There’s more to summer in the Hamptons than gorgeous beaches, cool restaurants, surfing and shopping. If you’d like a hit of culture along with the brisk sea air, we’ve got ideas to share. Here’s where to find the best contemporary art in galleries on the East End this summer, along with exhibits on the schedule in East Hampton, Southampton and more.
even post-COVID, the Hamptons continues to be a premier summer spot for contemporary art
Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Lee Krasner, Dan Flavin and Roy Lichtenstein are among the contemporary artists known for living and working on the East End of Long Island. But for most of the contemporary art world, it was a bit of an afterthought for commercial activities. Until the summer of 2020.[white_box]
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Thanks to COVID-19, the usual summer mega-events in the contemporary art world were cancelled. No Art Basel. No Venice Biennale. Couple that with the fact that many ultra-high net worth individuals decamped for the Hamptons in early March 2020 when the coronavirus lockdown began in Manhattan. They stayed for the summer, with no plans to return to the city until fall 2020 – at the earliest.
It was the perfect recipe for a new art market by the sea.
The pioneering art galleries on Newtown Lane in East Hampton had already reported a steady increase in pedestrians. But in summer 2020, there was a massive increase in the number of galleries with outposts in the Hamptons.
At the time, Artnet reported that “several blue-chip galleries, including Pace, dealer Max Levai, Van de Weghe Fine Art, Skarstedt Gallery, and auction house Sotheby’s” would all open in East Hampton that summer. Three of them moved in all in a row in a space on Newtown Lane.
10 Best Places for Contemporary Art in the Hamptons This Summer
In addition to the stunning Parrish Art Museum, the LongHouse Reserve Sculpture Garden, the Pollock-Krasner House and the Watermill Center, here are the stops to make if you decide to do a contemporary art crawl in the Hamptons this summer.
1. Pace Gallery, 68 Park Place, East Hampton.
Pace Gallery’s East End location is a 1,700-square-foot gallery in the heart of East Hampton Village. Summer 2022 kicks off with a solo exhibit, “The Ferryman,” featuring paintings and works on paper by William Monk.[white_box]
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2. Skarstedt Gallery, 66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton.
Upper East Side gallery Skarstedt opened an outpost on Newtown Lane in East Hampton in 2020. No word yet on what the summer exhibition will be. But the gallery is open every weekend all summer long.
3. Sotheby’s, 66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton.
Sotheby’s also has a gallery and event spacein East Hampton. The storied auction house offers fine art, 20th-century design objects, and luxury goods such as watches for immediate purchase.
Another of the new arrivals in summer 2020, at the time Sotheby’s told the New York Times that “many of our established clients as well as many potential new clients have been and will continue to be out East.”
This summer from May 24 to June 12, the gallery will present “The Hamptons,” a group exhibition celebrating “artists who have found creative freedom in the tranquil landscape of the Hamptons.” Featured artists include Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, Fairfield Porter and Stanley Whitney.
4. Tripoli Gallery
Located in Wainscott, Tripoli Gallery’s summer 2022 programming includes the solo show “Sky Years” by Sally Egbert, which will run from July 2 – August 1.
Currently, the gallery is hosting a solo presentation of new paintings by Miles Partington titled “Tam Lin.” The show will be on view from May 28 – June 29. Concurrently, you can catch “Found Life,” the gallery’s second solo exhibition with Brooklyn-based artist Benjamin Keating, on view from May 28 – June 27. The mixed-media works combine trees with metals in whimsical and stunning juxtapositions.
5. Harper’s Books, 87 Newtown Lane, East Hampton.
Harper’s Books is an art gallery and rare-book store founded in 1997. Harper Levine, Chris Mansour and their team combine a curated selection of modern art, rare books and ephemera into a marvelous experience.
Summer 2022 kicks off with a group show to mark 25 years in East Hampton, running from May 28 – June 22.
While you’re there, you may find yourself moved to pick up a vintage volume or two – what could be more on-point than a 1954 first edition of Jane Bowles’ play “In the Summer House” ($150)?
