The great French artist Edgar Degas said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Luckily, here on the East End—once home to great artists from William Merritt Chase to Willem De Kooning, Fairfield Porter to Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock—you needn’t go far to see great art, and new galleries are showing up all around.
T Gallery in Southampton is one such newcomer. Helmed by former J. Crew Talent Director and agent for some of the world’s most renowned photographers, Therese Ryan Mahar, T Gallery has launched a series of summer exhibitions. The debut show, “Through the Lens,” (running through June 29) offers a selection of images by legendary photographer Harry Benson. “A lot of things you hear are not true and it didn’t happen like that, but photographs don’t lie,” Benson says. “You’re looking for that moment and I’m not telling people to do this and that, and I’m not posing them. They’re spontaneous. The picture happened. It’s not a manipulated photograph—it happened, and that’s real.” Other exhibits this summer include the first North American exhibition by Argentinian artist, Ruben Alterio (July 1–August 10); and local artist Maud Bryt, whose oil paintings resemble tuned contraptions of form and color. 4 North Main Street C, Southampton. 212-679-8585, tgallery.com
Sara Nightingale Gallery, after 17 years on Montauk Highway in Water Mill, has moved into the space at 26 Main Street in Sag Harbor, between Black Swan Antiques and Harbor Books. Nightingale has always dreamed of relocating to Sag Harbor. “For one thing,” she says, “I live here. I also love the uniquely personal small businesses in Sag Harbor. Everyone seems to have a particular voice that is emphatically non-corporate.” Nightingale is looking forward to the walk-in traffic in Sag Harbor and assures us that “the gallery will be a welcoming and casual place for people to see art.” Look forward to collaborative programs in the future as Nightingale plans to work with other dealers, organizations and independent curators—not to mention socially engaged artists. “As far as what I will show in the future, you’ll just have to come and visit to find out.” 26 Main, Street Sag Harbor. 631-793-2256, saranightingale.com
If you find yourself in Sag Harbor lamenting the loss of the iconic Sag Harbor Cinema, you might also notice the absence of RJD Gallery, which occupied one of the buildings ultimately demolished as a result of the December fire. Sag Harbor’s loss, at least in the case of this stellar gallery, is Bridgehampton’s gain. Now at 2385 Main Street in Bridgehampton, RJD still exhibits international, representational artists with a concentration on narrative realism, photorealistic portraiture, surrealism and figurative art, presenting a contemporary vision of our world. The new location has more than twice the space and art on one floor, and separate back and upper studios. “RJD Gallery lives and exceeds its mission, is devoutly committed to developing the success of their artists, and plays a pivotal role in bringing attention to their work on a national and international basis,” says artist Andrea Kowch, whose work will be featured in an August exhibition. While Sag Harbor is sad to see it—and its collection—leave, everyone is glad RJD Gallery is back on its feet. 631-725-1161, rjdgallery.com