Event Hosts Amy and John Phelan
Amy Phelan was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and currently resides in Palm Beach, Florida. She graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Public Relations. Prior to her move to New York, Amy was a Managing Director at Blythe-Nelson, a Management Services and Systems Engineering firm in Dallas, Texas. Amy has always been actively involved in local community and charitable organizations and is an avid art collector. Currently, she is a Trustee of The Meadows School of Art at SMU and the Child Mind Institute in New York. Amy is a former trustee of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, CREATIVETIME and the New York Junior League where she served as the Vice President of Development and was recognized as an Outstanding Volunteer in 2010. Amy is a member of MoMA’s Contemporary Art Council, the Tate American Acquisitions Committee, and the National Councils of the Aspen Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Amy has chaired The Aspen Art Museum’s Annual Summer Benefit, Art Crush, for the past 17 years; The Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2007 & 2012 Fall Gala, the Guggenheim’s International Gala in 2008, 2009 and 2010; The Norton Museum’s Annual Gala in 2019 and 2020. Amy is a muse to many contemporary artists having sat for Will Cotton, Marilyn Minter, Richard Patterson, Jim Torok, and fashion photographers Juergen Teller and Inez Van Lamsweerde, among many others. She and her husband John have amassed an important fine art collection of over one thousand works in the form of painting, sculpture, photography, and video. Over twenty years ago, the collection began with works by Pablo Picasso, Willem De Kooning, Jean Dubuffet, and Marc Chagall. Since then, Amy’s discerning eye has led her to acquire noteworthy art with a contemporary flare, including works by Ed Ruscha, Gregory Crewdson, Marilyn Minter, Chuck Close, Ellsworth Kelly, Damien Hirst, and Andy Warhol. The couple also invests their time discovering and promoting emerging contemporary art. The artists who enjoy their support – Will Cotton, Marc Dennis, Delia Brown, Nir Hod, Ken Solomon, among others – have since flourished. Often included in ARTnews as one of the top 200 art collectors, their involvement in all aspects of the art world, from maintaining close relationships with artists to loaning work worldwide, demonstrates their enduring enthusiasm for and dedication to contemporary art. Amy & John have a 26-year-old daughter Makenzie, who currently resides in New York, studying art history and managing artist Richard Phillips’ studio. The Phelans spend their summers in Aspen and Rifle, Colorado.
Mr. Phelan is the Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of MSD Capital, L.P. (“MSD”), which was founded in 1998 and is the private investment firm for Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell Technologies. MSD engages in a broad range of investment activities and has dedicated professionals in Public Market Securities, Private Equity and Real Estate. John is also the Co-Managing Partner of MSD Partners, L.P. (“MSD Partners”), a SEC-registered investment adviser that was formed to enable a select group of outside investors to invest in strategies that were initially developed by MSD. MSD and MSD Partners and its affiliates collectively employ over 125 people in their New York, Los Angeles and Palm Beach offices.
Prior to forming MSD, John was a Principal for seven years at ESL Partners, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based investment firm. At ESL, John was responsible for ESL’s Special Situation and Distressed Investments and helped grow the firm from $50 million to over $2 billion in assets under management. Prior to ESL, Mr. Phelan was a Vice President at the Equity Group and was in charge of Acquisitions (Western Region) for the Zell-Merrill Lynch Real Estate Opportunity Funds. John began his career at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he worked as a financial analyst in the Investment Banking Division.
John received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, cum laude with distinction from S.M.U. with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science. John holds a General Course degree with an emphasis in Economics and International Relations from the London School of Economics. He is on the Board of Trustees at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Aspen Art Museum (Chairman), Spirit of America and Third Option Foundation. He is also involved with his respective alma maters and currently serves on the Board of Dean’s Advisors for the Harvard Business School, the Investment Committee for the S.M.U. Endowment, and the North American Advisory Board for the London School of Economics. John and his wife Amy have permanently endowed free admission to the Aspen Art Museum and recently named the Phelan US Centre at LSE.