East Hampton is home to countless celebrities throughout the summer, including 24-time Grammy Award-winner Beyoncé, her equally successful husband Jay-Z, and their beautiful children – who reside in a spectacular $26 million East Hampton estate. Turns out, the luxurious real estate market wasn’t the only thing that attracted Queen B and her family to the East End. The intriguingly vibrant Hamptons museum scene complimented Beyoncé’s maturing career and vision as an artist.
A scene from her newly released visual album, Black Is King, was filmed in East Hampton’s Guild Hall Moran and Spiga Museum Gallery during last summer’s exhibition, Ugo Rondinone: Sunny Days, that took place from August to October of 2019. You can view the works by renowned Swiss artist, Ugo Rondinone’s featured sun-themed sculpture and paintings in the film. Another East End filming location that made a cameo in Black Is King was Sylvester Manor Educational Farm on Shelter Island.
The new film, based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift, premiered on July 31, 2020, two weeks after the one-year anniversary of the theatrical release of Disney’s global phenomenon, The Lion King, which stared Beyoncé as Nala. Black Is King reimagines the lessons from the 2019 blockbuster for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns—written, directed, and executive produced by Queen B herself, exclusively available for streaming on Disney+.
As per usual, Beyoncé’s outfits did not disappoint—first in a gold-adorned dress and headpiece, then changed into a zebra print suit, shorts, and bodysuit—while performing the song Already in the Moran Gallery amidst Rondinone’s “sun sculptures” and gilded rings cast from vines and placed at alternating angles in the gallery. The Parkwood Entertainment production crew took over the entire facility, with the exception of the John Drew Theater, which managed to usher in 700 people for two sold-out magic shows without anyone suspecting that Beyoncé was in the galleries filming this powerful project.
Similar to his other solo exhibitions at art institutions across the world, Ugo Rondinone uses the circular vine as a symbol of renewal because of its life cycle, reminiscent of the solar cycle. The theme of rebirth and renewal was reflected throughout Black is King with golden rings referencing the “circle of life” from the story of The Lion King. “Ugo Rondinone’s visually arresting exhibition at Guild Hall caught the eye of Beyoncé and her team because of Rondinone’s ‘sun sculptures’ (golden rings) and the thematic relationship to the cycle of life in The Lion King. I understand that Beyoncé, Jay-Z and their daughter Blue had previously visited Rondinone’s long term public art work, Seven Magic Mountains in the Nevada desert, and are admirers of the artist’s work,” Guild Hall Executive Director, Andrea Grover noted.
For nearly nine decades, Guild Hall has been one of the Hamptons’ leading art establishments—revolutionary in combining a museum, theater, and education space all under one roof—continuing to embrace their open-minded mission to provide a welcoming environment for art, artists, and the public to enjoy. Guild Hall never fails to find innovative ways to support creativity in everyone, clearly displayed with them being a part of this impressive collaboration with Beyoncé and Disney+.
Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information on Guild Hall, visit www.guildhall.org.