Looking back at the past year, 2022 felt, mostly, like a return to normal for the East End art world — for the first time since 2020, every moment wasn’t defined by post-pandemic openings and debuts. The big events were back, all venues were open and our creative endeavors continued as they did in that innocent time before.
Twelve months goes by fast, but it’s also hard to believe so many of these moments happened within this relatively short span of time, especially the hard ones.
Top 5 Important East End Arts Moments of 2022
Those We Lost
It’s hard to feel celebratory when considering the losses and realizations that some of our most gifted and beloved friends have shuffled off this mortal coil, leaving those of us who remain with a little less beauty and wonder. But we also find joy and smiles in remembering, and knowing that their art lives on, in whatever form it took.
The great, award-winning Broadway and film designer Tony Walton died on March 2 at the age of 87 having lived a long and prosperous life that was just one Grammy short of an EGOT. With 16 Tony nominations (and three wins), five Academy Award nods ,including a win for All That Jazz in 1979, and an Emmy for the 1985 Death of a Salesman TV mini-series — few could say they’ve accomplished more.
Just two days later, came the shocking and unexpected loss of painter Daniel Pollera who died at age 68 on March 4. The East Quogue and Baldwin Harbor artist painted more Dan’s Papers covers than just about anyone, and his masterful talent was only rivaled by his lovely personality. We already miss him terribly.
Others we lost included Amagansett Law & Order actress Joan Copeland who died at age 99 in January, Hampton Bays resident and Southampton gallerist Peter Marcelle died at 65 in March, Sag Harbor author and historian Dennis Longwell died at 83 in April, Springs poet Cy Perchik died at 98 in June, and art historian Alex Rosenberg was 103 when he died in July.
This year was full of magnificent exhibitions and shows at galleries and museums across the Hamptons and North Fork, but one stood out as especially important. As we said when it opened at Southampton Arts Center in April, Techspressionism – Digital & Beyond presented a new, locally founded art movement that has about as good a chance as any to become part of the historical lexicon.
Led by painter Colin Goldberg, the movement even had scholar Helen Harrison in their corner, helping to define it as “an artistic approach in which technology is utilized as a means to express emotional experience.” The show featured work by more than 90 artists from more than 20 countries, and even if it wasn’t your cup of tea, you had to respect the ambition and hustle.
Additional standout shows on the East End included Dan’s Reimagined — a celebration of Dan’s Papers covers from the past 35 years, as interpreted by East End Arts members at the organization’s Riverhead gallery; and OUTCROPPING: Indigenous Art Now at Southampton Arts Center, which marked the first fully Indigenous-focused exhibition in the Hamptons.
The restoration of Linda Scott’s iconic “Stargazer” sculpture — a 50-foot red deer with a branch in its mouth at DeLalio Sod Farms in Manorville — was finally completed in November, bringing it back even better than its original form in 1991.
David Morris, partner of Scott, the late artist who died in 2015, was able to maintain her legacy thanks in large part to generous donors such as Harvey Manes, FLAG Art Foundation and Stucco of the Hamptons.
And the new construction will keep it standing for much longer than the materials used more than 30 years ago allowed.
It was quite an achievement when Hampton Synagogue managed to get the world’s most famous glass artist Dale Chihuly to provide the art for their new expansion in Westhampton Beach.
The new Jack’s House children’s center features two stories with reception and exhibition halls, music and dance studios, culinary studio, children’s library, the Barnet Family Children’s Chapel and more than 30 Chihuly glass installations with more expected through summer 2023.
His beautiful “Hampton Fiori Window” pieces appear like flowers floating along the walls and windows of the Barnet Family Children’s Chapel, and “Eternal Light” presents a hanging lantern in the form of the artist’s iconic chandeliers using gold glass. Finally, Chihuly added a stunning menorah across the chapel windows in blue and white glass.
“And now we have the Temple menorah, which represents the past, the present and the future,” Rabbi Marc Schneier said, describing just a small part of the rich symbolism in Chihuly’s work, adding, “Every facet of these glass installations tells a very powerful and meaningful story.”
Despite the thousands of miles separating us, when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, it didn’t take long for East End artists and arts institutions to respond and attempt to help by raising huge sums of money.
The Suffolk in Riverhead held a sold-out All for Ukraine concert on March 27 bringing in $35,000 for relief efforts. Greenport Art & Design Emporium owner Walter de Groot bought 20 oil paintings by Ukrainian artists a decade ago, and he sold them in 2022 with 100% of proceeds going toward evacuation and rescue efforts, and the Tikva Children’s Home orphanage.
In April, Bay Street Theater put on a Concert for Ukraine, featuring noted Ukrainian pianist Dr. Taras Filenko.
More than 100 artists joined The Church and Sag Harbor galleries, including Romany Kramoris, Grenning, Keyes Art and Sara Nightingale, in an Art for Ukraine auction. Also in April, William Ris Gallery in Jamesport put up Hearts & Souls: An Exhibit of Solidarity with 30 artists donating a portion of their proceeds to Razom for Ukraine.
In August, husband and wife Olexander Klimenko and Sonia Atlantova sold 13 pieces from their “icons on ammunition boxes” series through the Watermill Center with 100% of the proceeds going to Ukraine’s Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital.
In October artist Ted Hartley’s Stories in Color at Keyes Art Gallery in Sag Harbor included his Ukraine Series, with proceeds benefiting the Olena Zelenska Foundation, a charity providing medicine, education, and humanitarian aid in the war torn country.