Anyone who has ever attended an art fair week in Miami, New York or London knows that art fairs come in different shapes and sizes. The art fairs in The Hamptons is no exception. Earlier in July, the traditional white-tented art fair arrived in Bridgehampton, NY in the form of Market Art + Design, the only large art fair left standing in the wake of Art Hamptons and Art Southampton pulling up stakes a few years ago.
This weekend, the Upstairs Art Fair brings its version of summer casual to Amagansett, NY. In the fall, keep your eyes peeled for the possible return of the exclusive Bridge Art Fair offered in conjunction with The Bridge car exhibition. Taken together, Hamptons art fairs include a variety of art fairs formats offered (except those set in hotels. Just try to find an empty hotel room in The Hamptons in July!).
Coinciding with an expected heat wave, the Upstairs Art Fair opens on Friday, July 19, 2019 with a VIP Preview and continues view through Sunday, July 21, 2019. Returning to a three-story red barn converted into commercial and educational space, set a stone's throw from Montauk Highway in Amagansett, the third edition holds true to its laid-back presentation and vibe. Case in point: admission is free.
The 2019 edition expects to present around 15 galleries with some of the art presented salon-style without much of a spacial division between exhibitors. The lion's share of art galleries are from New York with a handful from East Hampton, NY plus one Miami-based gallery. Exhibitors include Half Gallery, Rachel Uffner Gallery, 56 Henry, CANADA, Anna Zorina Gallery, Jack Hanley Gallery, Harper's Books, Eric Firestone Gallery and others. Click here for the full list.
Upstairs Art Fair was founded in 2016 by Bill Powers of Half Gallery in New York's Upper East Side and Harper Levine of Harper's Books in East Hampton, NY.
"Bill and I set out to create a casual, intimate fair, but with great art," explained Levine. "Until Upstairs, The Hamptons only had over-produced, corporate fairs, heavy on the champagne, and light on the connoisseurship. This model, clearly, was failing. This stripped-down approach, which we pioneered, places emphasis on art and artists, rather than large convention halls and corporate sponsorship."
Powers added, “It’s interesting to see the proliferation of smaller boutique fairs like Felix in LA or the Marfa Invitational in Texas. I think art people are craving a more intimate setting.”
Now with two years beneath their belt, Powers and Levine have seen the Upstairs Art Fair draw collectors, curators and artists of note, examining art presented in understated settings.
“In years past it’s been a thrill to see artists like Rashid Johnson and David Salle stop by the fair as well as curators from major New York institutions like The Whitney," Powers said. "That is very much a trajectory we hope to continue.”
BASIC FACTS: Upstairs Art Fair opens on Friday, July 19, 2019 with a VIP Preview from 4 to 6 p.m. and an Opening from 6 to 8 p.m. The art fair continues Saturday and Sunday (July 20 - 21, 2019) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Upstairs Art Fair is located at 11 Indian Wells, Amagansett, NY 11930. www.upstairsartfair.com.
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