INSTALLATION OF WORKS FROM THE PARRISH’S COLLECTION
Skylit Galleries Showcase American Art from Mid-1800s to Present
SOUTHAMPTON, NY 5/22/2012 — The Parrish Art Museum will open the doors
to its new building in Water Mill on November 10, 2012, with installations of works
from its outstanding permanent collection on view for the first time in its 115-year
history. Ranging in date from the nineteenth century to the present, the Parrish’s
holdings include more than 2,600 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by
many of America’s most influential artists.
The inaugural installation of the collection in the Parrish’s new building,
established in a series of skylit rooms, will focus on the leading characteristics of
the Museum’s permanent collection. Each gallery will provide a narrative framework
within which visitors can see and experience masterworks of art, organized to
convey and celebrate the story of America’s most enduring and influential artists’
colony: Eastern Long Island. The four overarching concepts that provide the
foundation for this installation are: 1) highlighting the strengths of the Museum’s
in-depth holdings; 2) exploring specific relevant themes; 3) focusing on an
individual artist and his or her studio practice; and 4) presenting a cohesive
narrative of American art, with particular attention to important movements in art
history as they have developed among this unprecedented group of artists.
Viewed as a changing portfolio rather than a fixed presentation, the
installation will begin with art from the 1970s to the present, bringing to the fore
the brightest exemplars of artists working today on the East End, including many of
the so-called Process generation such as Chuck Close, Lynda Benglis, Mary
Heilmann, Malcolm Morley, Alan Shields, Keith Sonnier, and Joe Zucker, as well as
those succeeding artists who returned to figuration, including Ross Bleckner, April
Gornik, and Donald Sultan.
A gallery dedicated to the Parrish’s strong holdings in landscape paintings will
take as its theme American Views, bringing together works by nineteenth-century
masters including William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, John Frederick
Twachtman, and twentieth-century practitioners including Jane Freilicher, Sheridan
Lord, and Jane Wilson.
The Parrish’s in-depth holdings of two preeminent American artists, William
Merritt Chase and Fairfield Porter, are surveyed in adjoining galleries. Chase was a
portraitist and landscape artist virtually unequaled in his day, and the gallery will
feature several masterworks as well as photographs from the Museum’s extensive
William Merritt Chase Archives. Also included will be a range of works by Porter, the
preeminent twentieth-century realist painter, who moved to Southampton in 1949.
In his writings as art critic, Porter expressed his admiration for the Abstract
Expressionists, particularly Willem de Kooning, yet maintained a steadfast figurative
vision throughout his work. Several of his paintings illuminate the inspiration he
found in the surrounding landscape of the East End and among his friends and
colleagues. As with Chase’s work, Porter’s creative approach will be framed by
archival materials, including sketchbooks and photographs. The Museum has
published a fully illustrated and highly informative book, Fairfield Porter Raw:
The Creative Process of an American Master, that will be available through the
Esteban Vicente: Portrait of the Artist is the first in a series of gallery
installations that will pinpoint a single artist and his studio practice. This lyrical
abstractionist arrived in America in 1936, schooled in the old world academic
tradition of his native Spain and fresh from a sojourn in the heady milieu of 1920s
Paris. Yet his openness to new influences and to new friendships, including those
with artists Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, assured his
critical role in the evolution of Abstract-Expressionist discourse in 1940s and 50s
New York. Paintings and works on paper, along with ancillary materials to further
illuminate Vicente’s life and career, will be on view.
In the Company of Friends will look at creativity and connectivity among
artists who came to prominence in the 1950s and 60s, when the response to
Abstract Expressionism took a multiplicity of forms, including Minimalism and Pop.
Works by Dan Flavin, Roy Lichtenstein, Alfonso Ossorio, Larry Rivers, and Leon Polk
Smith will be featured.
The interior Spine Galleries run the length of the exhibition space and provide
an intimate setting for viewing smaller-scaled works on paper and the opportunity
to focus in on a variety of themes. The Artist in the Studio will bring together
images that convey the nexus of creative activity in photographs of William Merritt
Chase, Fairfield Porter, and Roy Lichtenstein, among others.
In Jean-Luc Mylane the focus will be on a suite of the well-known French
photographer’s recent photographs of the Texas landscape and its avian inhabitants
that links the plein-air tradition to thoroughly contemporary practice.
The light and landscape of Eastern Long Island have drawn artists to the
region since the Long Island Railroad extended its service to Southampton in 1870.
Members of New York’s Tile Club visited Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Montauk,
Greenport, and Shelter Island in 1878, and William Merritt Chase established the
Shinnecock Hills Summer School of Art, the first school in America devoted to pleinair
painting, in 1891.
World War II saw the departure of many notable artists from Europe to the
United States, and many of these émigrés, among them Max Ernst, André Breton,
and Marcel Duchamp, visited the East End. American artists of the New York School
followed, such as Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem de
Kooning, and Esteban Vicente. For the past 60 years, the East End has been home
to a veritable pantheon of modern and contemporary artists, among them Fairfield
Porter, Larry Rivers, Jane Freilicher, Roy Lichtenstein, April Gornik, Cindy Sherman,
Eric Fischl, Ross Bleckner, and Dorothea Rockburne.
The Parrish’s core mission is to celebrate the art of Eastern Long Island, both
past and present, and its profound influence on the modern visual imagination. The
Museum’s holdings, which include important works by the abovementioned and
other seminal artists who have lived and worked in the region, reflect this objective.
Images, left to right:
William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), The Bayberry Bush (Chase Homestead in Shinnecock
Hills), ca. 1895. Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 33 1/8 inches. Parrish Art Museum, Gift of Mrs.
Robert Malcolm Littlejohn, Littlejohn Collection.
Fairfield Porter (1907-1975), Anne in a Striped Dress, 1967. Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches.
Parrish Art Museum, Gift of the Estate of Fairfield Porter.
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), XXXVIII, 1983. Oil on canvas, 70 x 80 inches. Parrish Art
Museum, Museum Purchase, Ahmet and Mica Ertegun Fund, Mrs. Lawrence B. Dunham
Fund, in Memory of Lilian Haines Crittenden, and Alice Crocker Bequest Fund, and with
funds from Ambassador and Mrs. Ronald Lauder, and Ahmet and Mica Ertegun. © The
Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
The Museum's programs are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York
State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in
New York State's 62 counties, and the property taxpayers from the Southampton School
District and the Tuckahoe Common School District.
The Parrish Art Museum is located in Southampton, New York. Founded in 1897, the
Museum celebrates the artistic legacy of Long Island’s East End, one of America’s most vital
creative centers. Since the mid-1950s the Museum has grown from a small village art
gallery into an important art museum with a collection of more than 2,600 works of art from
the nineteenth century to the present. It includes such contemporary painters and sculptors
as John Chamberlain, Chuck Close, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, Elizabeth Peyton, as well as
such masters as Dan Flavin, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Willem de
Kooning. The Parrish houses important collections of works by the American Impressionist
William Merritt Chase and the post-war American realist Fairfield Porter. A vital cultural
resource serving a diverse audience, the Parrish organizes and presents changing
exhibitions and offers a dynamic schedule of creative and engaging public programs
including lectures, films, performances, concerts, and studio classes for all ages. On July 19,
2010, the Parrish broke ground on a new building designed by internationally acclaimed
Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The 34,400-square-foot facility will triple the
Museum’s current exhibition space and allow for the simultaneous presentation of loan
exhibitions and installations drawn from the permanent collection. The new building opens
November 10, 2012.