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Art Market

Live the high life at the Hamptons Fine Art Fair

8 July 2024

From the July/August 2024 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.

Hamptons Fine Art Fair

‘Art collecting is in our DNA as Hamptonites,’ Rick Friedman says – referring, of course, to the history of artists living and working in the region. Each year, a 70,000-square-foot complex is constructed for Hamptons Fine Art Fair (HFAF) between a Mercedes-Benz dealership and Southampton Golf Club: perfectly placed to host blue-chip galleries and their clientele.

This location is key to the success of HFAF, believes Friedman, its founder and director, who previously ran a nationwide roster of fairs including ArtAspen and the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. ‘There’s a tremendous amount of wealth an hour’s drive in every direction. So instead of going to different cities around the country and trying to get people to come, this [proximity] is how we bring them together.’ (Friedman describes the fair’s parking lot as ‘beautiful’, adding: ‘You can park right outside the door.’)

The fact that Friedman is himself a collector – focusing on Abstract Expressionism, with a collection that includes work by local painters Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning – gives him a thorough understanding of their wants and needs. ‘I like to say, “I eat my own cooking.” I buy from my own fair. If I see something I like, I buy it.’ He adds: ‘[Collectors] are demanding and unforgiving, but basically they want what they want – and they get it.’

Untitled (1963), Lynne Mapp Drexler. Casterline|Goodman Gallery

During the pandemic there was a steep uptick in demand for property in the area, as wealthy New Yorkers left the city. Friedman cites the desire of these homeowners to furnish new houses as one factor that continues to drive strong sales. ‘These big estates have rooms with high walls that are able to handle major paintings,’ he says. ‘The works we sell here tend to have a certain look and feel. They’re large, they’re expensive, they’re eye-catching, they’re brightly coloured, they’re fun.’

This speaks to the character of the peninsula: ‘We’re a beach resort. Nobody wants to buy a $30 million home here and be challenged by dark, grim pieces.’

This year, HFAF is hosting 150 galleries from some 20 countries. For Friedman, the highlights include Robert Motherwell and Joan Mitchell at Omer Tiroche Gallery from London, and Alex Katz and Ed Ruscha at Casterline|Goodman Gallery from Aspen, Colorado, which is also showing work by Lynne Mapp Drexler. Friedman reserves special enthusiasm for ‘Vera Paints Happiness’, a show mounted by the estate of fashion designer Vera Neumann (‘The Martha Stewart of the 1970s’) of the paintings and drawings on which she based designs for scarves.

On opening night, guests will be entertained by the Parsons Dance company in the aisles and VIP lounge. ‘Some of the best dancers in America are going to come and perform while we’re treating our guests to complimentary caviar and vodka. Does it get better than that?’

The Hamptons Fine Art Fair runs from 11–14 July.

Gallery highlights

Markus Lüpertz – Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Until 7 September
Michael Werner, Los Angeles

For the first show in its Beverley Hills outpost, Michael Werner is pairing neo-expressionist paintings by Markus Lüpertz (b. 1941, Fig. 2) with paintings and drawings by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824–98). Lüpertz has long drawn inspiration from the French muralist’s work; in this, the artist joins an illustrious lineage of similarly inspired modernists, including Cézanne, Van Gogh and Matisse.

Rotes Boot (Red Boat) (2013), Markus Lüpertz. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, Beverly Hills; © the artist

Sarah Cunningham: Flight Paths
Until 24 August
Lisson Gallery, Los Angeles

For her debut solo exhibition with Lisson Gallery in LA, Sarah Cunningham (b. 1993) has moved beyond her usual abstracted landscapes, turning her eyes skywards instead. This new body of work, Flight Paths, features gestural marks suggestive of the vapour trails left behind airplanes, painted in a palette drawn from the changing light of dawn through to that of dusk and the night: a reflection of the artist’s nocturnal painting habits.

Rose Hilton
27 July–2 September
Messums West, Salisbury

In 1989, the dealer David Messum staged Rose Hilton’s first major show at his London gallery. This marked the painter’s escape from the shadow of her late husband and fellow artist Roger Hilton, who had discouraged her from working, and the start of a successful career. Five years after her death at the age of 87, Messums is once more exhibiting Rose Hilton’s boldly coloured, Nabi-like works, offering a selection painted between 1974 and 2015.

Blue Still Life (2009), Rose Hilton. Photo: Steve Russell; courtesy Messums Org.

Eric Fischl: Bathers
Until 17 August
Victoria Miro, Venice

‘Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality. Your room is your canvas.’ So reads the blurb for Google’s Tilt Brush app, which Eric Fischl (b. 1948) has been exploring for VR/AR firm Vortic’s second Artist Project. Fischl has created five virtual paintings, complete with convincingly realistic ‘brushstrokes’, which have been translated into large-scale sculptures of painted bronze: a successful marriage of technologies old and new.

Fairs in Focus

29 August–1 September
Charlottenborg, Copenhagen

CHART returns to Charlottenborg – the mansion that also houses the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – for the 12th edition of the contemporary art fair focused on galleries from the Nordic countries. The CHART Print & Book Fair, which offers editions and artist books is a new element, and CHART Architecture, a competition which requires five finalists to install designs in the courtyard, is in its tenth year.

Arrangement (2023), Tony Matelli. Courtesy the artist and Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm, Paris

Knokke Art Fair
10–18 August
Grand Casino Knokke

Ceci n’est pas un salon d’art’ is the tagline the organisers of Knokke Art Fair have chosen to describe their annual event. This play on a line by René Magritte refers to the 72m-long, 360-degree mural that Belgium’s leading Surrealist created in 1953 for the art deco casino that today houses the fair. This edition of the independent event features modern and contemporary art and design from some 40 European galleries.

From the July/August 2024 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.