the east hampton star magazine
august 2016 volume 2
THE ARTS ISSUE Carter Burwell • Mary Heilmann • Jack and Eliza Philip Galanes • Bastienne Schmidt • Philippe Cheng Paton Miller • Trip Patterson • Yung Jake • Revel In Dimes david salle • Tina Fredericks • Frederic Tuten • Jackson Pollock Plus: Tainted Waters • Hillary vs. Trump • Big John Ryan
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Something About Mary When Mary Heilmann arrived in New York City from California in 1968, she wanted to be accepted by the male artists distinguishing themselves through Minimalism and Conceptualism, artists like Robert Smithson, Mel Bochner, and Donald Judd. “They didn’t want me,” she recalled recently in her Bridgehampton studio, seen here in a photograph by Michael Halsband. “I could hang with them, but they wouldn’t pay attention to the fact that I was doing sculpture.” At Max’s Kansas City, the clubhouse of that generation of artists, “I was sarcastic and usually high and drunk,” in the style for artists of the time. That was then. Now, warm, affable, and a teetotaler, she is also an art-world superstar. Mary Heilmann: To Be Somebody, her 2007 to 2009 cross-country exhibition, became a juggernaut that hasn’t stopped, resulting in international acclaim, multiple gallery and museum shows, and the long-sought respect of her peers. Her work is currently on view in a mini-retrospective at Whitechapel Gallery in London, through August 21. Her exuberant sculptural chairs (that’s one of them in the picture), arranged as part of a 2015 installation on a rooftop terrace of the Whitney Museum in Manhattan, have been widely praised. And, earlier this year, Heilmann was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Guild Hall of East Hampton at a gala event in New York. It took 40-plus years, but we all want Mary Heilmann now. 8
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August 2016 • Volume 2
I don’t know why my memories from those summers outweigh those of the rest of my childhood, but they do.”
over the hedge 20
Summer of Love
Quail Hill windmill Trump vs. Hillary
Paton Miller discovers a studio and an art trove 28
One Small Thing
Police blotter Smile!
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Alec Baldwin’s political conversation
Samba in the Sand
Parties for Good
Young blood needed at Artists vs. Writers game Watermill Center
Paddle and swim
Escola de Samba Boom! Rage with a conscience
Singing the Blues
The Rodney Dangerfield of the ocean
buzz 38 The bee list From t-shirts to tunics, East End entrepreneurs have been busy as bees
Question Authority Philip Galanes
8 out here 14 Contributors 16 The Wheelhouse 17 East Illustrated 18 letters & Notes
credits: Priscilla Rattazzi, LEFT; zoe cohen, right
The only Montauk spirits distilled in small batches on the eastern end of Long Island using locally sourced ingredients. Handcrafted in honor of the families who pioneered the Montauk Fishing Village and the rumrunners among them. “The best roadside eating place. Truly a most attractive spot.” — The East Hampton Star, September 23, 1932
50 ear to the rail 42
Good Vibrations Jack and Eliza By Levi Shaw-Faber
Brothers in Arts
Jake & Trip Patterson By Levi Shaw-Faber
Shake Your Money Maker
Revel in Dimes By Baylis Greene
The death of Jackson Pollock By Jennifer Landes
Saving our ponds By Christopher Walsh
• august 2016
I read hundreds of letters from people who are just trying to be kind, every week. I’m not giving up yet.”
By Frederic Tuten
Finding home By Christina Robert
Big John Ryan By Jack Graves
Delacroix in Love
halcyon days 88
66 Tainted Water
The House That Tina Built
Tina Fredericks’s final creative flourish By Lang Phipps Photos by Philippe Cheng
nowhere else 60
The film composer reveals what’s on his nightstand
credits: yung jake, left; sasha frolova, right; bastienne schmidt, center
Bastienne Schmidt and Philippe Cheng By Mark Segal
After curatorial positions at the Whitney Museum and the International Print Center New York, Jennifer Landes found her way east as an art appraiser, then a writer and art critic for The Star, where she is now arts editor. During graduate school, she published her original research in a catalog essay for the 1996 De Chirico and America exhibition. Happiest in the stacks of New York’s art research libraries, she was thrilled to return to them to re-examine the tragic end of East Hampton’s most famous painter (Terminal Velocity: The Death of Jackson Pollock, page 60). Lang Phipps, a writer and musician, has written on topics of cultural anthropology for The New York Times, New York, and Food and Wine. His first gig at the age of 14 was playing in a combo called All the Young Dudes at the Devon Yacht Club in Amagansett. The Dudes’ version of “Whipping Post” was heard across Long Island Sound in Connecticut. His story The House That Tina Built, appears on page 74.
