Tucker Marder’s Ducks Will Stampede in Water Mill

Tucker Marder and the Parrish Art Museum present Stampede this Saturday
Tucker Marder and the Parrish present Stampede this Saturday, Photos: Parrish Art Museum, Oliver Peterson

Southampton multimedia artist Tucker Marder is presenting Stampede, an installation and performance, and what appears to be his most ambitious project yet, in conjunction with the Parrish Art Museum this Saturday evening in Water Mill.

For what promises to be one of the weirdest, and possibly coolest, events of the summer, Marder has choreographed an “interspecies dance” with more than 100 Crested Indian Runner ducks, which will interact with large, geometric human-powered puppets, which he called trapezoids in a recent conversation.

“A formal influence for Stampede was aerial real estate photography,” Marder says in his announcement. “The lumbering, abstract-shape puppets in Stampede remind me of spec houses and their angular property lines,” he continues, adding, “A flock of Crested Indian Runner Ducks with their pom-pom hats provide the perfect foil for the shape’s sharp silhouettes.”

And, as the ducks and the shapes stampede together across the empty parcel of land, Marder asks, “How will they intermingle?”

Marder tackled similar subject matter in his odd yet charming “Mantel” installation—featuring dozens of photos of two ducks in that kitschy yearbook style—in the Parrish Art Museum’s 2013 Artists Choose Artists exhibition.

In works like “Mantel” and Stampede, and by combining theater, puppetry and installation, Marder uses humor while toying with the absurd to generate greater empathy for the natural world from his viewers. By pairing people and animals, he accentuates how humans domesticate and adapt nature to their desired benefit.

Stampede takes place outdoors on an undeveloped parcel of land surrounded by recently constructed homes that resemble the geometric shapes used to encircle the ducks. This curious interspecies tango encompasses the artist’s thoughts on the cultivation of nature, regional land use and historic trades such as Long Island duck farming.

Stampede Sketch, Courtesy Parrish Art Museum
Stampede Sketch, Courtesy Parrish Art Museum

The event is part of the Parrish Road Show, curated by Century Arts Foundation Curator of Special Projects at the Parrish, Andrea Grover. Presented annually in August and featuring temporary projects by East End artists, Parrish Road Show is designed to deeply connect creativity to everyday life by presenting exhibitions and programs in unexpected places—from public parks to historic sites—across the region.

Parrish Road Show aims to broaden the traditional understanding of the function of an art museum by bringing art outside and into the community,” Grover says.

This could be sublime or it could be a disaster with dozens of rare ducks crushed beneath giant, colorful shapes. Either way, it’s a must-see.

Stampede opens with a public reception on Saturday, August 15 from 6–8 p.m. at 1058 Deerfield Road in Water Mill. Admission is free to the reception but RSVPs are encouraged.

Visit parrishart.org for more info.

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