As this year ends and 2015 begins, we look back at 10 of our favorite East End visual arts scene moments in 2014. These are in no particular order and they were chosen as standouts among many, many more fabulous exhibitions and events from the past year.
10. Art Donovan Brings Steampunk to Seoul
In March of 2014, Southampton artist, lighting designer Art Donovan traveled to Seoul, South Korea to show his work and help curate that country’s first ever steampunk exhibition. An important figure in the wildly popular Steampunk art and design movement, Donovan curated the world’s first steampunk exhibition right here in Bridgehampton and then hit the worldwide stage with a grander survey of the genre in Oxford, England. His star shines more brightly by the day.
9. We Discover Adam Fronc’s Repainted Dan’s Covers
Perhaps a blip in the larger context of art in the Hamptons, in June, the editors of DansPapers.com were thrilled to discover local artist and barista Adam Fronc’s ongoing series of repainted Dan’s Papers covers on Twitter and Instagram (@ADAMFRONC). The fun and clever repaints were posted under the tag #defaceddan. We hoped others would follow his lead, but it wasn’t to be. Perhaps Fronc prefers it that way. He’s is an original, after all.
8. Helen Harrison Joins Larry Rivers Foundation Board
Already well regarded for her role as director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton, Helen Harrison joined the board of the Larry Rivers Foundation in June of this year. We couldn’t think of a better, and more esteemed, choice.
7. Aubrey Roemer Paints Montauk Portraits
New York City artist Aubrey Roemer began her Montauk residency in April and began “Leviathon,” her ambitious effort to paint portraits of 10 percent, or 400, of Montauk’s 4,000 year-round residents. The hamlet welcomed Roemer and her portraits—painted on Montauk residents’ bed sheets, pillowcases, tablecloths, handkerchiefs and other fabrics, were a hit, especially when displayed on the beach.
6. Local Artists Take to the Streets
A great deal of guerilla art began popping up around the Hamptons in 2014, and we liked it. We liked it a lot. Intrepid talents such as “Tanster” from Water Mill and Michael R. Zotos, along with several others, have been making our drives more interesting along local roads more interesting for months. Tanster’s rainbow and stenciled creations can be found all over, she posts each one on Instagram (under the name @gemeinschaftprojekt) and even encourages people to take them home. Meanwhile, Zotos’ organic abstractions are also everywhere, though much more difficult to remove. We’ve also enjoyed “street drops” by Jason Poremba of Southampton and a few scattered pieces by Brooklyn-born artist “Becca.” Oh, and let’s not forget East End Arts’ painted fire hydrants in Riverhead!
5. Parrish Erects Roy Lichtenstein’s Tokyo Brushstrokes
When they installed Roy Lichtenstein’s sculptures, “Tokyo Brushstroke I” and “Tokyo Brushstroke II” (1994), The Parrish Art Museum added a significant landmark to the Hamptons, celebrated one of our greatest local talents and gave us all some art to appreciate every day without ever leaving our cars. Bravo!
4. Donald Baechler Sculpture Controversy in Westhampton
Also in June of 2014, famed mixed media artist and Hamptonite Donald Baechler supervised the installation of a 30-foot aluminum version of his “Walking Figure” sculpture in a Westhampton traffic circle near Gabreski Airport. Public reaction was mixed, but the piece opened up an interesting debate. It was a big step forward for legal public art on the East End. Besides, it also led to the erection of Dan’s Papers’ very own “Walking Dan” sculpture outside our Southampton offices.
3. Parrish Art Museum Offers Free Admission to Eligible Locals
In September, the Parrish Art Museum showed their appreciation of local voters passing an annual tax levy for the museum by offering a special Resident Benefits card to those who live in the Southampton and Tuckahoe school districts. Much like a library card, the museum’s new offering gives residents free admission to the galleries and many of its programs, along with discounted admission to workshops and select programs, and invitations to celebrate new exhibitions at special receptions throughout the year. What a classy move!
2. Southampton Arts Center Comes to Life
After a relatively quiet first year, the new Southampton Arts Center on Jobs Lane came out swinging as an important arts venue in 2014. Along with various lectures, film programs and community events (the haunted house was a blast!), the museum produced some top-notch and diverse exhibitions, such as the exciting Irrational Portrait Gallery, Beatrice Coron’s Cut Worlds and the current Awkward Family Photos show.
1. Springs Mystery Art Show
Back in April, the Springs Mystery Art Show at Ashwagh Hall turned out to be the art event of the East End season. Benefiting the Spring School art program, the exhibition featured work by nearly 500 local artists and children—all on 5- x 7-inch cards without a single signature or hint about who created which piece. The stable of artists included some of our most famous residents, as well as a host of recognizable emerging talents. Buyers bought for their love of the work and not the names attached. This massively well-attended show demonstrated everything great about our wonderful artist’s enclave. Art and community came together beautifully. Let’s hope they do it again.
Tell us your favorite art moments of 2014!