Artists have been drawn to Long Island’s compelling East End for decades. Author James Fenimore Cooper spent his early career in Sag Harbor, and legions of writers followed, including the likes of Joseph Heller, E. L. Doctorow, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, and
George Plimpton. Then came the wave of artists, the most famous of which was Jackson Pollack (whose life ended in a car accident in Springs, Long Island). Artists Willem de Kooning, Dan Flavin, and Roy Lichtenstein were also among the famed bunch. The influence of art and artists in the expanse of farmland and beach fronts sprinkled along the eastern end of the island-otherwise known as the Hamptons-is evident in the art-minded mentality of locals, successful museums, and the influx of galleries and art fairs in the area. Here are some of this season’s most highly anticipated art events and
institutions that musn’t be missed.
The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton
Located just off Southampton’s Main Street, the Parrish Art Museum houses an impressive collection of American art from the 19th century to the present, with a particular focus on the art and artists of the East End. Works include paintings by impressionist William Merritt Chase and 20th century realist Fairfield Porter, as well as the work of many of the most important artists who lived and worked in the area, including Pollock, Lee Krasner, de Kooning, Flavin, and Lichtenstein, and living artists John Chamberlain, Chuck Close, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, and Elizabeth Peyton. Operating in its existing building since its founding by benefactor and collector Samuel Longstreth Parrish in 1897, the museum will be moving to a new Herzog & de Meurondesigned building in Watermill in 2009, increasing its space from its current 25,000 square feet to 80,000 square feet. The new building will also mark Herzog & de Meuron’s first public building on the East Coast. In honor of the artists who have been such an intrinsic part of Hamptons history, the firm has designed the museum so that the four exhibition spaces are inspired by the studios of artists Chase, Porter, de Kooning, and Lichtenstein.
“The Hamptons Weekend of Art” during SCOPE Hamptons,
Wainscott , July 24-28, 2008
SCOPE-the second-biggest art fair in the world in terms of the number of exhibitors, with fairs in New York, Basel, London, Miami, and Madrid-started its fledgling Hamptons sibling in 2005. Showcasing more than 60 international contemporary galleries from more than 20 countries in the 20,000-squarefoot East Hampton Studios, SCOPE hosts a full schedule of special events including performances, new media events, and screenings, alongside museum-quality programming, creating what has become “The Hamptons
Weekend of Art.” Last year’s SCOPE fair also incorporated programs for children such as puppet workshops hosted by American Indian artists alongside adult-only activities, like Creative Time’s spiked lemonade stand where SCOPE-goers could browse art books, play badminton and Bocce, and purchase limited edition goodies. This year, galleries like Galeria Enrique Guerrero from Mexico City and Miami’s Frederic Snitzer Gallery will be
participating, alongside colorful events like silent auctions and discussions.
Guild Hall, East Hampton
For more than 76 years, Guild Hall has been a community education and entertainment center for the arts. The Guild Hall Museum features a significant permanent collection and archive of approximately 1,900 works of art from the 19th though 21st centuries, including paintings, sculpture, prints, watercolors, photographs and drawings by internationally distinguished East End artists such as Pollock, Krasner, de Kooning, and Lichtenstein.
Watermill Center, Watermill
Founded in 1992 by playwright, actor, director, and multimedia artist Robert Wilson, the Watermill Center is a unique space for international artists to come together and collaborate on various mixed-media projects. The three-day gala benefit and rededication of the reconstructed main building in 2006 brought forth iconic individuals like Donna Karan, Annie Leibowitz, and Isabella Rossellini to celebrate. “I used to come [to the Hamptons] in the late ’60s to visit Christophe deMenil,” says Wilson. “I created [my play] ‘Einstein on the Beach’ in Amagansett….I’ve always loved Long Island. [The Watermill Center] is a building with an open door-we bring together people from all
nations and it’s that balance that I think is what’s important to this center’s culture.” Each summer, approximately 100 artists from more than 30 countries gather at the center for four to five weeks of intensive classes and workshops. This year’s summer program will comprise various mixed media workshops and classes in various areas of performing arts.
The Artists Alliance Art Studio Tours, Summer Studio Tours
The Art Studio Tours are an exclusive opportunity to visit the studios, homes, and gardens of established and emerging artists living in the Hamptons, allowing visitors to purchase original works of art from the source. On the self-guided tour, visitors move at their own pace for one to three days and check out the studios that interest them in any order they like. Studios are open each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Dan Flavin Art Institute, Bridgehampt on
Opened in 1983 in conjunction with the Dia Art Foundation, the renovated firehouse holds a permanent installation of nine works created by Flavin between1963 and 1981. The fluorescent light sculptures were installed as a single, unified piece, tracing the artist’s practice over almost 20 years.
The Fireplace Project , East Hampton
Opened by private art dealer and curator Edsel Williams, The Fire Project is a car garage-turned-contemporary art gallery. Williams curates eclectic group shows including artists like Sol Lewitt and Ryan McGinley, solo shows by dynamic young artists like Aaron Young, and Miami artist collective HOUSE. During the Annual Hamptons Show (June 6 through 16), East End artists like Robert Harms, Mary Heilmann, Judy Hudson, Tony Just, and Cynthia Knott will make up a group show. Open Fridays through Mondays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. by appointment.
Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton
You could say that the warehouse-like commercial space on Plank Road off East Hampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike is director James Salomon’s hobby. Salomon, who is also associate director of the Mary Boone Gallery in Manhattan and a Westhampton native, collects young East End artists like Rima Mardoyan and Sally Egbert under his roof, and hopes-with the support of Ms. Boone-to eventually show some Boone artists who have houses on the East End, including Eric Fischl, Ross Bleckner, and Eric Freeman. Open by appointment.