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Designers, Artists, and Exhibitions

Originally Posted: June 06, 2007

Nicole B. Brewer

Friday the art party began early with Esperanza Leon of Art Solar presenting a show outside of her very popular East Hampton gallery. The change offered Southamptonites a chance to see the works of several of the many Latin American contemporary artists she has introduced to the East End in recent years. UBS Financial Services' Main Street office was a lovely choice for this meeting of Art and Commerce! Heaven and Earth was the title of the show that featured the impressive photography of Miguel Salom and Santiago which focused on natural objects, blazing orange skies, and breathtaking landscapes.

Artist Santiago and Esperanza Leon at Heaven and Earth at UBS in Southampton.
Photo by John Wegorzewski

Later that evening, it was down the street to Bravura Art and Objects and a very winning exhibition of three of our well known local photographers. The show, simply titled Three Photographers, showcased the work of Anthony Lombardo, Chris Foster, and Alex Vignoli.

On hand at the popular gallery were Ed German the jazz meister on WLIU, Bob and Terry Biederman, Brad Shaheen, Peter Marcelle, Helene Alves, Juliana Costa, Tom Liebow, Janice Sharp, Martin White, Ivan Kustura, Mary Ann Bennett, Gene Seraphine, Janice Sklarek, Tena Davies and Ellen T. White. It was great to also meet several members of the Rafferty Clan, Yvonne and Kay, here in the Hamptons to visit sister Gerri whose naturalistic jeweled creations are best sellers at the gallery and are a favorite adornment of our chic local style setters.

The Southampton Fresh Air home threw open their doors for their annual summer kickoff and Decorators-Designers-Dealers sale. Nearly everything in sight had a price tag for those looking for a few great deals on furniture and decor, and long tables showed off the items up for silent and live auction. This was an especially generous crowd and donations hit a record. The money raised during the annual event covers 30% of the summer camp budget. All 150 campers are ready for the first day and now that day will be even more wonderful.

Frequent shopper and camp friend Aida Turturro of HBO's "The Soprano's" was spotted running from room to room like a kid in a candy store. Debbie Bancroft was eyeing the handbags from designers Tory Burch, Calvin Klein, and Salvatore Ferragamo. There with plenty of clothes and jewelry to compliment them. The gift basket from Frederic Fekkai and June Jacobs was amazing! Golf packages from some of the Hamptons hottest courses - Sebonac, Maidstone, and Winged Foot - drew raves and heated bidding. Nicole Miller donated a summer apprenticeship. Bestselling author James Patterson auctioned off a "name the character" for an upcoming novel. Mets Tickets and gift certificates to Bikehampton and Southampton Yacht Club were perfectly timed for the upcoming Fathers' Day.

The Three Photographers - Anthony Lombardo, Chris Foster, and Alex Vignoli at
Bravura Art and Objects. Photo by john Wegorzewski

Pam and Bill Michaelcheck, Heather and Tom Leeds, Amy Hoadley, Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, Bill Bancroft, Catherine and Bryan Carey, Leila Heller, Marjorie Gubleman, Hilary and John Block, Sarah and Izak Senbahar, Barbara Sloan, Nancy Hardy, Manny Senz, Mildred Brinn, Cathy di Montezemolo, and scores more were all checking out the deals while sipping cocktails and nibbling tasty hors d'oeuvres.

Heading out, guests picked up a cute Fresh Air Home tote bag filled with copies of Happy Feet, Casino Royal, and Babel on DVD. The long narrow driveway made for an interesting balancing act by the valets, but the pleasant weather helped ease the wait as guests discussed their bargains.

Next stop was in North Haven for Planned Parenthood Hudson-Peconic's 20th annual Benefit and Auction. Hostess Lisa Perry sported a mod red mini dress emblazoned with a Lichtenstein-esque "POP," which served as a great theme for the evening as several of Roy Lichtenstein's prints hung around the tent for backdrop as well as being featured in the live auction. The event, called POP! for Planned Parenthood, raised more than $600,000 to help PPHP sustain and expand local medical, counseling, and education services on the East End of Long Island. Last year, PPHP's six centers in Suffolk County served 20,328 clients.

Dominique Levy, partner in L&M Arts, a modern and contemporary art gallery in Manhattan, and a member of the benefit committee served as auctioneer for the evening. The highest-grossing item at the live auction was Roy Lichtenstein's The Oval Office at $42,000 while a signed poster of Roy Lichtenstein's Knock, Knock commanded $22,000, and Robert Indiana's Decade Autoportrait 1961 sold for $16,000. Guests also had the pleasure of hearing from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Barbara Sloan, Nancy Hardy, and Manny Senz at the Southampton Fresh Air Home
2007 Camper Season Kick Off party. Photo by Katrina Lovett

Honorary Chairpersons for the event included Alec Baldwin, Loraine Boyle, Christie Brinkley, Leslie and Chuck Close, Ina and Jeffrey Garten, April Gornik and Eric Fischl, Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox, Bryan Hunt, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Isaac Mizrahi, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Susan Ringo and Barry Sonnenfeld, Toni Ross, David Salle, and Kathleen Turner. Dorothy Lichtenstein and Debbie Bancroft also lent their support to the event. With dress hems rising and bold colors making a comeback this season, several prints earned lively counter-bids as guests sought to dress up their homes to match. For those not lucky enough to win out on an auction, posters were also available for sale as parting gifts.