6. Eric Firestone Gallery, 4 Newtown Lane, East Hampton.
Architectural Digest describes the mission of the Eric Firestone Gallery as “helping rewrite art history. By spotlighting historical artists who have been overlooked, often alongside those who haven’t, Firestone offers a wealth of discoveries spanning the postwar era.”
Its one of our absolute favorite galleries (full disclosure: we’ve acquired several works from the East Hampton gallery). In no small part because there are always works on display from artists of color, especially Black artists. For example, Firestone represents the late Joe Overstreet, a ground-breaking African-American artist and activist. In the 1960’s, he took abstract painting into the sculptural dimension; later he and his partner created a home in New York City for artists who had been ignored by the mainstream.
The associates in East Hampton are unfailingly friendly and enthusiastic about the work on display, which is vital for novice collectors and window-shoppers in particular. The gallery also has a second location in East Hampton for storing work that is available for a “backstage” tour if you have time (you should definitely make time for this).
The current exhibit is a group show. “Hanging/Leaning: Women Artists on Long Island, 1960s-80s” showcases work by 23 artists, including Joan Semmel, Miriam Schapiro, Eva Hesse, Michelle Stuart, and Nanette Carter. It runs through June 26.
7. Halsey McKay Gallery, 79a Newtown Lane, East Hampton.
Gallery owner Ryan Wallace, a painter, sculptor and surfer, launched Halsey McKay in 2011 after falling in love with East Hampton when his wife was working there as a chef one summer.
Halsey McKay represents emerging and mid-career artists. This summer the gallery will be showing work from Chris Duncan June 4 – July 4. From July 9 – August 1, catch the solo show for L’Merchie Frazier.
From August 6 – 30, the gallery will mount a group show curated by David Kennedy Cutler called “Greener Grass.” Artists in the show include Hilary Pecis, Henry Glavin, and Claire Sherman.
8. The Drawing Room, 55 Main Street, East Hampton.
Victoria Munroe and Emily Goldstein opened their contemporary art gallery The Drawing Room in East Hampton in 2004. They’ve demonstrated a deep commitment to Long Island artists, and to presenting a diverse approach to making art. The Drawing Room hosts “exhibitions of contemporary and 20th-century painting, drawing, photography and sculpture.”
The current exhibition is Mary Ellen Bartley, “New Photographs.” It runs from May 20 – June 20, 2022.
9. “Make” by Hauser & Wirth, Southampton.
As part of its celebration of its 30th anniversary this year, Hauser & Wirth is opening the first U.S. outpost of “Make,” an initiative the gallery launched in the U.K. four years ago to present cutting-edge handcrafted design. The new space is in Southampton, near the gallery’s existing space.
Artnet reports that the space’s inaugural show is “Of Making and Material,” organized by Make director Jacqueline Moore. It features the work of artists such as Helen Carnac, Alexander deVol, David Gates Harry Morgan, Rosa Nguyen, and Mark Reddy. Prices range from $2,000 to $20,000. In addition, the London-based ceramicist Florian Gadsby will have a two-week on-site residency in August.
10. Mark Borghi, 34 Main Street, Sag Harbor.
Mark Borghi is a fine art gallery specializing in post-war and contemporary art, with locations in New York, Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor. There’s a wide variety of work on display this summer.
Maureen Dougherty, “What are you looking at?” from May 20 – June 2 examines the artist’s goal of “combining abstraction and figuration concerning the fem in contemporary culture in an unconventional manner.”
From June 3-16, catch “Clintel Steed: Will You Be My Muse For Summer 2022?” Jennifer Pochinski, Kelly Chuning and Ilknur Demirkoparan are the artists behind “3 Women Walk into a Gallery,” from August 12 – 25.
top galleries for contemporary art in the Hamptons this summer 2022
That’s our take on the top contemporary art galleries in the Hamptons and the big exhibits scheduled for summer 2022 in East Hampton, Southampton and more. Which ones are you adding to your diary, dear reader?
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Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. A Detroit native, she has 3 Harvard degrees and has written 3 mystery novels published by Simon & Schuster. After serving as a senior corporate executive, CEO of CNBC and partner at McKinsey, she now serves on the boards of several tech companies. She loves fashion, Paris, New York, books, contemporary art, running, skiing, coffee, Corgis and violets.