‘Bonac Blind:’ On Art & The Housing Crisis

Artists have a lot to tell us about the way through social issues, both around the world and close to home.

On Friday, Jan. 15, the Parrish Art Museum dives into the topic of affordable housing and preservation on the East End with artist Scott Bluedorn, whose “Bonac Blind,” a duck blind repurposed as an off-grid microhome, is currently on view in the meadow at the museum in Water Mill, along with Southampton Housing Authority Executive Director Curtis Highsmith, Jr.; architect Bill Chaleff, who specializes in sustainable design; and conservationist Josh Halsey.

Arts Reach and Special Projects Senior Cuator Corinne Erni hosts the discussion, which will be streamed live at 5 p.m.

Registration for the program is online here.

According to Scott Bluedorn, “The Bonac Blind is a multi-faceted art intervention: A floating, off-grid microhome that references traditional Bonac culture of fishing, farming and hunting while also serving as a comment on the erosion of this culture due to the compound problems of housing crisis, climate change, and modernity.”

For Mr. Bluedorn, “Bonac Blind” is a double entendre, obviously referring to duck blinds used during waterfowl season. But the title also points to the ways in which much of the area’s current population is blind to Bonac culture and the many problems it faces. Mr. Bluedorn’s intention is to raise awareness of the drastic shortage of affordable housing in the Hamptons, which has caused a mass exodus of working-class people, particularly in the generations of East Hampton families known as Bonackers or Bubs, who are increasingly leaving the area for more affordable regions, taking with them character, history, culture, and tradition. At the same time, “Bonac Blind” references current trends of tiny homes that are sustainable, resilient, and adaptive.

First installed on the water in Springs, East Hampton, “Bonac Blind” now sits in the Parrish Meadow amid the same switchgrass that covers the structure. Complete with off-grid amenities such as solar roof panels, solar batteries, a single bed, end table, side chair, and a wood burning stove—the tiny house is appointed with homey and practical objects like duck decoys affixed to the ceiling, a clam rake over the window, seining nets, and a lamp made of sea kelp from Montauk.

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

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