A Summer Guide to Art in the Hamptons

Going to the Hamptons for a weekend of luxuriating in the sun and sand shouldn’t entail forsaking all things of cultural value. ARTINFO, therefore, has compiled a list of best bets for those seeking art on those days when pounding rain drives the tanned hordes inside. Here are eight sure things and one mysterious suggestion to get you through the summer.

Guild Hall
Swing by to see a Mercedes Matter retrospective from June 19–July 25 and enjoy some great work by a rarity: a female Abstract Expressionist. The show will include a bevy of artworks along with photographs, letters, and other ephemera of this founder of the New York Studio School. On at the same time is a Winslow Homer show with a tantalizing title: “The Pleasure of Summer.” Finally, return for another visit, before packing up the old cottage for the season, to catch a Barbara Kruger show, up from August 14–October 11, for which the artist will design site-specific installations, as well as show her paintings, prints, and videos. Send one of her postcards back home to the city, which reads — “I’m Thinking of You.” Or send it to Alec Baldwin, whom by the end of the summer you will no doubt have seen browsing BookHampton as well as in Guild Hall’s production of Equus, on through July 3.
158 Main Street, East Hampton, NY (631) 324-0806, www.guildhall.org

Pollock Krasner House & Study Center
Jackson Pollock
and Lee Krasners home and neighboring studio — which the couple purchased with a loan from Peggy Guggenheim — will host two intriguing shows this summer. The first, “In the Minds of Me: Ad Reinhardts Love Notes to Olga Sheirr (May 1–July 24), will display letters — with stunningly ornate penmanship — from the painter to the woman with whom he had an intermittent 13-year-long affair. The second, meanwhile, will feature photographs by Tony Vacarro, taken in August of 1953, of Pollock and Krasner at the very home in which the images will be on display July 29–October 30. The studio is a sight to behold, with paint splatters coating the floor and Pollock’s jazz collection and books left undisturbed since Krasner’s death in 1984. On Saturdays throughout the summer, there will be family workshops devoted to Pollock drip painting — sans cigarette butts.
830 Springs-Fireplace Road, East Hampton, NY 11937-1512 (631) 324-4929, sb.cc.stonybrook.edu/pkhouse

LongHouse Reserve
This arboretum, gallery, and massive complex of sculpture gardens (comprising 16 acres of East Hampton’s North Woods) is a lovely place to enjoy programs like sound meditation and twilight tours in the midst of this summer’s displays of 2,500 years of African ceramics and mesmerizing kinetic works by George Rickey. On July 17, Laurie Anderson will perform at LongHouse’s Summer Gala (unfortunately named “Excentrica”), an event that is hosted by such art-world, musical, and literary luminaries as Dale Chiuly, Lisa de Kooning, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, Lou Reed, Robert Wilson, and Edward Albee. Anderson will probably not perform her 20-minute experimental piece, Music for Dogs. Perhaps music for trees?
133 Hands Creek Road, East Hampton, NY 11937 (631) 329-3568, longhouse.org

The Dan Flavin Art Institute of the Dia Art Foundation
The April 22–October 17 exhibition at this Dia outpost will include drawings by the inimitable Dan Flavin of the shores of the Hudson River and Long Island, made by the artist in the 1960s and 1970s. The institute, housed in a former fire station built in 1908 that then served as a Baptist Church from the 1920s until the 1970s, is also the permanent home of nine of Flavin’s fluorescent-light fixtures — well worth a visit, even if drawings of coastlines aren’t your thing.
Corwith Avenue off Main Street, Bridgehampton, NY (631) 537-1476, diacenter.org/sites/main/danflavinartinstitute

Parrish Art Museum
Rackstraw Downes is an oft-overlooked painter that ARTINFO has been pretty intrigued by of late. The Parrish show, titled “Rackstraw Downes: Onsite Paintings, 1972-2008,” features the artist’s Dutch-panoramic-landscape-inspired paintings of spaces that are vast and urban — a nice reminder of how pleasant it can be to be biking through woods, jogging in cornfields, or sitting on the beach. When that show closes on August 8, you can gear up for the August 15–October 3 “Underground Pop” exhibition, which contains an odd-looking assortment of contemporary artists who engage with Pop traditions like appropriation and brightly-rendered celebrities while going “out of their way to leave room for loose ends and rough edges, for places and spaces where desire is not instantly gratified but satisfied more slowly,” according to curator David Pagel.
25 Jobs Lane, Southampton, NY 11968 (631) 283-2118, parrishart.org

Entering its third year this July 9–11, this post-war and contemporary art fair hosts many of the local galleries that didn’t quite make it onto this list. Go check them out!
Sayre Park Bridgehaampton, NY, arthamptons.com

Surface Library Gallery
Down the street from the Pollack-Krasner house, this gallery, founded in 2006 by abstract painter James Kennedy and potter Bob Bachler, shows a lot of strange contemporary ceramics and other small, tactile objects — certainly a break from the average Hamptons fare of blurry beaches in oil paint and massive photographs of horses. Although sometimes more amusing than amazing, this summer the gallery is exhibiting “Body” (featuring small, ceramic renderings of the human body) until July 5th, after which it will display “Contrasts & Contradictions” (July 23–August 1), a show composed of demure geometric paintings, sculptures, and collages by Gabrielle Roos. Surface is not perfect, but it’s certainly worth a stop to catch one’s breath on the way to or from the aura-filled grandeur of Pollock’s paint-saturated studio.
845 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton, NY 11937 (631) 291-9061, surfacelibrary.com

Pritam and Eames
This furniture gallery boasts many things that had not formerly occurred to ARTINFO as something that anyone would boast about. For instance, P&E claims to be “the country’s oldest established gallery associated with the American studio furniture movement.” Oh, yes? But it is hard not to be charmed by their sleek Judy Kensley McKie marble Elephant Bench, or by the titles of the shows slated for this summer: “The Looking Glass” (a show of mirrors, July 2–August 3) and “Seating” (a show, not so shockingly, of chairs, August 6–September 7).
29 Race Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937 (631) 324-7111, pritameames.com

Hint:Keep an eye on men's boutique Edition #2 on Job’s Lane in Southampton and Sole East Resorts newly opened Edition #3 in Montauk. The savvy guys at Gin Lane Media may have a few enjoyable artist-collaborations and events up their communal sleeve.