Priscilla Rattazzi started her career as a fashion photographer and transitioned to become a fine arts photographer and author of books after her children were born. Renowned for her portraits and stunning black-andwhite landscapes, she’s published four acclaimed books about people and places (and dogs) she loves, including Best Friends, Luna & Lola and the stunning and much loved Georgica Pond, which is the subject of the article in this issue illustrated with her photographs, Tainted Waters, on page 66. She is currently working on a memoir. Christina Robert (Summer Kids, page 88) is an American journalist and writer living in the United Kingdom with a terrible ear for accents. Even after 25 years over there, she can’t fake a British one. She’s a trustee of the organization ClientEarth, which she calls “green for grown-ups.” She recently finished writing the first “green” beach read (look for it next summer), much of it written at the East Hampton Library.
Frederic Tuten, whose story Delacroix in Love appears on page 84, has written five novels, among them, Tintin in the New World, Van Gogh’s Bad Cafe, and a book of interrelated short stories called Self Portraits: Fictions. He has written for Vogue, The New York Times, and Artforum, as well as catalog essays on such artists as Eric Fischl, David Salle, and Roy Lichtenstein. A Guggenheim Fellow for Fiction, Tuten has received the Award for Distinguished Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Christopher Walsh was born in Manhattan and grew up in Montauk before moving back to the city, where he worked as a musician and journalist, including several years at Billboard magazine. In 2012, he returned to the South Fork and settled in Amagansett. When not covering politics and the environment for The Star, he works as a longshoreman in Montauk and occasionally comes out of music retirement to play guitar or piano with rock ’n’ roll bands. His piece on how to save our ponds, Tainted Water, appears on page 56. 14
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Biddle Duke Editor David Rattray & Helen Rattray Publishers Alex Coulter Art Director Levi Shaw-Faber & Bess Rattray Associate Editors Michael Shnayerson & Michael Halsband Editors at large Walter Bernard Design Consultant Contributing Writers & Editors Colleen DeBaise Lang Phipps Amanda M. Fairbanks Christina Robert Jack Graves Carl Safina Baylis Greene Mark Segal Carissa Katz Irene Silverman Jennifer Landes Christopher Walsh Fiction editor Iris Smyles Food editor Laura Donnelly CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Philippe Cheng Chloe Gifkins Morgan McGivern Zoe Cohen Durell Godfrey Craig Macaughton Dell Cullum Tara Israel John Musnicki Sasha Frolova Doug Kuntz Priscilla Rattazzi ILLUSTRATORS Durell Godfrey Peter Spacek ADVISERS AND FRIENDS Philippe Cheng Gretchen Vater Geof Drummond Carissa Waechter Graphic Design Matt Charron Paul Friese Jordy Mark SALES Jane Bimson Min Spear-Hefner Dan DeSmet John Wyche Zach Zunis Business manager Robin Kuntz PR and Marketing Chelsea Audibert Russell Bennett, Everything else, which is a great deal Bella Lewis, Editorial Intern eastmag.co EAST (2016, No. 2) is published four times a year, in June, July, August and November by The East Hampton Star, 153 Main Street, PO Box 5002, East Hampton, NY 11937. Subscriptions and circulation: EAST is distributed as an insert in The East Hampton Star on the applicable publication dates and at select locations around the East End of Long Island. To become a subscriber please call: 631-324-0002, reach us via email at email@example.com, or go to www.easthamptonstar.com and click on subscriptions. We welcome your letters, comments, queries, ideas. Send them to EAST, P.O. Box 5002, East Hampton, N.Y. 11937 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Currents Art Issue took shape. We couldn’t possibly do justice in 10 issues — let alone one issue — to the East End art scene. This is our small homage to the deep well of meaningful art that’s being made here every day and that springs from this place. Trip and Jake Patterson, Bastienne Schmidt and Philippe Cheng, Mary Heilmann, Jack and Eliza, Revel in Dimes, the Watermill Center, Frederic Tuten’s fiction, Christina Robert on being a summer kid, and the movie-score composer Carter Burwell make up a mere splinter in the creative oak that has taken root here. The Stuntman by Eric Fischl, 1981 In another wonderful piece of magazine-making serendipity, “You OKay?” something in a press release about a historic Amagansett wind I’d heard the boat engine approaching. You almost always hear mill property caught our eye. We shared it with our contributor a boat when you’re swimming off the beaches, even if it’s miles Michael Shnayerson, who vaguely remembered that he’d actually away. When one’s close, you really hear it, as if it’s on top of you. once lived there. “I have a story about that windmill!” Michael