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INTERVIEW: Art Fair Veteran Rick Friedman On The Hamptons Virtual Art Fair, The VIP July Sneak Preview And More

Nicole Barylski

Hamptons Visual Art Fair Rendering. (Photo Courtesy of Hamptons Virtual Art Fair)

While the traditional art fair format is not an option this summer, a unique digital edition will launch with a VIP preview taking place Thursday, July 23 through Sunday, July 26. The brainchild of art fair veteran Rick Friedman, Hamptons Virtual Art Fair (HVAF), a 3-D virtual art fair platform, will be held over Labor Day weekend - from Wednesday, September 2 through Monday, September 7.

The Southampton-based art collector founded Hamptons Expo Group - a fair production company that presented ArtHamptons, ArtAspen, Houston Fine Art Fair and Palm Springs Fine Art Fair - which he sold in 2015.

We caught up with Friedman to find out about the exiting virtual happening, which is expected to highlight more than 70 galleries and over 300 notable artists.

Tell us about the Hamptons Virtual Art Fair.

RF: As an active participant and creator in the Hamptons art fair scene, I have been distraught to see how the current shutdown has affected the summer arts events. In an effort to capture some of the energy we all miss, I created a virtual and socially-distanced version of an art fair. Hamptons Virtual Art Fair will offer a cutting edge, 3D, virtual reality platform for dealers to present a range of work, from Post-War and Contemporary Art works to European Impressionism and early-20th Century American art. Our unique built-in features like a 'BUY NOW' option and a 24-hour live chat with an art expert are all designed to make our exhibitors and their works easily accessible with a simple click of a button.

What will the July Sneak Peek entail?

RF: The launch of this fair (July 23 at 10:00 a.m. EST to July 26 at 8:00 p.m. EST) will open with about 50 select dealers from around the world, accessible 24 hours a day. The purpose of the VIP launch Preview is to provide an opportunity for dealers to reach a global audience of collectors, local art enthusiasts, and art connoisseurs in July. With around $100 million in fine art available for acquisition, the preview will present a sample of what's to come with the fair's main event opening over Labor Day weekend. After the preview, we'll close for five weeks, as we continue to garner momentum and further attention on a national and worldwide basis. The larger fair, with about 70 dealers, will open Labor Day weekend, September 2-7 giving both galleries and art lovers two separate opportunities to connect.

How many galleries/artists do you expect to participate?

RF: In total, we expect 70+ select galleries, presenting over 300 respected artists ranging from exciting emerging artists, to renowned mid-career, to blue chip masters. From Van Gogh to Monet and Magritte to Renoir and Rockwell to Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers, Donald Sultan and Picasso, you won't want to miss it!

What mediums and genres will Hamptons Virtual Art Fair feature?

RF: We offer all mediums, ranging from paintings to works on paper to sculpture to photography and textile art.

Will artists/gallerists be available to speak about pieces?

RF: Yes, we will have audio tours with the gallery owners and artists, which will be immersive, informative and invigorating. Future programming will be announced in the coming weeks.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

RF: HVAF is great for buyers. A physical fair is open 11am-6pm and sometimes conflicting with other activities on sunny days. HVAF is open 24 hours a day. So go to the beach, have drinks and dinner, and then explore the art fair in the late evening.

The range of selection is remarkable. Art works start at about $4k and hit the sweet spot of $10k-$50k, while breathtaking museum-quality pieces available may go for hundreds of thousands or into the millions.

We look forward to seeing a range of booth presentations, from those featuring work by female artists from around the world, to galleries showing work by Black artists, and others featuring Latin American art, as well as the Taos school/ Modernism art from an upcoming important museum tour.

Our honorees will have solo booths, Audrey Flack, Richard Mayhew, Elliott Erwitt, all of whom have ties to the Hamptons region. Other solo booths include Venice Beach legend, Chuck Arnoldi, and Montana-based, Ben Miller, who will introduce amazing Fly- Cast paintings.

I personally will be presenting works from my private collection with Cindy Lou Wakefield, which are on a national museum tour, The Heroines of Abstract Expressionism, right now. It is the widest museum survey of acclaimed women artists from the 1950's New York School. For the fair, East Hampton's Audrey Flack, will narrate the booth, as she is the sole living artist in the display. We are so lucky to have her join us!

For more information about the Hamptons Virtual Art Fair, visit www.hamptonsvirtualartfair.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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