Good news this week for artists and art lovers who count themselves proud members of the modern-day East End art colony: There are a record number of entries—468 to be exact—in the 76th Annual "Guild Hall Artist Members Exhibition" opening on Saturday, May 3, at the East Hampton museum.
One of the few non-juried museum exhibitions still offered on Long Island, the show is open to all members of Guild Hall Museum and is organized by Michelle Klein, Assistant Curator/Registrar and Associate for Museum Education, with installation design by Christina Mossaides Strassfield, the museum’s Director and Chief Curator. "Guild Hall Artist Members Exhibition" is the oldest non-juried museum show on Long Island, according to Guild Hall.
Each year, the museum invites a distinguished guest to award Top Honors and a number of other awards, and this year’s guest Awards Juror is artist, writer and curator Robert Storr. The winner of Top Honors gets a solo show at a future date in the museum’s Spiga Gallery. Other awards include: Best Representational Painting, Best Abstract Painting, Best Sculpture, Best Work on Paper, Best Mixed Media, Best Photograph and numerous Honorable Mention citations.
The Awards Juror also selects one artist for the $250 Catherine and Theo Hios Landscape Award. In addition, the Best New Member Artist award is presented to one artist who is new to the members exhibition or who has not entered in the past five years. This year's exhibition will remain on view through June 7 and many of the works will be available for sale.
This is the seventh Artist Members show organized by Klein. Contacted in the midst of hanging the record-breaking number of works in this year’s exhibition, she said that “clearly this is the largest we’ve ever had, and it’s just extraordinary. It’s amazing, the number of artists who have turned in work for this show.”
Noting that there were 453 entries in last year’s show, Klein said that even if the show kept growing up to 575 or more entries, “We would find a way to make it work.” While some walls have been double hung with artworks in past years, she said that there are a few spaces where walls are actually triple hung this year.
She said that the artists contributing work understand the reasons for the requirement that works to be hung on the wall be no larger than 25 by 25 inches and sculpture be no larger than 30 inches high by 20 inches deep and 20 inches wide. “It’s the only way we can accommodate such a large number of entries,” she said, acknowledging that the size limits can create a challenge for artists who are used to working on a much larger scale.
“We do this for our community, for our artist members,” Klein said, and she, along with everyone else at the museum, finds it very gratifying to get so much enthusiastic participation.
The Artist Members exhibition is “such an important part of our long history,” said Mossaides Strassfield. “We’ve been dedicated to this for 76 years,” in large part, she said, because it is so important to “offer the opportunity for artists working at every level to have their work exhibited in a museum setting.”
The 468 artist members in the show dropped off their works at the museum on April 25 and 26. Klein, Mossaides Strassfield and museum staffers have been busy installing the show this week to be ready for Saturday’s opening reception, which is open to the public and runs from 4 to 6 p.m.
Offered in conjunction with this exhibition, the East Hampton museum will host a free “Meet the Winners of the 76th Guild Hall Artist Members Exhibition” on May 17 at 11 a.m. Exhibition organizer Michelle Klein will interview the award winners selected by guest juror Robert Storr.
This year’s Awards Juror, Robert Storr, was appointed Professor of Painting and Dean of the School of Art at Yale University in 2006. He received a BA from Swarthmore College in 1972 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1978.
He was curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1990 to 2002. In 2002, he was named the first Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.
Storr has also taught at CUNY, the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, Rhode Island School of Design, Tyler School of Art, New York Studio School, and Harvard University. He lectures frequently in the U.S. and abroad.
A contributing editor at Art in America since 1981, he writes frequently for Artforum, Parkett, Art Press (Paris), and Frieze (London). He has also written numerous catalog essays, articles, and books. He is currently Consulting Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2007 was chosen commissioner of the 2007 Venice Biennale, the first American invited to assume that position.
In 2013, the Top Honors winner awarded a solo show was Stephanie Brody Lederman, selected by Awards Juror Elisabeth Sussman, Curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Sussman was also the curator of the 2012 and 1993 Whitney Biennial exhibitions.
BASIC FACTS: The 76th Annual "Guild Hall Artist Members Exhibition" is presented from May 3 through June 7. There is a $7 suggested admission. An Opening Reception will be held on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. It is open to the public. On Saturday, May 17, at 11 a.m.: Meet the Winners of the 76th Guild Hall Artist Members Exhibition, free admission.
Guild Hall Museum is located at 158 Main Street, East Hampton, NY 11937. www.GuildHall.org.
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