The first round of Hamptons art fairs arrive this week to Bridgehampton, NY with dueling art openings on Thursday night. Presenting a fourth year of simultaneous art fairs are ArtHamptons and Art Market Hamptons. Both return to their favored locations of Nova's Ark Project and the Bridgehampton Historical Society grounds, respectively.
Here's what you need to know to tackle both fairs and get the most from your art fair experience:
1. Both fairs have a solid collection of Hamptons galleries presenting work.
For art lovers, this means the only traffic you need to battle is driving on single-lane roads linking one fair to the next. The payoff is receiving an overview of much of the current East End art scene. Between the two fairs, there are 16 Hamptons galleries taking part. Many of the Hamptons galleries are bringing artist favorites or mini-exhibitions of what's currently on view in the gallery.
ArtHamptons has the following Hamptons galleries appearing in its aisles: Bridgehampton Fine Art, Chase Edwards Gallery, Gallery 125, Lawrence Fine Art, Mark Borghi Fine Art, Moniko Olko Gallery, RJD Gallery (Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery), Tulla Booth Gallery plus art dealer Karyn Mannix Contemporary.
Art Market Hamptons includes the following Hamptons galleries: Birnam Wood / Galleries, Eric Firestone Gallery, Grenning Gallery, Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, Sara Nightingale Gallery, Vered Gallery, Vered Contemporary plus art dealer Neoteric Fine Art.
2. Both fairs have Opening Preview Receptions that benefit Hamptons art organizations.
Either way you slice it, someone on the East End wins. Art Market Hamptons Opening Party benefits LongHouse Reserve. ArtHamptons Opening Party benefits Guild Hall. No matter which party you attend, a good time will be had. Feeling ambitious? It is possible to attend both.
Here's what you need to know:
ArtHamptons: First Look for Black Card holders Only: Thursday, July 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. The Opening Night Preview takes place immediately following from 7 to 9:30 p.m. for Black Card and VIP Pass holders. The cost for a Black Card is $250 and a VIP Pass costs $125. Click here to purchase.
Art Market Hamptons: The Benefit Preview Reception takes place from 6 to 7 p.m. with the VIP Party immediately following from 7 to 10 p.m. The Benefit VIP Pass is $75 and provides entrance to both. Click here to purchase.
3. ArtHamptons presents 87 Galleries; Art Market Hamptons presents 39. The numbers don't matter.
The art fairs are different. Each year, fair goers have definite opinions about which fair "was better". Sometimes these opinions are loud. This is one of the beauties of having three Hamptons art fairs to visit and experience over the course of July. One size does not fit all--nor does it need to. (Art Southampton is the third fair in the July trio. It's being held from July 24 - July 28, 2014 in Southampton, NY. They plan to present around 75 galleries.)
My advise? Take what you "know" about each of these fairs and table it. Each year, the fairs present galleries who haven't appeared before and returning favorites. Some galleries choose to create a booth that's consistent from year to year; others change it up. It's the mix--and the differences--where the spice is found. And like love, maybe you only need to find one gallery (or artist) to fall hard for.
4. The Hamptons art fairs aren't about the Hamptons.
The art world is a big and bold place. The art fairs bring a slice of it right to your backyard. Both art fairs have galleries based in NYC and from spots around the United States and, sometimes, the world. (Art Market Hamptons is nationwide only. The other two have international galleries exhibiting).
5. If special events and parties are important, ArtHamptons has an edge.
ArtHamptons excels at throwing a party. Each year, their Openings are blow outs. The last few years have included performance art, sometimes courtesy of Watermill Center artist residents. This year is no exception. Special events, author signings, artist meet and greets will all unfold. Click here to see a full listing. Expect to find the return of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a polo match to benefit Southampton Center. In addition, there's plenty of invite-only parties unfolding throughout the fair.
Artist events include meeting Jane Freilicher (Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. at Tibor De Nagy booth); LA ROC (Friday from 2 to 3:30 at Lawrence Fine Art booth); Robert Wilson (Friday from 4 to 5 p.m.) at Jules Feiffer (Friday from 5 to 5:30 p.m. at Jean Albano Gallery booth) and Moby (An interview by Aperture on Friday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.). Author and Hamptons Art Hub critic Gabrielle Selz has a book signing of her new memoir, Unstill Life (Friday from 1:30 to 2:20 p.m. at Gallery 125).
