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Hamptons "An Artist Couple" Exhibit Focuses On East End-Based Duo

Sydney A. Braat

Marcel's Star (You don't have to be a Star, Baby, to be in My Show) by Connie Fox and (Self) as Roscoe Turner (American aviator) by William King.

Guild Hall in East Hampton has collaborated with Guest Curator Gail Levin for Connie Fox & William King: An Artist Couple. Fox, an abstract artist, and King, a figurative sculptor, both lived in East Hampton together, working in separate studios. This show will highlight their sensibilities and influences, especially humor, music, political activism, and modern art.

"We are fortunate to offer visitors an intimate look at artworks that reflect the relationship of an artist couple that were integral to this community," said Levin, a distinguished Professor of Art History at the City University of New York. She also served as the author of the catalogue for this show.

Fox and King have been compared to other local pairs such as Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, Elaine and Willem de Kooning, and James Brooks and Charlotte Park. King not only portrayed himself with Fox, but also other artist-couples from their social circle, like John Hardy and Joan Semmel, and Eric Fischl and April Gornik.

"The show offers the rare opportunity to view works made in East Hampton that reveal not only the artists' response to modernism, but also how they responded to their friends and to the locality, from Sammy's Beach to art stars like Cindy Sherman," added Levin.

This exhibition spans seven decades, beginning with two self-portraits from 1955, decades before the two artists met. Elaine de Kooning was the one who encouraged Fox's move to East Hampton. Fox's aesthetic always remained closer to European modernism, despite the strong ethos of abstract expressionism in the East Hampton artist community.

Sammy's Beach III by Connie Fox and Portrait of Edith Halpert by William King.

Fox and King met in 1980 and from 1983 until King's death in 2015, the couple worked in their individual studios, while maintaining a mutual respect for each other's work. The couple shared interests in music, jest, and political activism. The couple's muse had always been Marcel Duchamp, the quirky iconoclast. Fox and King collaborated on playing music and also produced a series on LTV East Hampton called New York Review of Art and a subsequent series called Art Beat that ran from 1985 to 1987.

"When I first came to the Hamptons in 1987 I met Bill and Connie," remarked Christina Mossaides Strassfield, Museum Director/Chief Curator. "They were involved in everything that was happening in the Hamptons Art Scene. Every exhibition opening, every art Charity auction, every Art Party as well as the Artist's Alliance which was advocating for studio spaces with running water. They were the "It Art Couple", everyone who came into this community knew their art and knew them. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be able to be having this exhibition at Guild Hall Museum an institution they loved and cherished!"

Connie Fox & William King: An Artist Couple will be on view Saturday, October 22nd through Saturday, December 31st. An Opening Exhibition Conversation with Artist Connie Fox and Guest Curator Gail Levin will be held on Sunday, October 23th from 2 to 3 p.m. The exhibit's Opening Reception will follow from 3 to 5 p.m.

Additionally, Levin will be featured in a Gallery Talk on Connie Fox & William King: An Artist Couple on Sunday, November 13th at 2 p.m.

The Museum at Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-324-0806 or visit www.guildhall.org.

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