Great writing about art is a publishing mission of Hamptons Art Hub. This year, we've expanded our Best Writing of the Year list to encompass artist profiles, feature stories and news journalism along with our art reviews. Our list of the Best Writing from 2016 features 16 stories written by Hamptons Art Hub staff, revealing art unfolding nationwide and internationally, and, of course, in The Hamptons.

Some selections made our Best Writing list due to the quality of the writing, its lyricism or for writing that remained consistently engaging throughout the piece. Other times, stories stood out due to insights into their subject matter. In all cases, each one is a pleasure to read and provides food for thought even after the reading is complete.

Stories and reviews selected for the Best Writing at Hamptons Art Hub in 2016 are presented in no particular order.

Happy reading!

1. "Yolanda Sánchez: A Surprising Path to Painting" by Elisa Turner

Late in the afternoon on a recent October day, Yolanda Sánchez checked into her Manhattan hotel after flying from Miami to New York and rushed to the nearby Museum of Arts and Design, determined to get there before it closed. MAD is one of her favorite destinations in New York City.

We spoke by phone the following morning. The artist was excited about the opening that night of "Along the Road of Dreams" at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Chelsea. On view through November 26, 2016, it’s her fifth solo show with Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in New York City. Additional paintings can be easily seen in the window (and inside) their gallery in Bridgehampton in The Hamptons...

Read the story here

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"Things I Wish for in this World" by Yolanda Sánchez, 2016. Oil on canvas (diptych), 60 x 72 inches. Courtesy Kathryn Markel Fine Arts.

"Things I Wish for in this World" by Yolanda Sánchez, 2016. Oil on canvas (diptych), 60 x 72 inches. Courtesy Kathryn Markel Fine Arts.

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2. "ART REVIEW: Unfolding Joy in Bill King Sculptures, Connie Fox Paintings" by Janet Goleas

On view at Guild Hall in East Hampton, “Connie Fox and William King, An Artist Couple” offers a joyful exploration of the artistry, civic idealism and joie de vivre of one of the most beloved artist couples ever to live and work on Long Island’s East End.

Sweeping through some 50-odd years of art making, the exhibition examines the couple’s life, love and their shared commitment to awareness. King, who died in 2015, enjoys a robust afterlife through his nimble figurative sculptures, some 28 of which are on view here, while Fox’s paintings hug the gallery circumference as if in an embrace...

Read the review here

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"My Pleasure" by William King, 2007. Red vinyl, 68 inches. From the collection of Connie Fox. Courtesy of Guild Hall.

"My Pleasure" by William King, 2007. Red vinyl, 68 inches. From the collection of Connie Fox. Courtesy of Guild Hall.

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3. "Critic’s View: The Broad Museum Reflects Transformation of West Coast Art World" by James Croak

There’s an old joke that America is on a tilt and everything that’s a little loose rolls into California.

That aphorism might have to be updated to reflect that the country is tilting due to the weight of the new and expanding West Coast museums, and any artwork not nailed down tightly will likely end up there. Not as pithy, perhaps, but possibly more accurate if one considers such examples as the inspiring 120,000-square-foot The Broad, a brand new, uber-hip contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles.

Museums throughout the world are expanding and new ones are being constructed at a stunning rate, drawing on the kind of magnanimity and enthusiasm with which western cities once threw up colossal cathedrals. And for similar reasons: the core of the modern city-center that generates meaning has moved from the religious to the secular...

Read the story here.

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The Broad by Diller ScoDidio + Renfro and Gensler architects.

The Broad by Diller ScoDidio + Renfro and Gensler architects.

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4. "ART REVIEW: Eric Fischl Takes Aim at Art Fair Culture in New Paintings" by Charles A. Riley II

In 2012, the 1980s art star and East End denizen Eric Fischl took his camera to Art Basel Miami Beach on a quasi-anthropological mission. His purpose was to capture images of the culture of the art fair, catching his “characters” (as he calls them) in their unnatural habitat.

Later forays into the tents of Art Southampton and Frieze New York on Randall’s Island furnished a trove of images featuring disaffected socialites oblivious to the paintings and sculpture around them. These studies are the basis for 10 large and perturbing paintings presented in his first New York exhibition with Skarstedt Gallery on the Upper East Side...

