In a darkened room, oversize images of bell jars pulsed and sparked with color.
The works are part of Mike Kelley’s “Kandors” series (2000-2011), named after Superman’s birthplace and the capital of the fictional planet of Krypton.
They are now on view in “Mike Kelley: 1954-2012” at the Watermill Center in Water Mill, New York, along with colorful Kandor posters, a white cardboard model of the futuristic metropolis and videos of Kelley’s performance pieces.
Dedicated to the Los Angeles artist, who committed suicide in February, the show was one of the highlights of a busy art weekend in the Hamptons.
It also included Watermill Center’s annual benefit, an art fair, gallery exhibitions and an exclusive tour of a private art collection.
The activities attracted billionaire Wilbur Ross, hedge fund manager Adam Sender, and Paul Schimmel, the ousted chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
“I remember a time when the entire summer was really dead,” said Manuela Paz, director of VIP relations at the Armory Show, New York’s largest art fair. “Then it was only August. Now that window of downtime is closing.”
Paz organized a reception for the fair’s clients at the chic home of screenwriter Chiswell (“Chum”) Langhorne in Sag Harbor on Sunday.
Guests sipped kir royales and munched cupcakes as they strolled around the pristine, light-filled house designed by architect Annabelle Selldorf.
Langhorne, who has been collecting for a decade, mixes large-scale works (by such hot contemporary artists as Barnaby Furnas and Dan Colen), with preserved animals, wooden found objects and custom-designed furniture.
In the dining room, a large black-and-white drawing of a shark by Robert Longo hung over a massive wooden table, empty but for a ceramic figure of a polar bear in the center.
On the second floor, several items vied for attention: a large abstract photograph by Thomas Ruff; a magnificent white peacock; a steel sculpture by Frank Stella.
Nearby, art dealer Jose Martos -- barefoot, his shirt untucked -- welcomed visitors to his Bridgehampton house. For the third summer in a row its rooms, backyard, swimming pool and even the attic are doubling as exhibition spaces. This year’s event, “Creature From the Blue Lagoon,” was curated by Bob Nickas and includes more than 100 works by 40 artists.
When I visited, Martos’s 2-year-old son’s bedroom was the only space off limits in the two-story house.
“The baby is sleeping upstairs,” said Martos, who also operates a gallery in Chelsea.
Art displayed in a home -- as opposed to a white cube of a gallery -- can take on a personal dimension. There were plenty of surprises and clever pairings of art and environment.
A blue boat with a sail matching the surrounding foliage by Aaron Suggs floated in the middle of a swimming pool.
Servane Mary’s mirrored Plexiglas panels with spray-painted images of Catwoman lined the walls inside a wooden shed.
Lisa Beck’s strings of Lucite balls were hung from a wooden beam on the porch, inverting the images of the house, the lawn, the trees.
Inside the house, smaller works were parked among books, toys and furniture. In the kitchen, B. Wurtz had turned simple aluminum containers into sculpture by painting their backs with bright geometric compositions.
Prices range from $600 to $150,000. The show runs through Sept. 3 at 112 Sagaponack Rd. Information: +1-631-613-6698; http://www.martosgallery.com.
More art was up for grabs at Art Southampton, a new offshoot of Art Miami. It attracted Ross, Sheikha Paula Al Sabah and art patron Beth Rudin DeWoody.
“I haven’t seen Stevie Cohen, but I’ve seen a dozen hedge fund guys I know,” said New York dealer Asher Edelman, who was manning the booth of his Manhattan-based Edelman Arts gallery.
A thunderstorm dampened the fair’s VIP opening on Thursday and the following day was quiet, dealers said. It might have also been a sign of fatigue: Art Southampton was the third fair in as many weeks. By Saturday, things picked up.
“Nothing sells like hotcakes, but things sell,” said Edelman, who placed red dots next to a $750 robot sculpture by Cathy McClure and a $1,250 painting by Scott Covert, depicting the text on the gravestones of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. A large abstract painting by Doug Argue priced at $85,000, sold by the end of the fair.
Chicago’s KM Fine Arts quickly sold a small, rotund Botero sculpture for $390,000. Leila Heller sold a shimmering silver canvas by Rachel Lee Hovnanian for $28,000.
A hyperrealist silicone sculpture of a gray-haired man in a pinstripe suit guarded the entrance to Miami-based Unix gallery. The man wore finger puppets of Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami on his right hand.
“It’s Larry Gagosian,” said co-owner Alex Cesaria. The piece, “Master of Puppets,” is by Eugenio Merino.
This came as a surprise, as the statue’s face bore little resemblance to the mega-dealer. The gallery was asking $41,000 for the piece. There were no immediate takers.
(Katya Kazakina is a critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)
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