New fair Art Southampton will return for its sophomore run this week, kicking off on July 25th and running until the 29th. This year’s fair promises to be even more grandiose than their inaugural splash, with a bevy of high end sponsors, a sprawling outdoor sculpture garden by LaGuardia Design, and an even more spacious pavilion poised for viewing art in an uncramped and relaxed manor. Sticking with their signature level of modern masterworks, this year’s guests will enjoy the large scale sculptural works of Alexandre Arrechea and Albert Paley. Both artists’ works have graced the grassy median of Park Avenue this year, and are being shown in a dialogue together, juxtaposed against the bucolic 18-acre estate of the Southampton Elks Lodge. Fair director Nick Korniloff is confident that attendees will find Art Southampton to be one of the Hamptons major luxury and lifestyle events of the summer.
After a successful debut, the fair has nearly doubled its size, from last year’s 48 exhibiting galleries to 90, including a strong group of exhibitors from both the United States and Europe. Korniloff explained of the generous expansion, “Many galleries reported strong sales and met a great group of seasoned and new international collectors at Art Southampton. Additional international art dealers were intrigued to come to the US market during the summer months to follow up with their clients who vacation or have homes in the Hamptons. We resigned more than 60 percent of last year’s dealers and brought in a group that is overall higher in quality and depth than last year’s participants.”
In addition to an uptick in the quality of the art, the fair has experienced some redesign, ensuring a smooth transition of foot traffic from booth to booth, with 90 percent of dealers having coveted corner booth stands. The fair has promised an air of luxury by partnering with brands like GRAFF Diamonds, who will show off their latest collection, as well as Maserati, Perrier Jouët Champagne and international real estate brokers Brown Harris Stevens, all of which will be providing goodies to the attendees of the VIP Preview. Further partners include D’uss’e (Jay Z’s Cognac), Bootlegger Vodka, Nespresso, VOSS Artesian Water, Crush Wine & Spirits, Toffee to Go and the Southampton Social Club to provide guests with an unrivaled evening of hors d’ oeuvres featuring more than 25,000 pieces from their select menu. The opening night will also host a special performance by Kevin Berlin called “Alien Invasion,” incorporating ten performers that will interact with the crowd. The VIP opening will also double as a fundraiser for the Chamberlain/Fairweather fund run by the Ross School of the Arts, offering works by students that will directly support their efforts.
Continuing in the charitable spirit, Korniloff told us, “Our fair and dealers have donated the physical infrastructure of the fair to the Southampton Hospital for use for their 55th Annual Summer Party the weekend after Art Southampton. This donation will allow the hospital to raise more money and will positively affect all of the East End communities from Southampton to Montauk.” In addition Art Southampton is making a generous donation to collector and philanthropist Henry Buhl’s ACE Foundation, which provides services to rehabilitate the homeless.
On the curatorial side, a special exhibition of works by Andy Warhol will tie the region to the fair. Warhol was a fixture in the Hamptons, and the complimentary exhibition will strengthen the ties he had there. On Friday, July 26th at noon in the VIP Lounge the fair will be hosting a panel discussion on Warhol’s work with several Warhol experts including Bab Colacello, Lana Jokel, Vincent Fremont and Christina Strassfield. Figurative artist Eric Fischl has also been invited by the New York Academy of Art to flex his curatorial muscle, creating an exhibition of works by the academy’s alumni. The aforementioned Arrechea and Paley large scale sculptural exhibition will bring a taste of Park Avenue to the Hamptons, but turn the familiar New Yorker’s perceptions of the work on its ear, by showcasing the works in a rural environment rather than the busy streets of Manhattan. Arrechea’s works already excited the Hamptons community last Saturday when they were presented in a kick-off party thrown by Keszer Annex and Arrechea’s gallery, Magnan Metz. Even more large scale sculpture will be presented by Munich’s Galerie Terminus, with works by Dietrich Klinge, also appearing in the sculpture garden designed by Chris LaGuardia.
What Korniloff is most excited about for the second year of the fair is the improved environment and presentation of this year’s edition. “The most exciting area for me this year is the entrance and the transformation of the exterior of our 18-acre event site. Chris LaGuardia is a genius and his ability to transform an outdoor space by embracing the existing elements and understanding the East End is amazing. He and his team are truly talented and will provide a sculpture garden and main entrance to the fair that will seamlessly transfer guests from their homes, beaches, boats and tennis courts that is fitting with the beauty of the Hamptons.”