Fun and Funky Art Southampton Greets Guests With Bansky Walls and a Trick Selfie Mirror

This is by far the best fair in the Hamptons.

Russell Young, Marilyn Crying (2013) at Tagliatella Galleries.

Of the three Hamptons-based art fairs, Art Southampton is by far the best.

On opening night, the fair was jammed with all the East End art buyers and the more voluminous, expected crowd of Louboutin-heeled, champagne-swilling Hamptonites. There were more than 2,500 people in all. That’s a pretty good turn out.

Ormond Gigli, Girls in Windows, New York (1960) at Beetles + Huxley.

Ormond Gigli, Girls in Windows, New York (1960).
Photo: Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley.

With about 75 outstanding galleries from far-flung locations like Seoul, Munich, and Brussels (and of course, ample representation from New York, Miami, and Long Island), there is a wide variety and of course quality of work on view. But overall this fair has the best dealers, the best art and is the best place to be looking at and buying serious art during the summer out on the East End. No competition.

But for all the Basquiat and Warhol wannabes lining the aisles, yes recognizable brands a big out here with dealers this year, there are several booths boasting solid secondary market selections from big names, like the Indianapolis-based Long Sharp Gallery, which is touting works on paper by Joan Miró, black-and-white Warhol prints, and a fun Keith Haring print.

Banksy, Grumpier Truck Door (2013) at Keszler Gallery.

Banksy, Grumpier Truck Door (2013).
Photo: Courtesy of Keszler Gallery.

Similarly, there are enough prints by Banksy and Mr. Brainwash floating around to open a small museum. But if a true Bansky original is what you desire, head to Keszler Gallery.

Stephan Keszler, the premiere dealer of excavated Banksy walls (who made a guest appearance in the film Banksy Does New York, and who may or may not have called this reporter out for her characterization of him as the “villain” of said film) has two at the fair—a brick wall done in Detroit in 2010, and an amusingly apposite truck back door that reads “the grumpier you are, the more assholes you meet” from Brooklyn in 2013.

“How do we know this is really him?” one fairgoer said to a friend, bemoaning Banksy’s anonymity. “I think it’s a scam!”

“It’s on his website, it was in the movie, and if you want to buy it we have proof that it is a Banksy,” Keszler responded when we alerted him of the woman’s skepticism. “Do you want to buy it?” he asked.

Rafa Macarron, Caos at Galeria Casa Cuadrada.

Rafa Macarron, Caos.
Photo: Courtesy of Galeria Casa Cuadrada.

Nearby, Bogota-based Galeria Casa Cuadrada has a selection of sculptures and paintings by Spanish artist Rafa Macarron, which feature spindly, Nightmare Before Christmas-looking characters rendered in pastel and Day-Glo colors.

Towards the entrance, Lower East Side staple Catinca Tabacaru Gallery serves up an impressive collage by Felix R. Cid, which stitches millions of tiny concertgoers together into one massive party, along with a selection of Shinji Murakami‘s delightful block sculptures.

Shinji Murakami, Marilyn, at Catinca Tabacaru.

Shinji Murakami, Marilyn.
Photo: Courtesy of Catinca Tabacaru Gallery.

The highlight of the fair, however, is Benjamin Rollins Caldwell‘s Label Whore Mirror 1, which eschews the quintessential selfie-baiting shiny artwork in favor of a bona fide selfie mirror, which films viewers taking pictures of themselves in it. The sides of the mirror are covered in hundreds of labels ripped from the backsides of denim jeans.

“It’s part of a larger conversation on vanity,” Caldwell said. “It’s a mirror, but not one that you could actually use for any real purpose.”

Art Southampton is at Nova’s Ark Project from July 9–13.

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