Southampton Arts Center

Explore the multidisciplinary Southampton Arts Center. This art hub presents everything from music to film screenings. Take a deep dive into the exhibit “Takover! Artists in Residence” and see artists in action as they bring their studios into the gallery space. Get an insider perspective on the artistic process in this community oriented arts space.

AIRED: June 26, 2019 | 0:26:47


Dunn: The mission of Southampton Arts Center

is to create a hub or arts and culture

in Southampton Village and beyond, right?

It's to animate and activate this building

that is beloved in this community.

We are, by design, decidedly not a museum.

We're anchored by visual arts, for sure,

'cause these galleries just sort of demand it and call for it.

But we, in the truest sense of the word,

a multi-disciplinary cultural center,

right, with film, with talks,

with live music, with educational programs.

We do some theater pieces, some wellness classes,

in-studio meditations,

a real broad variety of programs.

Southampton is the oldest town, English town, in New York State.

Most people don't think about Paleo-Indians coming here.

Farmers and people who have been developing property here --

every time they dig up the ground,

they find a handful of arrowheads.

English settlers landed here from Massachusetts in 1640.

They came here for the same reasons,

and that's why many people come to Southampton today --

because of the light, the temperate weather.

It's one of the sunniest climates in the United States.

And water -- Southampton is 51% water.

Water sports, fishing, swimming --

all those things are a big perk here

for living in Southampton.

Back in 1890,

Samuel Longstreth Parrish came to Southampton.

He had a lot of money,

and he had a huge art collection, mostly of fakes.

Like wealthy men in the 19th century,

Sam Parrish collected

reproductions of better-known European masterworks.

And we can see that here inside the Parrish,

because there's a frieze going around the top.

It was at the Parthenon.

Plaster casts --

he had a large collection of plaster casts,

reproductions of medieval masterpieces

and Renaissance masterpieces, so he needed a place to put it.

So, he built this small wing here

that's wooden on the outside.

It was designed by Grosvenor Atterbury.

It starts out as a wooden building,

and it's called the Country Museum.

He thought it was the first country-style museum

in the United States.

And then Sam Parrish -- as his collection enlarged,

he started adding additions, and on the exterior,

you can see the patterning is called "clinker brick."

And clinker bricks are black

and they're mistakes in the kiln,

and if you look at the outside,

you'll see a repeat pattern of a normal brick

and then a small black one

and then another regular-space brick.

That was something he --

he didn't invent, but he popularized them

and did it in a lot of his houses.

Dunn: There was the Parrish Art Museum

that was here for 50 or 60 years.

They moved, so when they left,

this was a vacant building.

And so some civic-minded philanthropists

in partnership with the Village decided,

"Let's create a new cultural center,"

and that's what became the Southampton Arts Center.

The exhibit going on now at Southampton Arts Center

is called "TAKEOVER! Artists in Residence."

I've had the opportunity to visit a lot of artists' studios,

and it's such a unique experience

that not everybody gets to have,

that suddenly it occurred to me

that we could bring the artists' studios here

and have them re-create their spaces

and work in these spaces, as the experience.

Amy had this wonderful idea

of bringing more life into the space.

She had this frustration that you can see the art,

but you don't get the vibe, the interaction you can get

when you go in an artist's studio

and the interaction artists have with each other.

I know most of these artists that are here

from before the show started.

And she wanted to give a little bit of that flavor

to the town of Southampton, and I think she did a great job.

When you go into a studio, you get to see

what's being worked on,

you get to see things that maybe didn't work out so well,

which often is the foundation for something new.

So this is a little bit of a taste of that.

Jackson: Most of us work in solitude.

Nobody sees except, you know, my husband, a friend.

So, that's very interesting. It's very fulfilling.

Bluedorn: Being from the area, there continues to not be

very many opportunities or spaces for

especially younger artists to take root

and actually grow their practice, so...

Southampton Arts Center and Amy Kirwin, the curator,

said, "If you'd like to take over the galleries

for two months in the winter..."

