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The Hamptons: Blue-Chips and Sunshine
by Joel Kuennen

The Hamptons buzz and hum in July. City-folk braving the three hour drive for a weekend respite from an overly ripe Big Apple head determinedly for surf and society. Part of the escapist appeal of the Hamptons lies in the art fairs; ArtHamptons (7/13-15), artMRKT Hamptons (7/19-22), and Art Southampton (7/26-30).

These are small fairs; many galleries represented are appointment-only specialty venues. But the offerings are usually, and this year appears to be no different, well curated and shaped with the collector in mind. This means established names, blue-chip work, and often a more historic or traditional focus. And for entertainment, there are themed events like “Pretty People Paint Pollock”—just to keep it light.

Katherine Desjardins, "MayB", 2007-2012, ink and brush, mixed media on mylar, 17" x 15.5"; Courtesy of Kasia Kay Art Projects, Chicago. At ArtHamptons.


ArtHamptons, now in its fifth year, boasts 75 galleries housed in its new location among the rolling fields of Nova’s Ark, a “modern stonehenge” according to the artist behind its construction, Nova Mihai Popa. Polo fields with scheduled matches surround the park and events and talks fill the schedule, including an evening with Cheech Marin who currently holds the largest collection of Chicano art in America. This year is the centennial celebration of Pollock, hence the “Pretty People” affair benefiting the Pollock-Krasner House. And of course lots of strolling and people watching will be on tap as well.

Watch for these highlights while you browse: Danziger Projects (New York) for a solid and exciting mix of photographers; Parker’s Box, a Brooklyn mainstay with a great selection of emerging artists; don’t miss painters Kevin Berlin and Elisa Johns at Kasia Kay Art Projects (Chicago); and a definite stop is Eli Klein (New York and Beijing) for contemporary Chinese works both in the emerging and established markets. Finally, from across the pond, Woolff Gallery (London), one of the bastions of young, contemporary art, will be showing for its fourth year at ArtHamptons (and this year at Art Southampton as well). Nick Woolff is looking to the Hamptons as a bit of a break: “it has a different feeling to a city fair where visitors are often pressed for time. The atmosphere here has a holiday feel, visitors are relaxed.” Yet sales for Woolff have been consistently good all four years, buoyed by “very good, knowledgeable collectors.”  Plus, and here Woolff seems most keen, “it is also a great chance for us Londoners to see some sunshine…at last.”

Claire Sherman, Cliff and Water, 2012, oil on canvas, 78 x 66 in.; Courtesy of DCKT Contemporary. At artMRKT Hamptons, booth #101.


artMRKT Hamptons is in its second year, an extension of artMRKT Productions, a Brooklyn-based fair organizer. Taking with them 40 galleries, up from 30 last year, artMRKT Hamptons is the younger, fresher fair. Its galleries are overwhelmingly dealing in contemporary works, with many works completed just this year. If there is an old money/young money distinction to be made here, artMRKT is the latter. For the lovers of groundbreaking art that may or may not rise in value but sure-as-hell looks cool, this is the fair for you. We are especially looking towards seeing: Morgan Lehman (New York), especially Kim McCarty; DCKT Contemporary (New York), look out for Claire Sherman, her works are luscious; Tseng Kwong Chi’s Keith Haring photographs at Eric Firestone Gallery (East Hampton); and Lesley Heller Workspace (New York), who especially focuses on up and comers.  But really, the whole fair looks to be exciting.

Bernar Venet, Two Indeterminate Lines, 2006, rolled steel, 200 x 235 x 240cm; Courtesy of Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki. At Art Southampton.


Art Southampton, a production of Art Miami, opens for the first time this year and features 50 leading galleries. Much like ArtHamptons, Art Southampton offers a diverse selection of well-known artists and galleries. Both are collector’s fairs in the strictest sense and many of the same galleries will be on view at each fair.  Expect to see primary and secondary selections, from stalwarts like Jenkins Johnson Gallery (New York and San Francisco), Galerie Terminus (Munich), and KM Fine Arts (Chicago). For more experimental work, check out Dean Project (New York), Cynthia Corbett Gallery (London), Galerie Forsblom (Helsinki), and Witzenhausen Gallery (Amsterdam and New York).

Happy hunting.

Joel Kuennen


****Special thanks to Woolff Gallery for supplying ArtSlant readers with a free day pass to ArtHamptons. Just click here.****


[Image on top: Russell West, 'Happy Hour II', 160 x 120 x 10cm, oil on wire on board; Courtesy of Woolff Gallery, London. At Art Southampton.)

Posted by Joel Kuennen on 7/12/12 | tags: abstract mixed-media

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