Fine art in the Hamptons just got a little finer: Christie’s is back. They held a soft opening private reception for collectors, Sunday morning, at their new Southampton outpost, the 5,600 square foot art deco glass-front at 1 Pond Lane. It’s a former auto shop restored by owners David and Simone Levinson. Christie’s first show, “Out East,” features famed artists who worked out here, including East Hampton Abstract Expressionists Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner and Alfonso Ossorio, Southampton realistic painter Fairfield Porter and pop icon Roy Lichtenstein, and 20 year Montauk resident Andy Warhol.
Carpenters Workshop — an international gallery that represents artists who push the boundaries between functionality, design, sculpture and fine art — shares the space. “We’re really proud of the collaboration,” Sara Friedlander, Christie’s Deputy Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art, told us.
“Last summer,” Friedlander continued, “we debuted a selection of our highlights at the Parrish Museum auction. Since then, we’ve been looking for a more permanent home. We knew the moment we walked in that we had found it: the extraordinary light, the high ceilings, and the idea of a multi-use space. Artists have been repurposing buildings in the region for decades, repositioning old barns into studios. Transforming this garage into a gallery is very much in that spirit.”
It’s a carefully curated first exhibit to be sure. “We conceived of the idea of the show, put together a list of artists we felt were important to the region and then called private clients, many of whom were happy to include works,” Friedlander continued. “Our clients who are sellers understand the importance of the Hamptons as a collecting community so people were very excited about the idea.” The Warhol photographs come from the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Friedlander walked me over to meet Ashlee Harrison, Carpenters Workshop Director of Americas. “We’ve always wanted a seasonal exhibition space in the Hamptons, so this is a perfect opportunity,” Harrison told us. (Their permanent space takes up the top two floors of the former Takashimaya building.) “We made a selection of some master works and works that we felt would be approachable for the Hamptons lifestyle.” She pointed to an organic, large sculpture by Nacho Carbonell, that was lit within, qualifying it as functional art. “The commanding scale is perfect for a spacious Hamptons home.”
Near it, was an ensemble of ceramic vessels by the German artist (based in Los Angeles) Roger Herman, each on its own stand. “We presented them in this fashion,” she continued, “because each is unique. Herman works with his pieces like three dimensional canvas, building the ceramics then painting them as he would one of his wall pieces.”
For those who enjoy immediate gratification and impulse spending: everything is available for immediate purchase. “Down the line we may use this space to preview works of art before auction,” Friedlander told us. “But for now, it’s functioning as a private selling gallery and exhibition space.
Happily, their stay is open ended. “We’re in a world in which things are changing and we want to be where our clients are,” Friedlander continued. “Right now, the collecting community is here. The artists are here. So, we are here.”
No Rules – an exhibition and sale of works by the American Abstract Expressionist artist Grace Hartigan. Dates: July 17th through August 8th