I was like, "Yeah, that's amazing."

Dunn: And what's particularly cool about this show

is that it endeavors to sort of pull back the curtain

on the creative process, right?

So, each of the artists that we have brought in

have agreed to have studio time,

where they are, in fact, working while the gallery's open,

and it's an opportunity for our patrons

and our guests to sort of see art actually being created.

Normally, when you go to visit an artist in their studio,

they're working -- they're socializing,

and they're talking to you about their work.

But here, you get both.

You get a little bit of that feel

of what their space is like, but also you can watch them work

and watch the progress of their work,

so, you know, come back multiple times

and see from start to finish

and watch them actually doing the work.

And that's something you don't see very often in an exhibition.

And because we are the kind of place that we are,

we can do these kinds of things

and we can experiment with that type of format.

When I first got the information about the show,

I wasn't sure if I was ready,

or I wasn't sure if I should do it or not.

And I just did it without overthinking it,

and then it just happened that things have been great,

I met these amazing people.

In the city is a lot of competition,

but out here, it's about inspiration and help each other,

which it becomes kind of like the real art community.

We wanted to make sure we had diversity

in the various mediums.

And so, in this exhibition,

you'll see paintings, you'll see sculpture,

you'll see photography combined with weaving.

Artist Laurie Lambrecht is a photographer,

but she also weaves.

Having a photographer in the show is a bit tricky,

because they're out photographing,

but when they combine photography with another medium,

it works really well.

I came to the Southampton Arts Center

to be part of "TAKEOVER!"

because -- I guess because I'm an artist

that has lived here a lot of years.

I was born here in Southampton and grew up in Bridgehampton.

In setting up my studio here,

I thought that I would really take the essence

of how my studio is set up at home.

So, my studio in Bridgehampton --

that's the view from my window.

Those are my cardinals that come to visit me.

And the way I work --

because I make a lot of photographic prints

and print-related things, I have these magnet boards

that I've been using for numerous years in my studio.

So, I set them up so that as the days go by

and I work on new projects, I can bring proof prints

so I can share a project in the making

and be flexible about what I put up and take down.

I wanted long tables to work on here.

I've set it up for embroidery of a project

that has been in process for about three years NOW

called "Bark Cloth,"

where I'm printing photographs of bark on linen

and then going back in

and intervening with colored threads in embroidery.

Part of this activity in this event

is to interact with the public.

And I find that's really important and really enjoyable,

so I've been only doing work that's repetitive,

that I've already figured out, so that I can put it down

and pick it up without much cerebral energy, you know.

So, I'm working on a project that involves knitting,

so I've been knitting a lot and that kind of thing.

Transforming the space was

not as difficult as it might seem,

because each artist already had everything they needed.

I visited their studios, and we did discuss things

that they might bring and pieces that they might show

and what they might be working on,

but for the most part, we really didn't know what to expect,

which was really exciting.

And they showed up on the day of installation,

and they brought what they had and set up their space.

And other than some suggestions here and there,

they made the space their own.

So, for us, as far as an installation goes,

it really ran itself.

So, I brought a lot of natural element

that are native of here,

since they are most of the driftwood

and the wood you can find in the beautiful pine forest

we have here and the extraordinary beaches

near the ocean, all the driftwood.

Why I brought those elements is because as an artist,

I always feel dwarfed by the natural sculpture

and art we find everywhere

and sculpted by the element and time.

And I wanted to bring them as maybe a true expression of art,

and then we're just dabbling around that.

To be able to create an artist studio

that would function in this space,

I had to be mindful of the cleanliness of the space.

My studio often include sanding wood,

spraying paint -- different aspects

that would kind of dirty the space.

So, I had to take my process to a certain point,

where only the clean part is left

and showcase that part and try to

bring that to the community.

Here behind me, you have

Bob Marley laying down as a yogi.

And it's a digital creation

that I'm transforming into a painting of mine,

but I also invited all the other artists

to go ahead and create on the piece,

so I don't know what the piece will be by the end --

by the end of the show.

