Artistswork

With New Format, the Inimitable Bridge Fair in the Hamptons Leans Into Its ‘Day Party’ Ethos

A Tony Matelli sculpture at The Bridge in 2017

A Tony Matelli sculpture at The Bridge in 2017

PIERRE LE HORS

The intensely crowded, ruthlessly competitive art fair landscape has been changing rapidly of late, with the entry of unconventional startups like Object & Thing, a Brooklyn event that eschews scores of booths for a single exhibition, and Future Fair, which will offer exhibitors a cut of its profits after it launches in New York next year. Now one of the more unusual fairs already on the scene is making some changes.

The Bridge fair, which since 2017 has invited a handful of dealers to the eponymous Hamptons golf club to show in shipping containers each September, is shifting to a new concept. Instead of individual dealer presentations, there will be what organizers are billing as curated pavilions—10 in all—with works for sale from various galleries by artists like Frank Auerbach, Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring, Paul Sietsema, and Susan Te Kahurangi King.

(The official name of the affair is also being changed, from the September Art Fair to the September Art Show, though it’s generally been referred to as the Bridge fair.)

Richard Prince and Keith Mayerson will have solo pavilions at the event, which runs September 13 to 15 at the ultra-exclusive, ultra-luxe club, and sculptor Tony Matelli will curate a group presentation. That show, titled “The Day After,” will include works by Matelli, Dike Blair, Werner Büttner, and Irving Penn.

Max Levai, the president of Marlborough Gallery and a co-founder of the fair, told ARTnews that the changes are to make it easier for dealers to participate, since it “frees them from the logistics” of organizing a dedicated booth. He noted that the event has always been “more of a day party than a traditional fair.”

The event, which coincides with Bridge owner Bob Rubin’s annual show of rare and vintage cars, will also feature an expanded outdoor sculpture exhibition with monumental works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Beverly Pepper, Tony Cragg, Matt Johnson, and other artists on view.

We encourage people to come out and enjoy the site,” Levai said. “We always saw it as a sort of end-of-summer celebration of this really incredible, special place, and way a to connect with all of our friends and clients at this time when everyone’s both excited and saying goodbye to summer.”

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