William Lewis and Tom Tuft of Lazard Ltd. were at the opening reception for the Southampton Center, a new entity for the building and grounds previously used by the Parrish Art Museum.
One knows one of the artists in the inaugural exhibition quite well: Diane Tuft, Tom Tuft’s wife, is showing photographs of glaciers.
“You’re melting in it,” a friend said to the artist, whose dress’s rippling-water print echoed the image behind her.
“When I’m there, that’s what I do,” Tuft replied.
She got funding from the National Science Foundation to be an artist in residence living at McMurdo Station in Antarctica for six weeks. She has also worked in Iceland and Greenland, using an infra-red camera. She first experimented with it in Aspen, on a hot, sunny morning.
“When I finished, there was nothing left to photograph, it was just pieces of ice dripping.”
In another room, hedge-fund manager Joe DiMenna watched slow-motion movies of dancers by David Michalek, joined by Stefan Reyniak, a private-equity executive, and his wife, Pauline Reyniak, a former dancer with the New York City Ballet.
Reyniak said the work is meditative and peaceful, slowing down time and “creating space to discover the profound, beautiful moments that we never notice in real time.”
Michalek arrived, identifying one dancer from Senegal, another from Indonesia.
He filmed 56 dancers in his studio on West 23rd Street. Some wore their national costumes, others had garments designed for them. The project is called “Slow Dancing.”
Michalek supports his artistic projects through private commissions.
DiMenna received one of the artist’s pieces as a Father’s Day present; it’s in his foyer and features his daughters. He’s talked with Michalek about filming his horses, though it would be tough to bring the animals into the studio where Michalek has the lighting and backdrops for his process.
DiMenna is a polo player; his team, Equuleus, named after the constellation, will be taking part in a polo tournament benefiting the Robin Hood Foundation on Aug. 11.
Also on view is a Bentley Meeker project, shooting lasers through Poland Spring water bottles. The effect, projected on opposing walls, is an array of lines in criss-crossing patterns in hot-blue and green.
The space is being programmed by co-curators Zannah Mass, formerly the cultural director for New York’s Dumbo area, and Tom Hall, who has worked with film festivals in Nantucket and Newport.
Mark Epley, the mayor of Southampton, said the toughest part of the project will be raising money.
Mara Manus, the former executive director of the Public Theater, said the focus at present is developing an audience before making major investments.
“How many cultural buildings throughout the U.S. are empty right now because they spent the money before building an audience,” Manus said.
The aim is to be year-round and to appeal to local as well as weekend and seasonal visitors.
The center’s film slate has new and older fare, movies for children and documentaries, as well as several coming out of film festivals before they hit theaters, including “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” “Prince Avalanche,” and “Short Term 12,” whose star, Brie Larson, will attend the Aug. 17 screening.
Tomorrow at 11 a.m. Lea Carpenter talks about her book “Eleven Days.” Afterward Lise Evans, wife of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s J. Michael Evans, fellow education philanthropist Simone Levinson, and Carpenter’s sister-in-law Ashley Brokaw will host a private lunch for the first-time author at Tutto Il Giorno. For a calendar of events see www.southamptoncenter.org.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Daniel Akst on books, Martin Gayford on art.