Read the review here

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"False Gods" by Eric Fischl, 2015. Oil on linen, 56 x 76 inches. Courtesy Skarstedt Gallery.

"False Gods" by Eric Fischl, 2015. Oil on linen, 56 x 76 inches. Courtesy Skarstedt Gallery.

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5. "ART REVIEW: Bastienne Schmidt Installation Probes Mysteries of Identity and Time" by Eric Ernst

As both a painter and photographer, Bastienne Schmidt has always been fascinated by and focused on the ideas of identity and place as defining the personal and universal artistic mysteries of our shared past and present.

This orientation continues in her current Parrish Road Show exhibition, “Bastienne Schmidt: Archeology of Time” on view at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum through August 24, 2016.

In this site-specific installation, the artist uses archeology and her perceptions of historic artifacts as a conceptual launching point to investigate the perpetually enigmatic elements of memory, time, and history. She recognizes that, much as the author John Logan has pointed out, “to be civilized is to know where you belong in the continuum of our art and your world. To surmount the past, you must know the past...

Read the review here

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Parrish Road Show exhibition, “Bastienne Schmidt: Archeology of Time” on view at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum.

Parrish Road Show exhibition, “Bastienne Schmidt: Archeology of Time” on view at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum.

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6. "Talking With: Marcia Resnick on Photographing Punks, Poets and Other Bad Boys" by Sandra Hale Schulman

With her ruffled skirts and combat boots, Marcia Resnick is a true contradiction: a bold, girly girl photographer who braved the trenches of New York City’s rough and tumble downtown underground in the 1970s and ’80s and emerged with hundreds of remarkable photos of the best and baddest of the bad boys.

I met Resnick in the early 1980s when I was fresh out of college and working as a curator at The Night Gallery, a short-lived downtown club/art gallery. She wanted to show something really unusual: an entire roll of film from the photo shoot she did with John Belushi six months before he died of an overdose. I hung out with her for a few days at her cavernous Canal Street loft and spent a wild night clubbing with her friends, one of whom was Italian model and actress Anita Pallenberg, ex-girlfriend of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards...

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Photo of Mick Jagger by Marcia Resnick.

Photo of Mick Jagger by Marcia Resnick.

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7. "Truths & Poison – The Paintings of Pamela Wilson" by Pat Rogers

People in exotic garb caught in unusual situations embracing strange objects are the mainstay of Pamela Wilson’s art. Think harlequins, taxidermy geese, clown-white faces, fur stoles, flowing gowns, dolls and oversize striped lollipops and the picture will start to form.

Frequently featuring only a solitary figure, Pamela Wilson’s painted worlds are inhabited by people who can be found along railroad tracks, in burning landscapes, dim interiors, thick woods or on desolate beaches. In some cases, the subjects are portrayed a la Hitchcock, with only a threatening sky as backdrop, or perhaps a sliver of land or mountainside for grounding. Combine these elements with a heady mix of steampunk, the macabre and a twist of unexpected lightheartedness and the journey to explore complex worlds in the paintings of Pamela Wilson can begin...

Read the story here

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"The Grievance" by Pamela Wilson, 2015. Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy RJD Gallery.

"The Grievance" by Pamela Wilson, 2015. Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy RJD Gallery.

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8. "Art Review: At The Met Breuer, A Strategic Play to Museum’s Strengths" by Charles A. Riley II

The building may be familiar, but the surprises in store when the new Met Breuer—in the former home of the Whitney Museum—opens to the public on March 18, 2016 have already rattled even some of the most jaded art connoisseurs.

Most entered the press preview on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 with expectations of some kind of throwback to the cutting-edge experiences they had endured in the same space, perhaps a Metropolitan Museum version of the Whitney Biennial shock therapy. Then the massive elevator doors opened on Titian’s epic Marsyas, along with other huge Renaissance paintings by Leonardo, van Eyck and Rembrandt, and jaws dropped at the head fake the Met’s curators had put on them...

Click here to read the review. 

