As New Yorkers took shelter amid the March Covid-19 lock-down, many collectors fled to the Hamptons, the eastern tip of Long Island better known as a playground for the wealthy rather than a place to buy art.
Well, times have changed. Beginning in June 2020, the openings of East End outposts from established New York based galleries started attracting attention in the press. Skarstedt, Van de Weghe, Michael Werner, Pace and Sotheby’s Private Sales are among some of the newest spaces in the beachside community. These businesses join the long-established East Hampton galleries Ross + Kramer, Rental Gallery, Harper’s Books, Eric Firestone and Halsey-McKay.
Within two blocks visitors can now hit numerous galleries and see some very good art from established names. The offering is a mix of curated exhibitions – such as Yoshitomo Nara’s After all I’m cosmic dust at Pace – and Sigmar Polke, Francis Picabia and Friends at Michael Werner, while Skarsdedt feature various works by assorted blue artists from their roster including Eric Fischl (a Hamptons resident), Sue Williams, George Condo and David Salle. The Sotheby’s space offers a wide presentation of property across sale categories: post-War and contemporary art, design, jewelry and watches. In an effort to create comradery and patronage amongst neighbors, many of the East Hampton spaces stay open late on Thursday evenings to host pandemic-style receptions with masks and hand sanitizer at the ready.
Changes are certainly underway in the artworld and the length of the gallery leases could be an indication of how long these dealers expect to make use of their new East End spaces. Although Pace has taken the lease until October 2020, others like Van de Weghe have signed for three years while Hauser & Wirth have a one year lease in Southampton, only a few miles down the highly trafficked highway 27. Also in Southampton is Emmanuel Di Donna’s new space Sélavy, showcasing fine art and design.
Following are a selection of my photos from my July gallery visits in East Hampton: