Hamptons Art Fairs Target Hipster Collectors with Edgy, Nostalgic Artworks

Jamie Salmon's "Lily" in front of Sungchul Hong's "Perceptual Mirrors" from Binghamton's Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts at ArtHamptons. Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Jamie Salmon's Lily in front of Sungchul Hong's Perceptual Mirrors from Binghamton's Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts at ArtHamptons.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

The Hamptons' summer art fair season got off to a roaring start last night with the opening of ArtHamptons and Art Market Hamptons, both open through July 13. Despite the bumper-to-bumper traffic piling up en route to both events last night, the fairs had a less frenzied, more sociable vibe compared to the crazed hustle of New York City's Frieze and Armory weeks.

As was to be expected, many of the exhibitors are local galleries from Long Island's East End, but a large number also come from much further afield, including a mini fair-within-a-fair of Korean galleries sprinkled throughout ArtHamptons.

artnet News started the night at Art Market Hamptons, held in a compact yet spacious tent pitched outside the Bridgehampton Historical Society. This seemed to be the more upscale of the two fairs, with a food truck garden featuring Roberta's, the Red Hook Lobster Pound, and Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck, and a VIP room designed by swanky Manhattan private drinking club Norwood.

And how was the art? We were immediately taken by the folksy, carnival sideshow-esque work from Red Truck Gallery in New Orleans, which had hung a number of hand-painted wooden signs by Bryan Cunningham hung salon style. Those were paired with embroidered works by Chris Roberts Antieau, lending the booth the air of an antique shop, even if they did sneak in one animatronic sculpture (Tom Haney's The Usual Suspects, a police line-up that could almost pass for a boy-band).

The local galleries also fared well. Donald Robertson showed his colorful, fashion-inspired paintings, thriftily painted on Whole Foods bags, at East Hampton's Eric Firestone Gallery, while Vered Modern and Contemporary Art offered an impressively wide range of works. True to its name, their large booth had everything from a diminutive wire doll by Andy Warhol to giant, sci-fi and anime-tinged light-up sculptures from Colin Christian.

The sunsets at ArtHamptons. Photo: Sarah Cascone.

The sun sets at ArtHamptons.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

As artnet News arrived at ArtHamptons, just up the road in Water Mill, the sun had just set, leaving behind a glowing pink and orange sky at the Sculpture Fields of Nova's Ark. With such a beautiful vista, it was hard to go inside, but the expansive fair offered plenty to see. There were a few big names, with Alex Katz and Roy Lichtenstein work at Miami's Adamar Fine Arts. We also spotted Julian Opie's holographic, moving portraits from Galerie Hafenrichter in Nümberg, Germany.

One great discovery was Park Seungmo's mind-blowing hanging steel mesh works from Seoul's Keumsan Gallery. The artist creates his relief sculptures by layering the mesh and then cutting it away as if he's drawing on the unusual material. The end result becomes a shadowy optical illusion, and is difficult for the mind to comprehend.

Also jarring to the eye was Jamie Salmon's Lily, a hyper-realistic, disturbingly oversize silicone bust—beautiful, but hard to look at. Wisely, Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts, of nearby Binghamton, paired the piece with a captivating, flickering, photosensitive sculpture by Sungchul Hong titled Perceptual Mirrors.

A welcome sight were Johnston Foster's playful sculptures, animals crafted from bright orange traffic cones. His sharks, seen at New York's Downtown Fair in May, were accompanied here by a pair of rhino brothers. Foster's gallery, New York's Emmanuel Fremin, also was featuring photos by Moby, and promised the celebrity musician would be on hand at the booth Friday afternoon.

Tibor de Nagy, also in New York, was touting an artist appearance of its own, from Jane Freilicher, a local landscape painter who is being honored with a career retrospective. Her cheerful seaside and floral compositions, displayed on brightly colored walls, capture the spirit of the area in broad, easy strokes.

Top row: on left, a painting by Jason Poremba from Karyn Mannix Contemporary, East Hampton, at ArtHamptons; at right, David Datuna take at Birnam Wood Galleries at ArtMarketHamptons. Middle Row: at left, at ArtMarketHamptons, Michael Scoggins has a larger than life notebook drawing of G.I. Joe at New York's Freight + Volume; at right, ArtHamptons displays Mr. Brainwash's Superman art from Greenwich, Connecticut's Samuel Owen Gallery. Bottom Row: at left, at ArtHamptons, Karyn Mannix Gallery showed Lauri Lynnxe Murphy's "Geminocapitas luncus;" at right: "Deer Head" by Chris Roberts Antieau from New Orleans's Red Truck Gallery at ArtMarketHamptons. Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Top row: on left, a painting by Jason Poremba from Karyn Mannix Contemporary, East Hampton, at ArtHamptons; at right, David Datuna at Birnam Wood Galleries at Art Market Hamptons. Middle Row: at left, at Art Market Hamptons, Michael Scoggins has a larger than life notebook drawing of G.I. Joe at New York's Freight + Volume; at right, ArtHamptons displays Mr. Brainwash's Superman art from Greenwich, Connecticut's Samuel Owen Gallery. Bottom Row: at left, at ArtHamptons, Karyn Mannix Gallery showed Lauri Lynnxe Murphy's Geminocapitas luncus; at right: Deer Head by Chris Roberts Antieau from New Orleans's Red Truck Gallery at Art Market Hamptons.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

artnet News spotted a few mini-trends across the two fairs. A little bit of celebrity, a little bit of of pop culture, and a little bit of . . . hipster Brooklyn? The same image of actress Audrey Hepburn inspired works at both fairs, while nostalgic icons such  Superman, Wonder Woman, and G.I. Joe were also on hand. We spotted several pieces depicting mounted animal heads that wouldn't have been out of place at a trendy comfort food restaurant.

All in all, the Hamptons fairs have an undeniable laid-back charm that contrasts nicely with the spring's more hectic, blue chip–heavy New York City art fairs. Just like the Hamptons themselves, ArtHampton and Art Market Hamptons might not hold up year round, but for summer, they are just right.