The two guys peered down at me, worried looks. I must shot back. And what a story it is, complete with a run-in on the have been a funny sight in the middle of Gardiner’s Bay, bathing tennis court with Geraldo Rivera and an adolescent attempt to cap, earplugs, swim fins. I pulled a plug from one of my ears and help Kurt Vonnegut with a manuscript. smiled. “Yes, I’m Okay!” I replied to the two men in the boat. “I “Ya, I’m Okay.” have a plan.” But I wasn’t so sure, which was part of the fun, really. “A plan?” one of them replied, rightly astonished at the im “You Okay?” “How you doing?” “How’s it going?” I hear that probability. a lot these days as we make this magazine — curiosity, a touch of I’d set out from Accabonac Harbor and was now heading amusement, even concern flashing in the inquisitor’s eyes. south somewhere half a mile off Barnes Landing with the outgo Like that swim a few years ago, you set out with an idea and ing tide. I had fins. I could swim for hours. I had plenty of dayall the skills at hand, and you summon the necessary confidence. light, and just enough confidence. It’s my experience that all those things in equal measure get you “Yes, I’ll be fine. The tide’s with me. I’ll end up at Albert’s through. And a little luck. Landing. I think.” For a magazine you also need a good team, but then you They gave me a drink of water and I kept swimming with catch a patch of current, you benefit from charitable strangers. the current till I hit the beach. It When we set out to make this second issue of EAST we had ended up being a long walk back to an idea: the High Summer Issue. It is the end of July, after all. the truck, and a good adventure. But about a month ago an old friend, Paton Miller, sent me an We hope you enjoy the swim in email lamenting local press coverage of the art scene here (with this issue. And, do let me know what the exception of The Star, of course). The press, he said, had a you think. responsibility to keep its ear to the art rail. His message carried with it his own story of how he found his studio here, and in —Biddle Duke the process how he discovered a master’s hidden cache of work. email@example.com Paton’s email became a story (Finding Fairfield, page 16), and we grabbed his helpful current of an idea, and this “ear-to-the-rail” illustration by durell godfrey
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â€˘ august 2016
letters & notes
Peter Dankowski, working his Wainscott potato farm
MUCH PRIDE, AND NO “Junk”
To our readers: Thank you
To the editor:
Many of you called and sent messages thanking and congratulating us for our new magazine and offering feedback. We will publish commentary and letters about content, space permitting, in coming issues: Labor Day-Fall (Aug. 18), and the Holidays (Nov. 17). We are grateful for your encouragement, comments, ideas, and corrections.
Re: Fighting Fake Farms, (July, Volume 1) First, I want to say that the new magazine in The East Hampton Star is beautiful! And, I have encouraged everyone to go out and buy this week’s paper. Second, thank you for including an article about how important it is to save farmland in East Hampton. However, Mr. Shnayerson, I felt, did not represent my family’s farm very well. I am a little disappointed by the mention of our “ramshackle” and “junk filled” barn. He obviously didn’t know what he was looking at. No one takes better care of their equipment than my father. I would be happy to show Mr. Shnayerson the brand-new barn my father worked very hard to put up to hold just his equipment that we have so much invested in.
Each piece of “junk” is an important tool to my father’s operation. Also, my sister and I were beyond fortunate that my father was able to put both of us through private colleges. He wanted to give us a fighting chance in the world without having large student loans hanging over our heads. However, the article is incorrect in describing us as “currently in college at full tuition.” I graduated in 2009, and my sister two years later. I work for Ralph Lauren in East Hampton and do what I can to help my father. My sister currently resides in Newport, Rhode Island, and we both are very, very appreciative of the life my father has worked tirelessly to provide. Sincerely, Betty Dankowski, Wainscott 18
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— The editors
corrections An article about Peter Beard, The Dreams and Despairs of Peter Beard, July 2016, page 22, incorrectly states the date of the publication of his first book, The End of the Game. It was published in 1965. An article about Evan Frankel, The Land Baron of Brigadoon, July 2016, page 78, misattributed a sculpture, Reclining Woman, on Frankel’s estate. The sculptor was Henry Moore. An article about two Montauk fishermen and a daring rescue of one of them who was lost at sea, Sole Survivor, July 2016, page 17, incorrectly spelled one of their names. It is Anthony Sosinski.
