Artists Take Over the Museum

For seven weeks this winter, artists will take over the Southampton Arts Center, turning its galleries into a web of pop-up studios, where visitors can watch them work or come by for a series of Thursday night hang-outs, playing ping-pong and listening to music as they discuss the methods and madness that make great art.

SAC’s Artistic Director, Amy Kirwin, is curating the exhibit, which opens on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Certain people have the opportunity to see artists’ studios, but not everybody,” said Ms. Kirwin in a late January interview in the gallery. “We wanted people to get a sense of what a studio is like, to get to see that process.”

Curator Amy Kirwin in artist Paton Miller's studio space in the museum.  |  Madison Fender Photography
Curator Amy Kirwin in artist Paton Miller’s studio space in the museum. | Madison Fender Photography

Ms. Kirwin approached numerous artists from a wide range of disciplines, and was met with an enthusiastic response from the artists.

“It came together very quickly. Two or three of the artists were between studios, so it worked out well. Any time our staff is in the building, they can be working,” she said. “They were up for creating artwork in front of people. Some of them have very big personalities. The artists involved like collaboration and they’re social.”

 Artists Scott Bluedorn, Daniel Cabrera, Darlene Charneco, Kara Hoblin, Ruby Jackson, Laurie Lambrecht, Jerome Lucani, Paton Miller, and Jeff Muhs will be transforming parts of the galleries into studio space, while artists Christine Sciulli and Bastienne Schmidt are coordinating a collaborative project, “Handoff: Weaving in Space,” at the entrance to the gallery.

Artists will be working in the studios, which will be open to the public, Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. 

Paton Miller, Jerome Lucani and Jeff Muhs already hang out regularly, playing ping-pong and discussing their works over drinks, so the Thursday night hangouts, which are open to the public, grew organically out of their friendship, said Ms. Kirwin.

Scott Bluedorn
Scott Bluedorn

The wide variety of media used by the artists in the exhibition is also an inspiration. 

Laurie Lambrecht is a photographer, while Ruby Jackson makes mobiles that involve glitter glue, Kara Hoblin is a chalk artist and Scott Bluedorn’s drawings have had a long reach thanks to their use on Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s beer labels. Darlene Charneco is working on a project involving elaborate memory maps while Jeff Muhs paints and sculpts. Paton Miller is a painter and Daniel Cabrera is a multimedia artist, while Jerome Lucani is working on a project involving water and vibration. 

“We’re going to post updates on our website (southamptonartscenter.org) on who’s going to be here when,” said Ms. Kirwin. “I hope people will come back and check on the progress of the work.”

Ms. Lambrecht is a photographer and former sweater designer who has been combining her history in textiles with her photography.

“I work with fiber with my imagery — the photographs that I tend to look at have sort of a woven look to them,” she said. “In nature, that’s so much a part of the way things grow.”

Ms. Lambrecht said she plans to hang magnetic boards on the walls of her studio, used to pin up her photographs, and will be bringing small frame looms, little tapestries and embroidery projects into the gallery.

“It’s cool because there will be other artists around. It will be very different for me. I have a solitary process, which is very meditative, and maybe that’s what I’ll get to share with people. The studio is like our little box, and we all get to be outside our box in a real way. This is like going to a new playground and seeing what games other kids play.”

Artist Darlene Charneco's "Book of Hope."
Artist Darlene Charneco’s “Book of Hope.”

Artist Darlene Charneco’s process is also a solitary, meditative one, but its one that can’t help but draw attention from people nearby. One of her signature projects is the “Book of Hope,” a series of texts made with finishing nails, each nailed with an intentional thought into boards that make up chapters of the book.

Ms. Charneco is one of the artists in the exhibit who is currently in between studio spaces.

“I’m hoping to be in the space quite a bit,” she said. “Things happen at a certain time for a reason. This is a shared space, so it’s a challenge as well. I’m very solitary a lot of the time. I do my practice in silence, although there’s a ripple of the sound with the hammering. People I’ve lived with didn’t think they could live with the hammering, but they’ve found they can fall asleep when I’m working. There’s nothing aggressive about it. At a certain point, the wood does resonate and start to make its own sound.”

Artist Ruby Jackson
Artist Ruby Jackson

Ms. Charneco hopes to work on page nine of the Book of Hope during the exhibit, and to work on her memorymap project with people who visit the exhibit, this time using the historic museum building as a template. Memorymaps are Ms. Charneco’s way of viewing spaces holding information and experiences through layered time, as part of a project called The Self-Assembling MemoryPalace, about the evolution of a navigable collective memory. 

“I want to take in this space and time with people, seeing what the visitors who come in bring, visualizing it very abstractly and creating a memory map,” she says.

Christine Sciulli and Bastienne Schmidt pitched the “Handoff: Weaving in Space” project to the museum as an Exquisite Corpse-style collaborative project, with nine women working in sequence to leave their mark on the piece.

The piece will be constructed and manufactured in the museum, using ropes, threads and textiles. The artists will be referencing the drawing-in-space tradition of Eva Hesse, Sheila Hicks, and Fred Sandback, creating a three-dimensional drawing – weaving and subsuming their contributions to generate a large-scale spatial installation to be completed by the show’s closing. This piece “invites discussion of conventional notions of authorship to explore the contemporary necessity of collective making,” according to the organizers.

“Handoff” artists include Louise Eastman, LoVid, Sabra Moon Elliot, Saskia Friedrich, Toni Ross, Bastienne Schmidt, Christine Sciulli, Morgana Tetherow-Keller, Virva Hinnemo, and Almond Zigmund.

Artists will also be offering workshops, including Wednesday kids workshops, throughout the exhibit. The details are still being finalized, but will be online at southamptonartscenter.org/events.

TAKEOVER! will run through Sunday, March 24.

Southampton Arts Center, is located at 25 Jobs Lane in Southampton Village.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

One thought on “Artists Take Over the Museum

  • February 8, 2019 at 6:59 pm
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    I couldn’t be more proud that Ms. Kirwin has taken this initiative to show local artist’s work and their process.
    How exciting. How necessary this is for the whole community. Bravo!

    Reply

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