Each summer weekend, New York's elite turn the Upper East Side into a ghost town as they migrate east to the vacation towns a few hours into Long Island that comprise the Hamptons. Art Southampton, the premier fair serving that demographic in those months, kicks off its fifth edition with 70 galleries and a number of high-profile attractions, among them an exhibition co-curated by New York Academy of Art (NYAA) president David Kratz and the actress Brooke Shields. The fair, which is in the grounds of Bridgehampton's Nova's Ark Project, opens today (7 July) and runs until 11 July.
Shields's contribution represents a longstanding relationship the fair has had with the NYAA, and will include more than 30 paintings, prints and sculptures by the college alumni on the animal kingdom (Call of the Wild). And she isn't the only celebrity attraction. The actor Adrien Brody, star of The Pianist, will show another installment of his Hooked series, for which he plastered posters around Manhattan during Frieze New York, while the Shark Tank host Kevin O'Leary will present his own photography offerings.
This year's Art Southampton includes 70 galleries, fewer than last year's edition, which featured more than 90. The director Nick Korniloff—founder of Art Miami, which presents Art Southampton — said this edition could have had as many galleries but "we turned away a lot because they didn’t meet the criteria or quality level we were looking for." Most dealers come from the US, with a handful from Europe and Asia, including Cynthia Corbett gallery in London, Rademakers Gallery in Amsterdam and iPreciation from Singapore.
Korniloff cited the current performance of the stock market, the impending US election, and Brexit as factors affecting the art market, though pointed out that anecdotally he had noticed more people staying in the Hamptons rather than travelling to Europe this year.
"The balance of the work is much more in tune with what is being created today in the contemporary market, by younger, living artists," Korniloff says. “The balance of secondary market and primary is pretty much even whereas in the past it’s been a little more heavily weighted on secondary market material. There’s still great representation by Hamptons artists,” he adds, referring to artists such as Willem de Kooning and Eric Fischl who have lived and worked in the area.