The Week in Art: The Flaming Lips at the Aspen Art Museum and Second Avenue Subway Launch Party

Though it may seem that Armory Week and Frieze Week get all the action, the reality is that there is never a dull moment in the New York art world. From the East Side to the West Side, there’s always something happening at the city’s museums, galleries, and various event spaces. And, as was the case this week, with the Aspen Art Museum hosting its winter benefit, the wider American art scene also provides plenty of action. Here’s a rundown of this week’s highlights.

The Now 2016 at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado
The Aspen Art Museum raised over $550,000 at its annual winter benefit on December 28. The first half of the evening saw 250 guests enjoy cocktails and caviar while bidding on art and designer fashion in both live and silent auctions, but the undeniable highlight of the night was a high-octane performance by three-time Grammy Award winners the Flaming Lips.

Art world notables such as Marianne Boesky, Domenico and Eleanore De Sole, Rachel Rose, and Nancy and Bob Magoon joined Aspen Art Museum CEO and director Heidi Zuckerman in getting an early listen to tunes from the Flaming Lip’s new album, OCZY MLODY (coming out January 13), as well as a rousing rendition of the group’s 2002 hit “Do You Realize.”

Max Rispoli and CEO and director of the Aspen Art Musuem Heidi Zuckerman attend the Now at the Aspen Art Museum. Courtesy of Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for the Aspen Art Museum.

Max Rispoli and CEO and director of the Aspen Art Musuem Heidi Zuckerman attend the Now at the Aspen Art Museum. Courtesy of Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for the Aspen Art Museum.

Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the Flaming Lips, performs during the Now at the Aspen Art Museum. Courtesy of Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for the Aspen Art Museum.

Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the Flaming Lips, performs during the Now at the Aspen Art Museum. Courtesy of Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for the Aspen Art Museum.

Nancy Magoon and Bob Magoon attend the Now at the Aspen Art Museum. Courtesy of Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for the Aspen Art Museum.

Nancy Magoon and Bob Magoon attend the Now at the Aspen Art Museum. Courtesy of Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for the Aspen Art Museum.

Second Avenue Subway Inaugural Ride Party
In celebration of the inauguration of the long-awaited 2nd Avenue subway line, Governor Andrew Cuomo threw a bash for 500 people at the sparkling new station on New Year’s Eve that included a ride on the train.

“This is not your grandfather’s subway,” he told the crowd, which dined on locally produced snacks and beer.

In terms of the art, it certainly was not. The crowds were furiously snapping pictures of the new artwork by Chuck Close, Sarah Sze, Vik Muniz, and Jean Shin.

Sze said it was amazing to see her work finally unveiled, and that It had taken 10 years from the time she had first been asked to participate. “I’ve seen it many times before,” she told us on the inaugural ride, which started at 72nd Street and ended at 96th Street, in a subway car that also carried Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray. “But this is amazing. The entrance is really where you see it.”

“I’ve been down here every day for the past month, and I swear to you it must be my peripheral vision but I really thought these were real people,” said Thomas Prendergast, the MTA’s CEO, told us at the post-ride festivities. “It’s so New York.”

The celebration after the ride, at the 72nd Street station, included a performance by the cast of a Broadway play. Guests included Steven Spielberg and Mayor David Dinkins.

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“Brand New” New Year’s Eve Party at Studio 303 
Art world party series Fair Trade was among the forces behind a big New Year’s Eve bash saying goodbye to 2016 on December 31. The music at new 34th Street art event venue Studio 303 went all night, with performances by rapper DonChristian and singer Aaron Campter, as well as DJ sets from SNAP, DJ Spooky, and April Hunt. Artists Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, and Rashaad Newsome were among the evening’s hosts.

Christophe Roberts, Livelle Collins, Aaron Camper, Derrick Adams, Crystal Longo, and April Hunt at the

Christophe Roberts, Livelle Collins, Aaron Camper, Derrick Adams, Crystal Longo, and April Hunt at the “Brand New” New Year’s Eve party. Courtesy of Robb Jackson.

DJ Spooky at the

DJ Spooky at the “Brand New” New Year’s Eve party. Courtesy of Scott Kaplan.

Guests at the

Guests at the “Brand New” New Year’s Eve party. Courtesy of Robb Jackson.

“RAE BK: All Systems Go” Opening at 99 Bowery
To ring in the new year and to celebrate his new show, “All Systems Go,” featuring 40 new works, street artist RAE BK held a party on December 31 in a pop-up space on the Bowery. Attendees included Jon Boy of JohnBoy Tattoo, artist Jason Peters, writer Jasmin Hernandez, and Martin Root of London design firm ROOT. DJ Kool Herc manned the turntables with MC Coke La Rock while guests imbibed cocktails, beer, and wine courtesy of Tito’s Vodka, Braven Brewing Company, and Wolffer Estate.
Guests at RAE BK's New Year's party. Courtesy of Ventiko.

Guests at RAE BK’s New Year’s party. Courtesy of Ventiko.

Guests at RAE BK's New Year's party. Courtesy of Ventiko.

Guests at RAE BK’s New Year’s party. Courtesy of Ventiko.

Guests at RAE BK's New Year's party. Courtesy of Ventiko.

Guests at RAE BK’s New Year’s party. Courtesy of Ventiko.

Additional reporting by Rozalia Jovanovic. 

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