North Fork/South Fork: East End Art Now

Part I: May 23 through July 18, 2004
Members' Opening Reception and Talk, Saturday, May 22, 6 pm to 8 pm
"The Land, The Light, The Water" with Curator of Art Alicia Longwell

Part II: July 25 through September 12, 2004
Members' Opening Reception and Discussion, Saturday, July 24, 6 pm to 8 pm
"A Sense of Place"

For the summer of 2004, The Parrish Art Museum will present the exhibition North Fork/South Fork: East End Art Now. For nearly a century and a half, Long Island's legendary East End has been a destination not only for sun-seeking vacationers but for artists who come to enjoy the scenic beauty and practice their craft as well. Ever since the Tile Club expeditions in the 1870s, the first artistic forays to the island, both the North and South Forks have been highly desirable locales for the artistic community.

As we look to the future and a newly expanded museum complex on a nine-acre site overlooking the glorious Shinnecock Bay - a vista often depicted by William Merritt Chase - The Parrish is positioned to become the leading cultural institution of the East End and the repository for the body of knowledge that brings the estimable history of North and South Forks artists together.

This large scale survey, organized by Parrish Curator of Art Alicia Longwell, will take a wide-ranging look at some 40 artists at work here on the East End today, making a persuasive case for the endurance of the region as a vital art colony.

The exhibition will include several highlights throughout the summer. A newly-commissioned work by Tony Oursler for the Museum's Job's Lane fašade will engage passersby using a video image of a face projected on a sculptural form. Oursler's work creates a talking identity that mirrors our own humor, hopes, foibles and dreams. Several other site-specific projects to be installed over the course of the summer will further enliven the presentation.

In Part 1 of North Fork / South Fork, an "Artist's Choice" exhibition will be selected by Elizabeth Peyton, who has virtually reinvented the genre of portrait painting for the 21st century. Looking at portraits in The Parrish collection, including those by William Merritt Chase and Fairfield Porter, and at works in Samuel Parrish's founding collection, Peyton will bring fresh and original insights in her installation of Parrish favorites. For Part 2, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov will also create an installation for the museum. Designated one of the world's 10 greatest living artists by ARTnews, Ilya Kabakov has been making installations throughout the world since 1984, and now lives on the North Fork.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-scale catalogue including an introduction by Longwell that will take a fresh look at the historic development of the East End art colony and convey its ongoing vitality, and will be presented in two parts: Part I, from May 23 through July 18; and Part II from July 25 through September 12, 2004. Both installations will include a heady mix of artists-long time residents, recent arrivals, year-rounders and "summer people"-each drawn by the land, the light and the water in countless ways. Despite diverse artistic practice and divergent social circles, these artists have much in common. Like the generations of artists who have come here before them, they have found a haven and a home that inspires, restores and keeps them returning to the East End.

Jane Freilicher (b. 1924) has painted the view from her Water Mill studio for over forty years. As a young artist she was introduced to the area by artist Larry Rivers and they soon met Fairfield Porter in Southampton. They became a close-knit circle of artists who worked against the tide of abstract art in the 1950s. Freilicher's steadfast resoluteness in depicting nature has led her to record not only the beauty but the reality, as rampant development dots the Mecox landscape with 'McMansions.'

Elizabeth Peyton (b. 1965), a relative newcomer to the North Fork, lives in the village of Orient. She is a young artist who paints and draws portraits of people who are close to her-whether they are family and friends or royalty and pop stars in the pages of People magazine. She has virtually reinvented the genre of portrait painting and intentionally plays with our notions of celebrity and fame. The natural setting has begun to appear in her work, inspired by the evocative North Fork landscape.

Ibram Lassaw (1913-2003), until his death last year at the age of 90, was one of the last surviving members of the first generation of Abstract-Expressionists and still at work this past year in the Springs sculpture studio that he built in the 1950s. He had recently revisited a suite of paintings on glass made in the 1940s, using the latest digital technology to produce a new body of work from these images. These astonishing photographs testify to the continuing creativity of this estimable East End artist.

Participating artists in Part I include Alice Aycock, Lynda Benglis, Vija Celmins, Michael Combs, Jessica Craig-Martin, Robert Dash, Rafael Ferrer, Barnaby Furnas, Jane Freilicher, April Gornik, Robert Gober, Michael Halsband, Ibram Lassaw, Malcolm Morley, Tony Oursler, Elizabeth Peyton, Matthew Satz, Arden Scott, Keith Sonnier, Michelle Stuart, and T.J. Wilcox.

Participating artists in Part II include: Ross Bleckner, Barbara Bloom, Tricia Brown, John Chamberlain, Chuck Close, Eric Fischl, Robert Harms, Mary Heilmann, Bill Komoski, Tony Just, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Barbara Kruger, Donald Lipski, Donald Moffett, Jorge Pardo, David Salle, Cindy Sherman, Billy Sullivan, Sue Williams, Jane Wilson, and Joe Zucker.