But it will have a beautiful finish --

the same finish you can see

on the Buddha over there, which has this beautiful

lacquered frame and glaze over it.

So, whatever they will do will be encased

in that finish, which is something I do often.

Just like it would be in my studio in my home,

I have a little space dedicated to my children.

I have Noah and Mi.

They were very eager to find their spot

on the wall next to me.

So, they got inspired by all the other artists.

They just took a pad and went ahead and created their version.

There's freedom in their art that I envy often, you know.

These are all East End-based artists,

which is very important to us,

in terms of the work that we do here.

We want it to be reflective and representative

of the community in which we reside.

And what's cool -- because of where we are,

there are artists of varying degrees of status

in their careers, right?

So there's some emerging artists that we've engaged.

There's some incredibly accomplished,

well-known personalities, as well.

So it sort of runs the gamut in that regard.

The appeal of being at a smaller place is in a way,

there really is so much more freedom to create.

We can take more risks, which is really exciting.

This show, in particular, I think,

is not a risk as much as an experiment in play,

and it makes it a lot of fun.

For the past few years,

I've been working in glitter glue,

which is essentially a children's material.

I use very high-quality glitter glue,

but as a sculptor, somebody who loves color,

this has proven to be a wonderful material.

Being inspired by the underwater,

this has finally captured all the things I've been after.

It's like I got a phone call from God

and he said, "Go snorkeling," and I did.

I'd never snorkeled. I'm not a good swimmer.

But I swear, I was called to do it.

So, my husband and I went to Jamaica, Belize,

all in attempts to see what's going on underwater.

Now, the sad thing is,

the very first coral I saw was bleached.

So, in my columns -- those are the most recent things --

the white pieces represent that.

And it's still beautiful, but it's sorrowful.

So, from these mobiles, which started

because I'm running out of space in my studio --

I've been at this a very long time --

so I started hanging things from the ceiling.

And then, well, what about any wall space I might have left?

I had old paintings.

I stripped them out of the frame and started hanging things.

But I wanted layers, like underwater.

So, I have nails coming out from both sides

that's separate it from the wall to give it some twirling space,

nails coming out from the front, so essentially,

I can have, like, four layers of activity going on there.

You know, some of them are very formed shapes.

Some of them I combined with others,

sort of emulating the underwater,

where one species is eating another

and things are running and racing from each other

or towards each other.

I'll take one of these clean plastic things.

And let's see -- I'll just choose at random.

And squirt.

So, I don't have anything in mind right now,

I'm just gonna...


I'm just sort of going at random here.

I have no real plan.

And it's just my squirting.

Of course, it's artistic squirting.

[ Laughs ] It's experienced squirting.

It's all endless -- endlessly manipulatable,

and there's a million designs and ideas available here.

"TAKEOVER!" is the first exhibition

that I have actually curated myself.

I've proposed exhibitions. I've had ideas for exhibitions.

But this is the first one that I've thought of,

created, and executed.

Because the show is so different,

it also doesn't really follow the rules

of other installations that we've done.

This show doesn't have wall labels

because the works are changing,

and it's meant to be like their studio --

just little technical things hat are different.

And so, even though I've learned about these exhibitions

as I've been here,

this one really had no specific rules to follow,

which is perfect for me as a first-time curator,

that I could really make up my own rules and experiment.

My name is Kara Hoblin, and I'm a chalk artist.

I mean, I've been drawing since forever,

like, since I was a little kid.

But I went to school for photography and graduated

and was moving out to the North Fork of Long Island

with no real plan for my career.

And I met a restaurant owner.

She'd just painted her restaurant wall chalkboard,

and she's like, "Can you do my chalkboard wall?"

and I said, "No. What are you talking about?"

And she said, "If it's terrible, I'll just erase it."

And I said, "Okay."

So that was the first chalkboard that I ever did.

Then I started working with the medium

and it is, like, really the most ephemeral medium.