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"Gardanne" by Paul Cézanne, 1885–1886. Oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 25 1/4 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Franz H. Hirschland, 1957.

"Gardanne" by Paul Cézanne, 1885–1886. Oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 25 1/4 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Franz H. Hirschland, 1957.

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9. "ART REVIEW: How Bleckner, Fischl and Salle Gave New Life to Painting" by Eric Ernst

The current “Unfinished Business” exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill features three iconographic figures of recent contemporary art—Eric Fischl, David Salle, and Ross Bleckner—presenting important works from near the beginning of their careers that cemented their reputations as major players in New York’s creative universe and beyond.

Arriving at a time when the art world was stricken with one of its periodic bouts of suspicion as to whether or not “painting is dead,” in these earlier works the three came to define the move within the art world toward representational expression. This pendulum swing followed years during which figuration had consistently played second fiddle to the dominance of abstraction on the international art scene...

Read the review here

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"Poverty is No Disgrace" by David Salle, 1982. Oil, acrylic, charcoal and chair on canvas.

"Poverty is No Disgrace" by David Salle, 1982. Oil, acrylic, charcoal and chair on canvas.

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10. "ART REVIEW: Charlotte Park Paintings Shine Light on Major AB-EX Talent" by Charles A. Riley II

Redemption can be jubilant, as the current resonant solo show devoted to Charlotte Park (1918-2010) at Berry Campbell gallery in Chelsea proves. After decades in the shadow of her husband, James Brooks, Park steps forward from the Abstract Expressionist chorus and unleashes her singular strong voice, hitting all the top notes of color, gesture and scale with confident power.

Born in Concord, Massachusetts, Charlotte Park graduated from the Yale School of Art in 1939. During World War II, she met Brooks while she was in Washington, D.C. working for the Office of Strategic Services. They moved to Manhattan in 1945, renting the front space of Jackson Pollock’s studio at 46 East 8th Street and joining “The Club” that included Pollock, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and the titans of the era...

Read the review here

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"Untitled (Black and White)" by Charlotte Park, c. 1950. Oil and gouache on paper mounted on canvas
, 14 7/8 x 18 inches.

"Untitled (Black and White)" by Charlotte Park, c. 1950. Oil and gouache on paper mounted on canvas
, 14 7/8 x 18 inches.

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11. "Miami’s New Faena District: A Billion-Dollar Love Letter to Art and Design" by Sandra Hale Schulman

The opening of the Faena District was a mind-blowing experience. The festivities began just before Art Basel Miami Beach arrived and continued through Miami Art Week. While the multitude of art fair tents came and went, this new district dedicated to the arts is in it for the long haul.

More than a billion dollars was poured into creating the new Faena District courtesy of Len Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born and New York-based natural resources and media mogul, with Argentinian developer Alan Faena serving as creative director of the multi-building project and district at large.

Currently four blocks long, located on Collins Avenue from 32nd street to 36th Street in the section of town known as Middle Beach, the Faena District is comprised of an uber luxury hotel filled with high end art; a condo building (the penthouse sold for $60 million); a Forum venue designed by the international architecture firm OMA for performance and exhibits and a retail complex bazaar with artist designed boutiques with more buildings in development...

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Inside the "Time Capsule" designed by Juan Gatti.

Inside the "Time Capsule" designed by Juan Gatti.

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12. "COMMENTARY: For Peter Beard, a Career Devoted to Beauty and Beasts" by James Croak

Artists receive critiques when they are young and malleable and then later after they have passed, as historians sort their significance in the Brobdingnagian corpus of Western art history. But rarely do they suffer appraisal during their white mane years, when scribes marvel that they endured so long, survived in a trade that musters the crew every five years and then gives them the heave ho to the shoals below. It is a brutal and regular shucking that keeps the art world on the crest of thought.

One who has endured is photographer and environmental author Peter Beard, who is having his first U.S. museum exhibition in 15 years at Guild Hall in East Hampton. The cleverly installed show, curated by Christina Mossaides Strassfield, was mobbed at the opening and promises to remain a major draw in New York. It is especially endearing as fully half the diaristic work on display was created nearby in Montauk...