Art Market's VIP Opening promises to be strong with plenty of verve. It's presented by the same private club as last year with gourmet NYC food trucks returning for their outdoor lounge area. The rest of the fair is devoted to art viewing.
6. If you're interested in buying art, do some research beforehand.
Be prepared. Both art fairs provide a list of exhibiting galleries and the artists they expect to exhibit. Consider writing a list of art and galleries you'd like to see. Art fairs can be overwhelming and it can be easy to miss what's expected.
Don't get thrown if the artist (or the specific artwork) expected isn't noticeable in the gallery's booth--ask a gallery representative. Artworks are sometimes presented in rotation. There may be additional artworks available (or even the piece you're looking for) that isn't on view at time of your visit.
7. The Early Bird Does get the Worm (And the Artwork).
For prized artworks, it's not uncommon for sales to be made before the art fair doors open or shortly after the fair begins. This may be more typical at destination fairs like Art Basel Miami Beach or the Armory. Still, if you're eyeing a potential artwork from afar, it's better to attend the fair on the first day versus the last.
8. People watching is prime at art fairs. So is networking.
Bring your business cards and a camera. New friendships, alliances and business connections are frequently made at the fairs. If not, spectacle an easily unfold in unexpected places (especially at art parties).
9. If you're juggling both fairs in one night, make a plan and stick to it.
Attending both fair openings on Thursday night is doable. However, it's easy to linger at the first stop and accidentally shortchange the second. If a two-fair night is in your future, set your arrival and departure times beforehand and don't deviate. Allow time for traffic and parking with a long walk so your art fair fun isn't cut short.
10. Enjoy discovering art!
Opening parties, glamorous guests and unusual occurrences aside, the art should take center stage. Allow enough time to see the art and linger with works that compel or perplex. Viewing art at the opening parties only can be a mistake--consider making a second trip for the art alone.
There are multiple ways to tackle a fair and come away a winner. Some people like to start with a quick walkabout followed by a slower considered look at the booths in the fair. Others prefer a slow walk that allows for art exploration at a steady pace and in a single swoop. No matter what your art fair style, enjoy the art while it's on view. The art fairs disappear as quickly as they appear.
BASIC FACTS: ArtHamptons 2014 takes place from July 10 - 13, 2014 at the Sculpture Fields of Nova's Ark, 60 Millstone Road, Bridgehampton, NY 11932. www.arthamptons.com.
Art Market Hamptons 2014 takes place from July 10 - 13, 2014 on the Bridgehampton Historical Society grounds, 2368 Montauk Hwy, Bridgehampton, NY 11932. www.artmarkethamptons.com.
Art Southampton 2014 takes place from July 24 - 28, 2014 at Southampton Elks Lounge, 605 County Road 39, Southampton, NY 11968. A VIP Preview will be held on July 24. www.art-southampton.com.
NOTE: If traveling from New York City without a car, Art Market Hamptons is easily accessible by the Hampton Jitney and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The Jitney stops directly in front of the art fair. The Bridgehampton Rail Road station is one very long block away. There are local taxis and car services to drive from one fair to the next. ArtHamptons has partnered with Uber car service to provide one-way transportation to and from its fair. The cost may be steep so the fair is offering $40 off the first ride and 20% off for the next when travel involves Art Hamptons 2014.
Use Uber's free iPhone/Android/Blackberry 7 app to request a pickup by car. Payment is by credit card with no need to tip. Here's how to receive the Art Hamptons discount:
1) Download the free Uber iPhone/Android/Blackberry
7 app (or sign up at get.uber.com/go/ArtHamptons)
2) Enter your information in the Uber app and
promo code ArtHamptons when you sign up
3) Request a ride 5 - 15 minutes before you need one. $40 will be
applied towards your first ride on uberX, UberBLACK, or UberSUV.
Already riding with Uber? Use promo code ArtHamptons20
to receive 20% off your ride the day of the event (up to $20, expires 7/30).
For details, visit uber.com/nyc or email supportNY@uber.com.
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