It was a “Ta Da” moment as the new Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill threw their doors open for their first Midsummer Party at their new site. Although the community has been enjoying it since November 2012, many of those who streamed into the 34,400 square foot, elongated structure were seeing it for the first time. Shepherded by Museum Director Terrie Sultan, designed by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron; with collaboration by the landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand, it is the fulfillment of eight years of fundraising and planning.
There is 12,200 square feet of skylight exhibition space — 7,600 for the permanent collection, including galleries for William Merritt Chase and Fairfield Porter – as well as a cafe and theater.
Alice Aycock, Ross Bleckner, Dorothea Rockburne, Cindy Sherman, Keith Sonnier, and Donald Sultan were among the artists who came to party. Aerin Lauder and Eric Zinterhofer, Agnes Gund, Eric Javits, Cythia Rowley, Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper, Nicole Miller, Stacey and Matthew Bronfman, Mildred C. Brinn, Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Etta Froio, Charlene and James M. Nederlander, Margo MacNabb Nederlander and James L. Nederlander could also be seen nibbling the unusually good finger food, catered by Olivier Cheng. We also spotted Rick and Kathy Hilton who told us, “I’m very proud of our community for having such an incredible, beautiful, elegant facility.”
“I absolutely love everything about the new museum,” Trustee Dorothy Lichtenstein told us. “I think the galleries are just incredible for showing art work. I love the exterior and that you can see the structure of the ceiling: the actual construction, trusses, and supports. So, you can really understand how the architecture supports the building.”
“I love the skylights,” Lichtenstein continued, “Eastern Long Island is famous for this beautiful light. It’s one reason I think such artists as William Merritt Chase and others that were painting outside in nature and started coming out here in the 19th century.” The Parrish now brings that light inside.
Outside, will be the Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley Event Lawn, “where they’ll do wonderful works of art, and have concerts and other outdoor gatherings,” said the Lanes, Broadway producers who are generous supporters of the arts.
“I love the fact that the artists love it and that attendance is up tenfold,” said Trustee Debbie Bancroft, wearing Calypso. “It’s like a new museum. It’s just extraordinary. It’s what we should have been. Now, we can actually show the art. So, we have a lot of artists contributing because it’s such a new and exciting space. We have theater, entertainment, lectures, bigger family and education programs. The whole thing is growing exponentially. It’s very exciting.”
“The architecture is aspirational,” said Trustee Alexandra Stanton. “The reference, a modern potato barn, fits in perfectly with the landscape. We’ve all worked very hard on the board to get this building opened. The free programming for the public makes this a wonderful cultural regional center for the East End of Long Island. We’re open late at night so we accommodate families with multiple jobs…And now we are debt free on 14 acres!”