A NOTE about our COVER The cover is from a photo series titled A Few Weeks Ago When I Was Younger by Zoe Cohen, a New York–based photographer and the head of social media at Marc Jacobs International. A Few Weeks Ago When I Was Younger explores the themes of nostalgia, memory, and youth. Cohen grew up spending summers at her grandmother’s house (see The House That Tina Built on page 74) on Georgica Pond (see Tainted Waters on page 66). “My entire childhood summers were spent drinking green slushies and eating tuna sandwiches from the Main Beach food shack, and when we were feeling extra adventurous we would canoe on the pond. It seemed only fitting to shoot Julia (the model) riding on Susan Sarandon (the zebra) in the pond.” Cohen also photographed the band Jack and Eliza on page 42.
over the hedge
Summer of Love
It was 1973, the year Michael Shnayerson lived at the windmill at Quail Hill. He pretended successfully to be a tennis pro and unsuccessfully to be Kurt Vonnegut, and surprised even himself by defeating Geraldo Rivera on the court. Those long-ago memories of teenaged freedom were rekindled recently, when he read a real-estate ad. . . .
magansett’s private Quail Hill windmill is for sale (pictured) along with 5.5 acres of rolling meadow: yours for $8.5 million. It’s tiny — all of 1,300 square feet, including the attic where the original windmill workings are — but what a setting. I remember it well. Legend has it that Marilyn Monroe trysted here with Arthur Miller. Maybe a bit of that charge remained, for it was in the windmill’s second-floor bedroom that, at 18, I had my first fling, and it felt pretty great. This was back in the summer of l973, when my parents rented 20
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the windmill from Deborah Ann Light, a pharmaceutical heiress who owned all of Quail Hill, then 30 acres. The windmill stood in the midst of that estate, with a tennis court beside it. Light, known at the time as Deborah Perry, was eccentric — she later became a dedicated wiccan with a posse of cheerful pagans — and only rented the windmill to literary types she deemed worthy. My father was the editor-in-chief of Harper’s magazine at that time, so we passed muster. A short distance from the windmill was a summer bungalow, overlooking Quail Hill’s apple orchard, which Perry had rented that summer as well . . . to the novelist Kurt Vonnegut
over the hedge and his longtime companion, the photographer Jill Krementz. Summer in a windmill seemed cool to me, but I would have to do more than loaf around, my father made clear. I certainly wasn’t going back to the Amagansett I.G.A., where I’d spent a grim high school summer stamping cans and bottles in the beverage department for $1.65 an hour. But, what, then? The tennis court beckoned. Neither Light nor Vonnegut and Krementz ever set foot on it. Why not advertise as a tennis teacher with private court in The East Hampton Star and see what happened? It hadn’t even occurred to me to try out for tennis at Dartmouth — I was mediocre at best. But, teaching tennis, I realized, was easier than playing it, especially on such a beautiful court. Soon I had eight or ten students a day, and a fat roll of bills at the end of the week. Deborah Light learned only months later of my entrepreneurship, and was apparently horrified, so much so that she bulldozed the court. Now, it’s just meadow, with an imaginary line of ownership down its middle: If you’ve got the scratch, you can pay an additional $8.9 million for the roughly five acres adjacent to the ones on which the windmill stands, making it $18 million in all for eleven acres, including Quail Hill’s main residence. But no tennis court. Vonnegut was a kind and gentle neighbor with, at that time, an unlikely son-in-law: Geraldo Rivera, the television reporter. These days Rivera looks amiable and relaxed in front of the camera, but as a young turk with keen ambitions, he seemed rather arrogant to me — and, I guess, I seemed quite presumptuous to him, teaching tennis in my impertinent way, and hogging the court in the process. One day Rivera challenged me to a match, and, with a gulp, I agreed. In his late 20s, I’d guess, Rivera was a far superior player to me, very fit and athletic all around. But I was on that court eight hours a day: It was the one season in my life I could have beaten him. In fact, I did. To this day, I can see his angry scowl as he stalked off the court. Vonnegut was a quiet neighbor with one charming peculiarity: As a writer, he liked to move around. He would take his heavy manual typewriter and set up shop
The Quail Hill windmill was originally built in 1830 as a water mill for the surrounding farm fields, and was converted into a residence in the 1950s. Although fully renovated, the original works remain. Illustrations by Durell Godfrey for a few days in the garage, or a shack nearby. One day I found his typewriter set up in the garden shed, with half a typed page in the roller. Vonnegut was, as I recall, writing an extraterrestrial story — science fiction of the Vonnegut variety. I thought it would be amusing to add a couple more paragraphs