With water, it's gone,

so it's evolved into my fine-art practice,

like, from a commercial standpoint, I guess,

where I make these really large-scale chalk drawings,

and I invite everybody to come and erase them,

as a tool from them to let go of whatever they need to.

So, it came to me and really helped me,

so I hope that I can then return it,

like, bring it full-circle.

And I usually paint a saying about letting go of attachments

or choosing to move forward with love.

And chalk kind of helped me find that path,

so I continue to use it to help other people

find that path, as well.

And then now, since being here and whatnot,

I'm branching on to, like, bigger discoveries.

I mean, I really enjoy using it,

and I think that it's a really special medium.

It helps you not be attached to things,

and a lot of my work is about connecting

and helping and healing and, like, growing together.

So, I'm lucky to be in a place where not only

is the environment, like, made for that,

but the people are all on the same wavelength.

All of the artists in this exhibition are local,

whether on the North or the South Fork.

It's become a great opportunity for them,

not only to have a place to work if they don't have one,

but to have their work seen and on a fairly large scale.

If they're in an exhibition at another place,

they may only have one or two pieces in the show,

but here, they have a whole section of the gallery

dedicated to their work.

And so, it's wonderful exposure for them

and also just being able to meet people and make new connections.

So, for the artist, I think it's very valuable.

And for the community

it does give them this opportunity

to sort of peek behind the curtain

and see what it's like to be in the presence of a working artist

and be part of their process, in a way.

It just brings so much life to this place,

and I think people notice when they come

that there's so much vibrancy now with this show,

because it isn't a static show.

It has literal life.

My name is Scott Bluedorn.

I'm a visual artist -- drawing, painting,

mixed media, assemblage, print making.

I do a lot of different things.

I'm from East Hampton, born and raised,

and grew up on the beach where the ocean

was a huge inspiration to me and continues to be,

and it's really always kind of informed my drawing practice

to study nature and observe landscape.

My work is all about living in proximity to the ocean.

It's about travel, it's about commerce and culture,

and about how the ocean has influenced history,

and that is really at the forefront

for the eastern end of Long Island.

It's very much a maritime culture, always has been.

That includes whaling and fishing,

and it's always just seeped into my work.

I built sand castles from a very young age.

I started painting at the beach, and I'm still doing that.

I'm hoping I finish at least a piece or two

in my time here.

This piece is several months in the making.

It could be several months more.

Sometimes I don't really know how long a piece

is really gonna take.

I don't do a lot of sketching.

I don't do a lot of preparatory work.

I like to just jump in and see where a piece takes me.

I'm trying to be a little bit ambitious with the space

and seeing, you know,

how the space might inform what I'm making.

Kirwin: We have Darlene Charneco, who works with nails,

and she creates these things called memory maps,

which are really unbelievable.

She uses resin and nails, and they're beautiful pieces.

Really such a wide variety.

I work with nails and language.

So, it started to be a way of expressing myself tactilely,

but in language.

I had begun with writing out sentences in the nails

and wanting them to be able to be touched --

the language to be tactile and to feel beyond the words.

I was writing letters to the universe

and asking questions.

And now it has been condensed to one nail per thought.

I love the feeling of

conversations happening in space,

and that's a lot of what my work is about, as well.

If I'm taking an aerial view,

I'm trying to see what's happening in different areas.

And then they become these weaves and tactile touch maps

that I invite people to also feel.

My name is Paton Miller.

And I'm part of this exhibition.

I live in Southampton.

My work -- it stems from, of course, my life.

And when I'm traveling,

I paint the people I meet and the places I see.

And when I'm in my studio,

it sort of gets to be sort of recall, my memory.

And the work behind me is a collage piece.

And I don't always collage,

but I often will take paintings in my studio

and cut 'em up and put 'em back together again.

sort of like a Frankenstein.

So, it's Yin and Yang --

observational work and internal dialogue work.

If you were to come to my studio,

you would see a lot of power tools,

sanders, and things like that.

