendance.
A few sips and stories later, dinner and drinks had disappeared, and all seats were empty—everyone was on the dance floor, celebrating WineCrush 2017 in true Aspen fashion.