Art Southampton returned to Nova's Ark Project drawing strong crowds for two VIP Previews for its 2016 Hamptons art fair. The Platinum VIP Preview allowed for the first look at the art on view and doubled as a benefit for the Parrish Art Museum and Southampton Hospital. Art Southampton's Platinum VIP Preview was immediately followed by a VIP Preview that was open to VIP cardholders and press.

The flow from one VIP to the next seemed to triple as aisles were filled with people gazing at art, conversed with other fair goers, having photos taken with actress Brooke Shields. There were interesting moments in the VIP lounge for some who noticed and then inquired on the meaning of the group of young women clad in black bikinis, heels and top hats while they took a moment to rest in the VIP lounge, following their participation in Kevin Berlin's art performance piece coinciding with the unveiling of his new top hat line.

In addition to celebs, networking, catching up with friends, artists, art collectors, professionals and others while walking on the hardwood floors of the Art Southampton pavilion (Market Art + Design spouted the same hardwood floors instead of carpet), there was the art.

The art fair offered a range of modern and contemporary art including painting, photography, sculpture, installation and mixed media. Galleries were a mix of national and international with panel discussions schedule for most of the art fair's run. Click here for a schedule as all are worth attending. Click here to read art critic James Croak's take on this year's fair for Hamptons Art Hub.

Continue scrolling to see some of the people and the scene that unfolded on Thursday night (July 7, 2016) when Art Southampton first opened its doors.

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Art Southampton welcomes visitors at Nova's Ark Project. Photo by Pat Rogers.

Art Southampton welcomes visitors at Nova's Ark Project. Photo by Pat Rogers.

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Art Southampton Dorothy Lichtenstein, Hal Buckner, Kevin O'Leary, Nick Korniloff and Terrie Sultan. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Art Southampton Dorothy Lichtenstein, Hal Buckner, Kevin O'Leary, Nick Korniloff and Terrie Sultan. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Crowds attended Art Southampton's VIP Preview on July 7, 2016. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Crowds attended Art Southampton's VIP Preview on July 7, 2016. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Arist Yigal Ozeri at Meisel Gallery at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Arist Yigal Ozeri at Meisel Gallery at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Examining art at the VIP Opening of Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Examining art at the VIP Opening of Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Nick Korniloff, Brooke Shields and MIranda Korniloff at the NY Academy of Art booth during the VIP First View reception. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Nick Korniloff, Brooke Shields and MIranda Korniloff at the NY Academy of Art booth during the VIP First View reception. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Photographer Alexis Martino exhibits with the Ross School at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Photographer Alexis Martino exhibits with the Ross School at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Curator and art dealer Arlene Bujese and Marcel Bally examine art at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Curator and art dealer Arlene Bujese and Marcel Bally examine art at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Christine Berry of Berry Campbell stands in front of a painting by Susan Vecsecy. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Christine Berry of Berry Campbell stands in front of a painting by Susan Vecsecy. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Laurie Marsden at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Laurie Marsden at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Exhibiting artist Eric Dever stands in front of a new painting with artist and art critic Christopher French at Berry Campbell at Art Southampton's VIP Preview. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Exhibiting artist Eric Dever stands in front of a new painting with artist and art critic Christopher French at Berry Campbell at Art Southampton's VIP Preview. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Looking at the art at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Looking at the art at Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Examining the art during Art Southampton's VIP Preview. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Examining the art during Art Southampton's VIP Preview. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Artist and top hat designer Kevin Berlin with some of his bikini-clad women at the VIP Opening of Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Artist and top hat designer Kevin Berlin with some of his bikini-clad women at the VIP Opening of Art Southampton. Photo by Tom Kochie.

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Art Southampton is presented from July 7 - 11, 2016 at Nova's Ark Project, 60 Millstone Road, Bridgehampton, NY 11976. www.art-southampton.com. For a critical look at this year's fair, read "CRITIC'S VIEW: Art Southampton - Art of the Nude and Plenty of Programs" by James Croak. 

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Copyright 2016 Hamptons Art Hub LLC. All rights reserved.

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