The inaugural Hamptons Fine Arts Fair arrives at the Southampton Arts Center

By Zoe Kava

The inaugural Hamptons Fine Arts Fair arrives in Southampton Village this Labor Day weekend and will serve as a celebration for the explosion of the East End art scene. It is also a welcome return to the East End art and social scene after suspending all art fairs and exhibitions last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of attendees are expected to go through what ShowHamptons producers have dubbed “the most prestigious art fair of the summer” at the Southampton Arts Center (SAC), and the event will feature artwork from 70 selected national and international galleries, with 51 face-to-face stands and several virtual stands in 2D and 3D.

“This is a very sophisticated audience: the audience that is coming, is an art expert and is open to discovering new artists, so it’s a finding about discovery in a sense,” said Rick Friedman, founder and CEO of the fair. . “Not only do we have the blue chip artists, the Andy Warhols and the Arshile Gorkys, but we also have some wonderful pieces from some emerging artists who are highly respected.”

Over the years, Friedman has learned quite a bit about the art fair business. Nearly a decade ago, he created ArtHamptons, the first Fine Arts visual arts fair in the East End, conceived by Cindy Lou Wakefield, which he sold in 2015.

It now presents Hamptons ’first fine arts fair, which will feature works by more than 400 artists with more than 1,000 pieces, which will add up to more than $ 100 million in art available for immediate acquisition. Prices start at around $ 10,000, with the “sweet spot” between $ 50 and $ 100,000. The fair will focus on a variety of topics, including African-American artists, emerging artists and contemporary abstract female artists, and international artists from around the world.

Visitors to ArtHamptons in Bridgehampton, the previous art fair created by Rick Friedman.

“It’s really amazing that we can bring all of this together in the center of Southampton Village,” Friedman said. “You have artists and galleries everywhere, from Russia, to Cuba, to Brazil, to India, and it’s special to be able to put on this show here.”

SAC on Jobs Lane is in the middle of what Friedman describes as an art center for art lovers. He adds that it is the perfect place for this year’s fair.

“Southampton is becoming a small mecca of the art scene, where all the other Jobs Lane shop windows are an art gallery,” he said. “So we are very excited to celebrate this celebration for the art scene that the East End is experiencing these days.”

The Hamptons Fine Arts Fair will transform SAC, the original home of the Parrish Museum of Art, into a series of galleries in the main building, along with several air-conditioned pavilions, a sculpture park and a VIP lounge. In addition, a Pollock Pavilion will be created where attendees at the fair will have the opportunity to visit a replica of Jackson Pollock’s studio in Springs, with the famous barn floor painted with paint.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to produce a show on these incredible grounds with the Southampton Arts Center,” Friedman said. “Most fairs are held at convention centers, but here you look where you are, you’re on Jobs Lane and Main Street; it’s no better than that.”

David Benrimon Fine Art, Alexander Calder “Apparing Orbs”, 1974. Gouache and ink on paper, 29 1/2 “x 43 1/2”.

The Hamptons Art Fair will also be the first East End art fair to feature both a face-to-face and virtual reality component for people who may be hesitant or unable to attend the Southampton event in person. In 2020, the pandemic led ShowHamptons to create its first all-virtual art fair with more than 2,000 works of art from 90 international galleries, in both 2D and 3D virtual reality booths. The Hamptons Fine Arts Fair will incorporate this same technology to include 70 galleries in the virtual reality version.

“Using software called artPRESENT on your computer, you can walk into the booth, walk around, art can talk to you, and you can click to get all the information about the piece,” Friedman explained. “It’s like you’re at the fair, but you’re in line in the comfort of your own home.”

The Hamptons Fine Arts Fair is one of the first such events to return to the area since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Friedman said, adding that it serves as an exciting opportunity to return to introduce people to the art world after its wake. of a global closure.

“The art world is watching very closely to assess whether art fairs are coming back, whether people are going out and spending money,” he said. “So it’s kind of a critical moment, because people will be watching us very carefully, not just all over the country but all over the world.”

Bearing in mind COVID-19, and on the rise in many parts of the country, masks will be mandatory at the event regardless of vaccination status.

The Hamptons Fine Arts Fair takes place on Thursday 2 to Sunday 4 September at the Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton. The preview for the opening night, Thursday, September 2, is 4 to 10 p.m., with SAC benefits and tickets cost $ 150 for admission as of 4 p.m., $ 125 for admission to at 7 p.m. The fair takes place from Friday to Sunday at 9pm tickets are worth $ 30. Visit for tickets and details.

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