Eileen Kinsella, Friday, July 3, 2015
The latest edition of ArtHamptons, which opened with a VIP preview in Bridgehampton the evening of July 2, includes just as much beach, summer-themed, and indigo-and sunset-abstraction as you might expect.
But that’s okay. After all, this is the Hamptons.
Not with standing the pleasant but ubiquitous, azure imagery of swimming pools and calm seas, and Alex Katz portraits everywhere, there are plenty of welcome surprises, from Robert Longo‘s “Men in the Cities” series of images, which popped up in the Pop-art filled booth of Miami gallery Adamar, to darker, post-Hurricane Sandy photographic images of Point Pleasant, New Jersey at Englewood’s Gallery 270. Also nice to stumble upon was an eye-catching booth focused on the work of studio glass artists at Detroit’s Habatat Galleries.
The mood was relaxed yet vibrant on the eve of July 4 weekend as crowds of elaborately decked out visitors defied Hamptons traffic and descended on the 40,000-square-foot tent in the field off Lumber Lane. Organizers reported 2,800 visitors last night, one of the highest attendance rates yet for its opening night. And there’s more yet to come as the fair runs through Sunday, July 5.
After the first half of the preview was finished (called “first look,” that portion ran from 5 to 7 pm), we heard one visitor on the way out joke to her friend: “Now the riff raff comes through.”
Dubner Moderne, of Lausanne, Switzerland was drawing attention with pitch-perfect palm tree prints by Josh Smith, and beachside scenes from Isca Greenfield-Sanders and her husband, Sebastian Blanck, several of which had already found buyers in the first hours of the fair.
“It’s great to have a summer fair, outside New York,” gallery director Vernon A. A. Dubner told artnet News. “It’s off the beaten path.”
Kips Gallery of Long Island City, on its sixth outing at the fair, had a well-curated booth displaying the work of young Korean artists currently in residency at its Gangnam district space, including detailed multi-story sculptures of cavernous interiors, made of restored cardboard by Jo Yun-guk—many with extensive libraries—that are like dollhouses for grownups. Also on view were colorful neon landscape paintings with a twist of Anime by artist Lee Jae-yul.
“The ambience is great and there is a really good market here in the Hamptons,” director Ken Kim told artnet News.
Also a pleasant surprise was the geographical range. There were local Hamptons galleries and those from outer Manhattan boroughs like Flushing and Bayside, Queens. There were numerous exhibitors from Seoul, South Korea, and the UK, and one particularly far-flung, first-time exhibitor, Rele Gallery, which operates out of Lagos, Nigeria and London, and shows the work of Nigerian artists.
Drawing attention here were Nigerian artist Victor Ehikamenor’s elaborate patterns of traditional African imagery painstakingly executed by individual nail points hammered through thick paper.
Director Adenrele Sonariwo told us there’s been an overall uptick in the market for contemporary African art and described visitors’ positive responses to the work as “quite amazing.”
Another favorite were paintings by Canadian artist Bradley Wood at Sim Smith’s London gallery, showing what Smith, the director, described as “domestic fictions,” such as his recently executed Can’t Sleep (pictured above).
“People from all over the world are in the Hamptons right now,” said Clayton Calvert of East Hampton gallery Lawrence Fine Art, which shows at several Hamptons fairs. “It’s a way of letting people know that we’re here—and we tend to also make sales afterward.”