For the past seven years, major collectors and artists from around the world have escaped the dog days of August by descending upon Aspen for ArtCrush, a gala and auction benefiting the Aspen Art Museum (AAM). The fundraising event, which takes place this year on August 5, has evolved into the late-summer art gathering—so much so that the three-day contemporary art fair ArtAspen was launched last year to capture some of ArtCrush's exclusive audience. "The whole week has evolved into this little destination party in the mountains," says ArtCrush cochair Amy Phelan. If you are attending this year's festivities, here's a conversation-starter beyond the Richard Avedon and Ryan McGinley works on the ArtCrush block: AAM's expansion plans. The museum, which has occupied a 7,000-square-foot converted hydroelectric plant since 1979, is slated to break ground on a new 30,000-square-foot Shigeru Ban-designed facility later this year. ArtCrush: August 5, tickets from $1,250. 590 North Mill St., Aspen; 970-925-8050; aspenartmuseum.org. ArtAspen: August 6-8, tickets from $15. Aspen Ice Garden, 233 West Hyman Ave., Aspen; 800-211-0640; art-aspen.com.
Plan your itinerary: Where to stay and what to do in in Aspen-and other summer mountain towns
Sotheby's Principal Auctioneer and Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, Tobias Meyer, conducts the 2010 ArtCrush live auction. Photo courtesy of Patrick McMullan/courtesy of the Aspen Art Museum