Exemplary Works from Aspen Art Museum’s Annual ArtCrush Gala

Groundbreaking paintings and sculptures from Rashid Johnson, Larry Bell, Zoe Crosher, Leo Villareal and more

For its 14th annual summer gala, the Aspen Art Museum presented—and auctioned off—works of exceptional artistic merit. The event, known as ArtCrush, featured paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces from some of the most beloved names producing art. And from a silent auction to a riveting live auction (with ten artworks that fetched astronomical numbers), ArtCrush accumulated necessary funds to sustain the museum’s programming. Anyone who has been to Aspen understands the value of the institution. Thus, 500+ people took to Buttermilk Mountain—many in Audi vehicles—to sip Dom Pérignon and honor Aspen Award for Art winner Rashid Johnson—whose work would provide the night’s most momentous happening. The six pieces below represent the diversity of exemplary works seen throughout it all.

Zoe Crosher

A silent auction standout, donated by the artist herself, “LA-LIKE: Prospecting Palm Fronds (110 S & 101 Freeway #2)” (2017) comes from Zoe Crosher’s series of bronzed palm fronds she’s collected along the freeways in Los Angeles. Beyond the physical intricacies of the work itself, the sculpture aims to draw attention to the disappearance of palm trees in LA—and yet also seems to touch upon loneliness and isolation.

Ryan Gander

Not only is there something so exacting about the way Ryan Gander conveys fabric in his marble sculpture “Tell My Mother Not to Worry (viii)” (2014), there’s also something beyond eerie about the way he pinpoints life beneath the fabric. An anonymous donation of the conceptual artist’s work allowed it to be on site—and its placement in the exhibition (observing a David Shrigley, amongst other works) truly completed the experience.

Larry Bell

It was only fitting that artist Larry Bell would have “Untitled Maquette (Cornflower Blue/True Sea Salt/Optimum White)” (2018) in the ArtCrush live auction, because he’s currently on display at the museum. A serenity exudes from “Aspen Blues,” his rooftop installation which peers at Aspen Mountain from the museum’s upstairs indoor/outdoor cafe. And the same cornflower blue, true sea salt and optimum white laminated glass compose the miniature piece that was auctioned.

Beverly Fishman

For Beverly Fishman’s jubilant, wall-mounted “Untitled (Alcoholism)” (2018) sculpture (of Urethane paint on wood), color pops in every direction. The bright, layered work was donated by the artist and Kavi Gupta—and played prominently in the silent auction.

Leo Villareal

As with his other works, Leo Villareal‘s “Small Cloud Drawing” (2018) exudes magic through technology. Villareal used LEDs, custom software, electrical hardware and metal for the piece that sparkles and shifts. The work was donated by the artist and Pace Gallery, and sold above its list price during the live auction.

Rashid Johnson

For the main event, Rashid Johnson’s beguiling “Untitled Escape Collage” (2018) went up for live auction. Johnson originally imagined the piece for his own private collection. Composed of everything from ceramic and mirror tiles to red oak flooring, animal skin and black soap, the work stretches more than seven feet across. Courtesy of Hauser and Wirth and David Kordansky Gallery, Johnson’s art would sell for $750K after a heated bidding war—and in doing so, guaranteed that the museum raised everything it needed during the night.

Rashid Johnson’s “Untitled Escape Collage” image by BFA; hero, Gander, Crosher and Villareal images courtesy of Audi, Fishman and Bell images courtesy of Artsy