It was in 1931 that Guild Hall in East Hampton opened its doors. Shortly after, in 1938, Guild Hall held its first Artist Members Exhibition. Early joiners included Alfonso Ossorio, Bill King, Charlotte Park, Jackson Pollock, James Brooks, John Little, Lee Krasner, and Perle Fine. They came together to show their support for the cultural hub amid a deeply rooted artist colony.
The exhibit returns March 7 through April 18 featuring artwork from museum members of all ages, mediums, and skill levels. Now in its 82nd year, it’s the oldest non-juried show on Long Island. Each year, roughly 400 artists participate. Christina Strassfield, Guild Hall’s museum director and curator, said “It is a wonderful opportunity for artists to exhibit their work. Through the exhibition I am able to see the different types of work artists are doing and to speak with some of the artists.”
This year’s guest juror is associate curator at the Guggenheim Museum, Susan Thompson. She will review the exhibit in its entirety and present up to 17 artists with awards across categories in Best Photography, Best Representational Work, Best Sculpture, Best Abstract, Best Mixed Media, Best Work on Paper, Best New Artist, and Catherine & Theo Hios Best Landscape Award, in addition to up to eight honorable mentions. The Top Honors award will go to the juror’s top pick, who will then receive a solo exhibit in Guild Hall’s Spiga Gallery later in the year.
“I would not think of not being a part of the Artist Members Exhibition every year. The exhibition is both historic and democratic and a genuine community experience. One walks in the footsteps of de Kooning, Pollock and Krasner, et al., who all participated in this event in their day,” said Stephanie Brody-Lederman, two-time top honors winner. “I gained a great deal of confidence because of these awards.”
Thompson’s involvement with Guggenheim ties in seamlessly with the East End exhibit. She is one of the organizing curators for the Young Collectors Council, which obtains work from emerging artists for the museum’s permanent collection, and on the Photography Council. In addition, she’s curated several exhibits of her own.
There will be a private members reception on Saturday, March 7, from 4 to 6 PM. Visit www.guildhall.org.