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"Pink Elephant" by Peter Beard, 1966/2009.

"Pink Elephant" by Peter Beard, 1966/2009.

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13. "ART REVIEW: Agustina Woodgate Subverts Linkage of Value, Time and Money" by Elisa Turner

In "Power-Line," Agustina Woodgate's impressive show at Spinello Projects in Miami, the artist has wedded conceptual conundrums to a subversive visual experience regarding time and money. The exhibition links performance art to minimalism to the Kinetic, machine-like sculptures of Jean Tinguely—a stunning performance in itself.

Swiss sculptor and experimental artist Jean Tinguely (1925-1991) was a leading figure in the Kinetic art movement, which came to prominence in the 1950s and then gradually declined in the 1960s. Its emphasis on movement, though, dates back to around 1910, with ties to the Futurists and Marcel Duchamp...

Read the review here

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"National Times" by Agustina Woodgate at Spinello Projects. Courtesy of Spinello Projects.

"National Times" by Agustina Woodgate at Spinello Projects. Courtesy of Spinello Projects.

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14. "Art Travel: A Guide to Visitors for Berlin Art Week 2016 and Beyond" by Charles A. Riley II

Long before WiFi or Pokemon Go, finding urban hot spots was a blood sport among serious seekers of art. From Renaissance Florence and Amsterdam to fin-de-siecle Vienna or Jazz Age Paris, certain cities at certain moments have gathered the greats among painters and sculptors.

In 2016, the word among many curators and artists I know is that Berlin is the place to be right now. Its global arts scene, as celebrated in Berlin Art Week September 13 to 18, 2016, is attracting a migration of connoisseurs and artists, some of whom will end up staying to open studios and find galleries. Each time I go, I am struck by the seriousness not just of the art but of the audience response. Like the scent of the linden trees along the Boulevard Unter den Linden, the deep consideration of challenging art is the special something in the air that distinguishes Berlin from other cities that host the caravansary of contemporary art...

Click here to read the story. 

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A former studio building, the Arte-Luise Kunsthotel at the border between East and West commissioned artists to go wild with the design of their own rooms.

A former studio building, the Arte-Luise Kunsthotel at the border between East and West commissioned artists to go wild with the design of their own rooms.

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15. "ART REVIEW: Will Barnet Paintings offer Context to AbEx, and Some Questions" by Peter Malone

“Will Barnet: 1950s Works on Paper” at Alexandre Gallery is the latest in a string of recent shows delving into less familiar and esoteric aspects of the New York art scene circa 1950. By filling the blank patches of the historical map that once appeared like an aura around the bigger names so often associated with the New York School, the fuller perspective of these shows helps to enrich a narrative that is too easily considered already complete.

Click here to read the story. 

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"Abstract, White and Black" by Will Barnet, c. 1960. Oil on canvas, 48 x 42 inches. Courtesy Alexandre Gallery.

"Abstract, White and Black" by Will Barnet, c. 1960. Oil on canvas, 48 x 42 inches. Courtesy Alexandre Gallery.

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16.  "Lawsuit Dismissed against Columbia for “Mattress Performance”; Meanwhile the Artist Moves On" by Pat Rogers

U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit on March 11, 2016 brought by Paul Nungesser against Columbia University, its president Lee Bollinger and art professor Jon Kessler for their respective roles relating to the endurance performance art piece Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), according to Reuters.

The suit alleges the parties violated Title IX when they allowed Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz to execute, on campus and for college credit, Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), an endurance performance piece that was part protest and part expression of trauma stemming from an alleged rape by Nungesser, a German student and classmate at Columbia, according to Art Forum. The piece protested Columbia's handling and response to her reporting of the alleged attack...

Click here to read the story. 

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Emma Sulkowicz's "Carry That Weight." Photo courtesy YouTube.

Emma Sulkowicz's "Carry That Weight." Photo courtesy YouTube.

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Looking for more Year in Review stories? Visit "Readers Choice: Most Popular 15 Stories in 2016" and "Staff Picks: Best Exhibitions on the East End in 2016."

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Copyright 2016 Hamptons Art Hub LLC. All rights reserved.

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