Hamptons Art Hub © 2013
Art Seen: Art Southampton Opens a Big Show
by Sandra Hale Schulman
DISPATCH - JULY 27, 2013
Along with a drenching rainstorm, Art Southampton blew into town, delivering on all fronts a show that amply filled the enormous tent that spanned 100,000 square feet. With a smart layout, high quality work and a four-hour long opening preview on Thursday, July 25, thousands of people made their way through the rain and traffic jams-with many walking distances along County Road 39-to attend the VIP Opening Reception. Within an hour (give or take some minutes), the parking lot had been closed and police diverted cars away from the art fair leaving drivers to fend for themselves.
Still, once inside civility and art prevailed.
While there was no live music like at Art Hamptons and artMRKT Hamptons, there were performances. Hardest to miss was Kevin Berlin's spectacle "Alien Invasion," which found the PT Barnum-like Berlin herding a glam squad of 6-foot-tall girls wearing little more than thongs, green body paint, antennae and brandishing light-up ray guns around the pavilion.
Southampton Mayor Mark Epley found himself surrounded by Artist Kevin Berlin's Alien Invasion Blurb: Art Southampton opened to a packed house, despite the traffic and weather woes, featuring artists from around the world.
Scores of photographers and curious onlookers followed them from booth to booth, stopping for photo ops every few minutes. I've never seen so many happy (mostly male) collectors taking part in the shoots and walking away with green body paint all over their expensive suits.
The actual performance was more of the same, with the Aliens and Berlin posing in front of his painting exhibition sponsored by Gallery Valentine. His new work is based on the disconnect between modern society and how alien human beings can seem when they are more interested in their techie gadgets than in human connection.
Director Nick Korniloff believes the pace in the Hamptons is less frenetic than in Miami where he has produced fairs for the last 23 years, and is looking to "cultivate a collectors market with a lot of interactions and socializing with the dealers." He smartly waited until two weeks after the other fairs, on a weekend filled with some of the biggest charity events of the season. Dealers from Art Miami followed him here, and one wonders how much larger the fair can get. If the quality and enthusiasm remain this high, then the sky is the limit. Or, maybe the pocketbooks of Hamptons art collectors.