Over at the Rogers Mansion, The Southampton Historical Society, with the help of curator Marc Fasanella, swept away the cobwebs, took down walls and blew a big gust of fresh air and fresh ideas into one of our most gracious landmarks with their new exhibition The Squiretown Circle and finally opened a new chapter in the annals of the East End. Over the decades the concentration of media and public attention has been focused on Southampton - thank you William Merritt Chase - and East Hampton - thank you Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollack et al - but with this new show we see that Hamptons Bays was a veritable hotbed of radical thinking and brilliant painting by artists who though internationally recognized have been paid scant attention by our community.

Fasanella, with the help of ACA Galleries in New York and local collectors Nina and Gary Madison (better known as the Director of Development of the Parrish Art Museum and the owner of our local music store, Long Island Sound respectively) curated the show of works by four prominent painters who were known around the area by the Hampton Bays address they congregated for work - and heated political discussions and partying.

In the sun strewn rooms hang extraordinary works by the members of The Squiretown Circle, Moses Soyer, David Burliuk, Robert Gwathmey and Nicolai Cikovsky (courtesy of the Madison's private collection) that attest to the great artistic foment in the Hamptons Bays community and made the point that life and art are not the sole province of those East of the canal.

Barry Sonnenfeld and Susan Ringo at Planned Parenthood Hudson-Peconic's
20th annual Benefit and Auction. Photo by Katrina Lovett

Further accenting this show of museum class artists is a collection of several other accomplished Hampton Bays artists, Hope Sandrow, Ellen Giaquinto and Barbara Moeller. A highlight of the evening was meeting Giaquinto and her fellow founders of the Hamptons Artists Gallery cooperative, Constance R. Morris and Ellen De'Pazzi who have been painting and showing together since 1972. De'Pazzi recently authored a memoir of her longtime relationship with David Burliuk who came to the Hamptons because "life was cheap and wonderful". Joanne Pateman, Board member of the society provided us an added treat a private tour of the elegant mansion.

Among those on hand for this splendid show were media guru Jeannette Hektoen and artist Neill Slaughter, Southampton Historical Society President Harry Hackett and Executive Director Tom Edmonds, historian Bob Jones, Barbara and Henry Moeller. Matthew Nuccio and Emma Ballou who just joined the staff of the society were also at the event.

Our advice: Get yourself over to the Rogers Mansion on Meeting House Lane for one of the most insightful and pleasurable history lessons in town!

Just when we thought the Parrish Art Museum couldn't top themselves after the sweeping survey of the awe inspiring work of Southampton resident, indeed citizen of the world, Roy Lichtenstein, they sprung on us the brilliant homage to the man who streamlined the world and left his creative imprint on literally thousands of everyday items, Raymond Lowey, a show that left viewers with gaping jaws at the prodigious output of the 20th Century's most genius of industrial designers.

Hope Sandrow, Tom Edmonds, and Joanne Pateman at Squiretown Circle, Rogers
Mansion. Photo by John Wegorzewski

Now they have done it again with their new show Studio as Muse, a tri-part exhibition that not only explores the concept of studio space and the role it plays in the lives of artists but actually tells quite a bit of the origins and future development of The Parrish itself, with the first two sections leading appropriately to the installation of the Herzog and de Meuron model of the cherished Museum's new home.

Upon entering, the first gallery is devoted to a Parrish favorite, Fairfield Porter: Inside and Outside the Artist's Studio and drawn primarily from the Museum's extensive collection of the famed Southampton artist's work. Porter worked in a stable behind his family's South Main Street home for some 30 years and his works often depicted the views from his studio.

In the second gallery, we were bowled over by Joe Fig's, The Studio in Miniature, painstakingly detailed Lilliputian replications of the East End's most prominent artists in their studios: Chuck Close in his old barn, April Gornik and husband Eric Fischl's adjacent work spaces and Jackson Pollack poring over one of his drip paintings in one dollhouse vignette and in another as if we were looking up through his floor! In the major gallery sprawled Herzog and de Meuron's model for the museum's new home, a paean to the studio as natural environment to work, to see and to live.

Campion and Tatiana Platt at Studio as Muse at The Parrish Art Museum. Photo by
John Wegorzewski

No surprise that this show drew one of the largest crowds at the Parrish in recent memory and what a stellar gathering of artists, collectors and aficionados! Trudy Kramer, the departing executive director of 26 years was, as always, on hand to meet and greet and was clearly thrilled to be exiting on such a high note.

Among those who marveled at the exhibition and congratulated Trudy and in absentia curator Alicia Strongwell were artists Jane Freilicher, April Gornik and Eric Fischl, Casey Chalem Anderson, Kimberly McSparran, Hubert Kretschmar and Parrish Chairman Alvin Chereskin with wife Susan, Campion and Tatiana Platt, Dr. Martin and Blossom Gluck, dashing politico Italo Zanzi with towering Texas beauty Nicole Sweat, collectors Sam and Lyn Schwab, Klaus Kertess, philanthropist Anese Young, Harold and Marilyn Siegel, Pamela Willoughby, Celine and Benjamin Neimark, Rhonda Prensky and Jason Neimark and hundreds more. Following the show, cocktails and wonderful Peconic Bay Vineyard wines were served under on a tent on the West lawn but guests kept trickling back to catch one more peek inside Joe Fig's habitats of the genius at work in our midst.

As no organization mines the wealth of an important show such as this, there are plenty of ancillary activities built around the show on the Museum's busy calendar check out the action at www.parrishart.org and if you're not a member you should immediately join as the perks including free special events are the best at any Long Island institution.

Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com HamptonsOnline NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer

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