I make a big mess.

So here, I knew that I wasn't gonna get into

the meat and potatoes of making my paintings.

So, I knew that I would draw.

And this is an interior dialogue of people at sea.

And why is there a tree in the boat?

It's an allegory.

I don't have to have a reason.

And this is what I've been working on lately.

Kirwin: We also have the installation "HANDOFF: Weaving in Space,"

which was conceived by

Bastienne Schmidt and Christine Sciulli,

where 10 artists are working in the space,

and they are taking one artist's work

and adding onto it or changing it

so that, in the end,

we have this unbelievable collaborative work of art.

I was thinking actually of putting a red line

right down the middle. Yeah?

-Do it. -Okay.

I was going to paint, but I actually didn't

bring any red paint, so I'm just gonna --

tape is probably easier anyway, so I might put a couple.

Dunn: It is literally a handoff.

Somebody will come in and take it from there.

And so, they can undo things. They can add to it.

When this started, it was just these ropes hanging

and now it's this absolutely alive, dynamic exhibition.

Zigmund: As an artist, you kind of walk into a space

and you see things.

You see what's not already there and what you want to see.

So, it's a real intuitive process,

and that's how I started today.

And I think what I first started seeing

when I came into this space today

was where I wanted to kind of insert color

and to make relationships across the room.

It takes some of the pressure off of

having to complete something.

It's kind of nice to be able to make a few marks,

know that it's not finished, that it may never be finished.

But it does kind of promote the idea of play.

When you get into a groove,

you do want to be able to concentrate,

and you don't want to have to, you know, talk to people,

but it's nice, actually, to be able to take a break

and look at what other people are doing

and then be inspired by what they're doing.

There's always people coming in,

and that's the lovely thing about this space specifically,

because it is such a community-, sort of, oriented institution.

I think there's less stigma than in a museum.

There's a little bit more room for sort of experimentation

on the artist's side, and I think that there's

more freedom to ask a question or to interact.

People like to talk about what you're doing,

and I often get asked, "What does it mean?"

And my answer is, "Well, what do you see?"

Kirwin: Hangouts were a way for us to offer

extended hours beyond our 6:00 p.m. closing time

for people who work later

or if they can't get here on the weekends,

but also an opportunity for artists

to have some social time, not just with each other,

but also with the community and their friends.

♪ You're so vain

Dunn: We program these hangouts with --

there's a singer/songwriter for the one this evening.

There was a performance artist last week.

So, there's an opportunity to sort of be

multi-disciplinary, even in that.

But then, they're also just fun.

You know, we can have a glass of wine or a beer.

We bring out a ping-pong table.

There's some very serious ping-pong matches that occur.

But it's just really an opportunity

to make sure that the work that we're doing

and that this place remains at the center of this community.

Miller: It's very important for artists to have a community

in which they can have a dialogue.

It's sort of like feedback from your work.

Kirwin: People come, and they just sit on a couch.

It's another wonderful thing about this show

is there's a lot of furniture

for you to sit on from the artists' studios.

And they sit and they talk to the artists.

They talk to each other.

They have a glass of wine, listen to some music.

It's become sort of a social club

where you really just meet up and hang out.

Lambrecht: I think this event has really given people

a lot of freedom as the viewer

that they haven't felt in a classical museum-type setting

where, you know, you've got security guards

telling you not to touch things.

Most people are not supposed to touch art

in any exhibition space,

but for me, it's so much part of the process of making them,

so I will invite people to touch it

and kind of get that sense.

Kirwin: This place is, for me, perfect

because it's an arts center -- it's a hub of all arts.

It was fortuitous for me to be able to have this opportunity

to create in a space that is,

endless in its possibilities for creation.

Dunn: We have a 99-year lease with the Village of Southampton.

We're not going anywhere.

Like, my true hope and desire is that we just become

more firmly established at the center of this community.

And so, I think a cultural district anchored

by Southampton Arts Center is going to be

a really fantastic development for this region.



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