Pictured Above: Norman Mooney’s “Windseeds,” to be displayed at Bridge Gardens.

If you’re just taking baby steps out into the post-Covid world, a trip to a sculpture garden might be just what the doctor ordered — fresh air and a chance to see great art in a socially distant but still exciting atmosphere.

Alice Aycock’s “Cyclone,” on view at SAC 

The Southampton Arts Center at 25 Jobs Lane in Southampton has revamped its sculpture garden, reinstalling a new brick pathway through its classic Caesar Garden, and putting together a new exhibition, “Whimsy,” curated by Eric Fischl, which opened to the public on Memorial Day Weekend. 

“A long-time friend and collaborator of Southampton Arts Center, Eric Fischl’s latest installation on our grounds continues to wow and inspire,” says SAC Executive Director Tom Dunn. “These playful sculptures are bold, vibrant, energetic works that complement our recently improved grounds. “Whimsy” is another great example of SAC’s commitment to our community, offering a safe, inclusive space for everyone to experience arts and culture.” 

Featuring works from artists including Alice Aycock, Louise Bourgeois, Hans van de Bovenkamp, Mel Kendrick, Larry Rivers, David Salle, Almond Zigmund, and more, this public art exhibition is free and open to the public

Among these works is Larry Rivers’ infamous 16-foot-tall pop art sculpture, Legs, which has long attracted both admiration and controversy when installed on a quiet side street in Sag Harbor. Alice Aycock’s 10,000+ pound “Cyclone,” Louise Bourgeois’ “eyes,” and David Salle’s “Elko Park,” which has not been seen in 30 years, will be on display. 

Anita Wright of Group for the East End, Shane Weeks of the Shinnecock Nation, Taralynn Reynolds of Group for the East End and Daniela Kronemeyer of SAC install a native garden at SAC.

With help from partners at Group for the East End, The Perfect Earth Project, Long Island Native Plant Initiative, and Shane Weeks from the Shinnecock Indian Nation, SAC also installed a native plant garden on the grounds. These efforts are a nod to SAC’s ongoing commitment to the environment as well as the community by offering a free public space for all to enjoy, any time. 

In celebration of these recent improvements and the installation of “Whimsy,” SAC is hosting their inaugural summer cocktail party, Whimsy in the Garden, on Friday, June 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Learn more at southamptonartscenter.org/cocktail-party.

Over at the Peconic Land Trust’s Bridge Gardens at 36 Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton, a new installation, “Uncommon Ground,” opening June 26, will include more than 20 larger-than-life sculptures from the hands of 14 contemporary sculptors, working in a variety of materials including metal, stone, marble, and wood.

The exhibition has been extended through the fall of 2022 to allow for amply-distanced viewing and anticipated programming including music, curator’s tours, and artists’ talks throughout the year.

Gino Miles’ “Shelter,” to be installed at Bridge Gardens.

Participating artists include Kevin Barrett, Norman Mooney, Bill Barrett, Joel Perlman, Hans van de Bovenkamp, Richard Heinrich, Robert Perless, Alex Barrett, Gino MIles, Carole Eisner, Harry S. Gordon, David Hayes, Steve Zaluski, and Peter Rosenthal.

Kevin Barrett’s “Guided Spirit” was created expressly for the exhibition — its rhythmic, organic forms echo the branches of nearby trees and the lyricism of the garden terrain. Norman Mooney’s “Butterfly Effect” seems to have germinated from the garden soil, growing beyond its physical possibilities, while Robert Perless’ “kinetic Pulsar” is beckoned by the wind and light to create a trail of reflective rainbows and curiosities.

“The sculptures are wonderfully paired with their surroundings — they enhance the garden landscape and provide another layer of meaning to our visitors,” says Bridge Gardens Director Rick Bogusch.

Bridge Gardens is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more details, call 631.537.7440.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she 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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