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INTERVIEW: VSOP Projects Owner Jonathan Weiskopf On A Special Montauk Exhibition Highlighting The Works Of Courtenay Pollock, Longtime The Grateful Dead Tie-Dye Artist

Nicole Barylski

Courtenay Pollock's work at The Grateful Dead concert at the Greek Theatre in 1982. (Courtesy Photo)

UPDATE: This event will now be held at Borghese Vineyard (17150 County Road 48, Cutchogue) on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Tie-dye has no doubt seen a resurgence this year. One of the technique's most accomplished gurus, Courtenay Pollock, who has served as the longtime tie-dye artist for The Grateful Dead, will be highlighted for one weekend only at Hero Beach Club's seaside courtyard during a special collaboration between VSOP Projects, Greenport Tie Dye Arts, and Hero Beach Club.

From Friday, September 11 through Sunday, September 13, an outdoor exhibition will showcase an extraordinary selection of Pollock's spectacular large mandalas and tapestries - including several new pieces.

A "profound psychedelic experience" led Pollock to his inaugural tie-dyed mandala tapestry in the late 60's. He developed a tie-dye style and folding technique, which he dubbed "Geometriart," that "creates a style of origami tie dye of the fine art caliber." Upon moving to Marin County, he hit it off with Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir. The legendary band commissioned Pollock to create speaker covers, large scale backdrops and clothing, which the artist has done for the past five decades.

We spoke with Jonathan Weiskopf, VSOP Projects owner, to learn more about the eye-catching exhibition and weekend happenings.

What drew you to the works of Courtenay Pollock, the long time tie-dye artist for The Grateful Dead?

JW: Historically, tie-dye has been considered a low-brow, art & craft tradition. Courtenay's lifelong investigation and mastery of the artform, incorporation of other complex technical processes including origami and hand-stitching, and profound attention to color theory, warrants his work a more critical and sophisticated consideration. In addition, he has been the celebrated, official tie-dye artist for the Grateful Dead since 1969. As a huge Dead fan, that obviously meant a lot to me.

Courtenay Pollock's work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Art and Design, The New York Historical Society, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, and Bonhams New York. The Grateful Dead and their countless "spinoff" bands have used his legendary tie-dyed stage backdrops for more than 50 years.

What will the exhibition at Hero Beach Club in Montauk encompass?

JW: The presentation in Hero Beach Club's seaside courtyard will feature a wide selection of Courtenay's finest tie-dyed mandalas and tapestries, made with natural dyes on specially sourced cotton fabrics. We are bringing nearly 40 incredible, brand new pieces that collectors can exhibit in their homes, as well as a few epic, large-scale historical works, all available for sale.

Courtenay Pollock's work will be on view at Hero Beach Club's seaside courtyard. (Courtesy Photo)

Why did you feel like Montauk was the right locale to showcase Pollock's work?

JW: The East End of Long Island has a rich and storied artistic history. At VSOP Projects, I am always looking to understand and contribute to an understanding and evolution of that history. The late summer surf vibe and evolved attitude about art at Hero Beach Club makes it a perfect location for an outdoor presentation of Courtenay's bold, psychedelic work.

The weekend will include the chance for attendees to create their own tie-dye masterpieces. What else can attendees expect?

JW: Alongside the art exhibition, we will have some of Courtenay's famous tie-dye t-shirts available. I have also invited Treiber Farms (from Peconic) to bring some of their canned and farm goods, certified herbalist Courtney Lee Hall will have her handcrafted vibrational botanicals, and we will have a curated selection of vintage Grateful Dead and 60's-era posters and ephemera. On all three days, make-your-own tie-dye t-shirt workshops will be run by Greenport Tie-Dye Arts.

What else does VSOP Projects have lined up?

JW: At the moment we have two concurrent exhibitions up at the gallery: a solo exhibition of abstract oil paintings by Naomi Clark, and Please and thank you, a group exhibition of works in black and white by artists including Shepard Fairey and Joanne Greenbaum.

On October 3rd and 4th we are bringing Courtenay Pollock's work back to Treiber Farms for the last outdoor show of the year.

We also just announced the 15th Annual 10 x 10 = 100 Art Show & Sale at VSOP Projects which opens on Saturday, December 5.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

JW: I am really grateful to Jon and his team at Hero Beach Club for sharing in our vision for Courtenay Pollock's work. This is a rare opportunity to experience and own a small piece of Grateful Dead and Rock & Roll history, and I hope lots of other folks will come to Montauk over the weekend to learn more about this incredible artist!

The exhibition will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., daily.

Hero Beach Club is located at 626 Montauk Highway in Montauk. For more information, visit www.vsopprojects.com.

UPDATE: This event will now be held at Borghese Vineyard (17150 County Road 48, Cutchogue) on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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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