Galleries from across the United States and the world are joining together to exhibit their wares this summer in our own backyard! A total of three major art fairs will bring their contemporary art shows from their respective galleries to the fairgrounds of artMRKT, Art Southampton and ArtHamptons. All three fairs will occur within consecutive weekends in the Hamptons this July. ArtHamptons will start on Friday, July 13 and end on July 15, artMRKT run from Thursday, July 19 to July 22 and Art Southampton from Thursday, July 26 to Monday, July 30. To accommodate growing popularity, ArtHamptons will be held at the Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark in Bridgehampton. artMRKT will begin with a Thursday night evening reception at the Parrish Art Museum and then move over to the grounds at the Bridgehampton Historical Society. Art Southampton, in its inaugural weekend, will be held on the 18-acre fairgrounds behind the Southampton Elks Lodge.
artMRKT, held annually, was my entrée to climate-controlled pavilions. If this sort of class does not impress, the selection of works in years past, or, for that matter, their list of affiliated galleries is sure to. While I was only a teenager at the time—and therefore my travels to the VIP tent could not be supplemented with the loads of adult refreshment that was offered—I remember being floored by the quality of artwork that was presented at artMRKT. It was almost as if I was walking through a museum, what with the original work by artists who also have their work on the walls of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The small paintings and interesting, early work of Andy Warhol was set against a backdrop of enormous sculpture work by artists such as Hans Van de Bovenkamp. All this, along with the generous hospitality provided by the Bridgehampton Historical Society, made for the art fair experience of a lifetime—and a needed respite from the humid mid-July conditions.
ArtHamptons, as I said, will be moving to a new location to house its growing popularity. What I failed to mention earlier is that the new location will have at its disposal a 97-acre nature reserve. This truly gargantuan ground will surely be able to hold the great line-up of exhibitors (which can be studied at their website), as well as the attendees. Among those that attend, special guests include artist Ed Moses, photographer Michael Childers and Arts Patron of the Year Cheech Marin. The 40,000 square foot exhibit space will feature a new, Hamptonian twist this year, a celebration of Jackson Pollock’s centennial birthday.
Art Southampton is in its first year here, but shares its roots with Art Miami, the premier art fair based in Southern Florida. The event hopes to impress sophisticated East Enders with a selection of 43 American and foreign galleries, ranging from acclaimed local galleries like Gallery Valentine and the McNeill Art Group, to London galleries like the Cynthia Corbett Gallery, even an exhibitor from Helsinki, Galerie Forsblom. While being a truly international affair—which is all well and good, but not distinctive or all that hip here on the East End—Art Southampton will attempt to bring change in the Hamptons on a local level by hosting an Opening Night VIP Preview to benefit the Southampton Hospital and a screening of HEARTBEAT, a film about famous sculptor John Chamberlain, to benefit the Ross School.