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Hope Sandrow: Recollecting an American Dream

Originally Posted: January 16, 2007

"Recollecting an American Dream," an exhibition in which artist Hope Sandrow explores conflicting issues of preservation and development in Shinnecock Hills on eastern Long Island, will open on January 20 at the Southampton Historical Museum in Southampton. On exhibit will be Ms. Sandrow's photographs, focusing on Gissa Bu (mystery house), a unique Nordic Lodge designed for aviation executive Lamotte Turck Cohu by the Norwegian architect Thorbjorn Bassoe in the 1930s and recently threatened with demolition. Also on view will be black-and-white photographs taken shortly after the building's completion by the renowned landscape photographer Mattie Edwards Hewitt, as well as found objects and artifacts, many referring to a time when the Shinnecock Indians roamed freely in a landscape of natural beauty.

Hope Sandrow with a rooster at Gissa Bu.

The title of Ms. Sandrow's series of photographs, "Shinnecock" reflects both the location of Gissa Bu and the name she has given the white rooster that led her to the site and inspired her to explore it, to document it photographically, and ultimately to plead for its preservation.

The artist says: "My adventures with the cockerel led me to follow him across the road to the 13-acre estate Gissa Bu that the Shinnecock Nation believes is the site of sacred Indian burials."

The hills surrounding Gissa Bu, which had remained in their natural state for centuries as part of the Shinnecock Nation, were opened up to development after 1859, when the Shinnecock were forced to relinquish their claim to the land and ownership passed to the town of Southampton and eventually to a group of developers led by Samuel Parrish. In many ways, Southampton's development history is encapsulated in the story of this piece of land, which Samuel Parrish sold to M. Cohu in 1929. Interestingly, Mr. Parrish's Southampton home at that time is today the Southampton Historical Museum, where "Recollecting an American Dream remains on view through March 10, 2007. A panel discussion, "Saving Sacred Places," has been scheduled for Thursday, February 15, at 10:30 a.m. at the museum, 17 Meeting House Lane in Southampton.

Ms. Sandrow's work can currently be viewed in an installation titled "Shinnecock: godt tegn (good sign)" at P.S. 1/MOMA and the traveling group exhibition "Response to Place" at the Bruce Museum in Connecticut. She is represented in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American At in New York City; and Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She has received numerous awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and the Skowhegan Governors Award. She lives and works in Manhattan and Shinnecock Hills.

Dates: January 20 to February 10, 2007

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 20, 2007
4:30 PM: Champagne preview and Artist Talk for Supporting Members of $150 or more
5:30 to 7:00 PM: Open to the public

Museum hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Panel Discussion: Saving Sacred Places: Thursday, February 15 at 10:30 AM

Admission: $4, Free for members and children 17 and under

Contact: Tom Edmonds, Director (631) 283-2494 or tomvedmonds@yahoo.com

About the museum: The Southampton Historical Museums and Research Center includes four historic properties in Southampton, NY. The Rogers Mansion, built in 1843, has temporary exhibits, period rooms and a Research Center with over 10,000 archival materials. On the grounds is Old Southampton Village with twelve historic structures that exhibit commercial and agricultural industries. The Thomas Halsey Homestead, built in 1660, exhibits work and life on a farm during the colonial era. Conscience Point Historic Site and Nature Walk is open year-round, where visitors can see native plants and exotic wildlife. The Pelletreau Shop, built in 1668, exhibits a colonial silversmith's workshop and offers classes in jewelry making.

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