Vonnegut was, as I recall, writing an extraterrestrial story . . . I thought it would be amusing to add a couple more paragraphs to the page, so I did. to the page, so I did. And weren’t they, perhaps, a bit better than the ones above? That was the only time Vonnegut got angry at us. He complained to my father, and I was made to realize that this wasn’t amusing to the grown-ups. Thankfully, I was forgiven. For years afterward, Vonnegut greeted me warmly at cocktail parties, his non-filter cigarette between his fingers, with the inevitable “How’s that second serve?” For Vonnegut
had observed the epic match between me and Geraldo, and was not, I sensed, unhappy with the outcome. As for that summer fling, it did take place, just below those windmill workings of ancient and beautiful wood. A guitar was involved, and a girl named Susie, and a world that had seemed closed to me opened up at last, with the Eagles’ “Desperado” in the background. In 1990, Deborah Light donated half of her estate to the Peconic Land Trust, which formed the Quail Hill organic community farm, a wondrous enterprise, since grown to 35 acres. Anyone can join by paying a modest summer stipend and harvesting a member’s share of crops as they come up. At some point, the house Vonnegut and Krementz rented was razed to make room for more crops. Quail Hill is a gem, and so are the grassy acres above it, where the windmill keeps its quiet vigil, and soon someone will buy those acres for sale, and be the windmill’s next proud owner. All this is in the natural order of things — and really, for the best. But I, for one, will be sorry to see that haven closed off, and with it the sights of a golden summer in Amagansett a long, long time ago. • august 2016
over the hedge
ron galella, author of “sex and fashion”
Trump ahead on Newtown Lane
he real presidential contest isn’t happening out in America but right here on Newtown Lane in East Hampton. And, here, in what everyone says is Democrat central, Donald Trump has been ahead all along. The South Fork has long been a launchpad for presidents — well, if not a launch pad, at least a layover for candidates to eat a bit of barbecue, shake a few movie stars’ hands, and raise advertising and gas money for the last leg of the fall campaigns. It’s been largely Democrats: John Kerry, Howard Dean, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore; the Clintons even summered here for a few years. No candidate visits are scheduled for this summer, at least none that we have found out about yet. These things have a way of popping up. Stay tuned. Not that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are unknowns 22
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around here. In 1989, Trump was in the local news for advertising Trump Air’s $199 New York-to-Hamptons chopper service before anyone at Town Hall knew anything about it. “He was . . . very apologetic, in some respects,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Tony Bullock said at the time. “He really was most reasonable.” Trump Air and the chopper service eventually went bust. Donald himself kept coming into the 1990s, and when he was married to Marla Maples, they tried their hand at volleyball (left) during a fund-raiser at Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett. For several summers Hillary and Bill Clinton rented at Georgica, and two summers ago this year’s Democratic nominee stopped in to BookHampton to sign copies of her book, Hard Choices, along with former Vermont Governor Dean, pictured here with Ms. Clinton. Now, back to that local presidential contest. “The truth is it’s very, very close,” Valerie Smith of the Monogram Shop reported recently. Trump and Hillary were neck-and-neck in Smith’s brilliant marketing ploy of selling plastic party cups bearing the candidates’ names. She’s been doing it for many election cycles and keeps a running tally in the window of her shop (left). “Someone just bought 500 Hillary cups,” Smith said. “But Trump has been ahead ever since we brought in the cups in April. Trust me, some Trump person is going to come in here and say ‘I don’t like all those Hillary numbers in the window.’” In every election since 2004, her unorthodox cup poll has correctly predicted our next president. — EAST staff
over the hedge
Larry Rivers’s Legs on Madison Street in Sag Harbor
Nice Legs F
Technically, they were told to walk, but Sag Harbor’s Legs ain’t walking anywhere. And why should they?
or eight years, Larry Rivers’s fiberglass legs sculpture on
the exterior wall of an historic Sag Harbor house has been the source of debate and delight. Delight, well, because they are interesting, different, a bit iconoclastic. And, debate for two reasons: For one, because Sag Harbor Village officials say they are in violation of village zoning rules and, second, because that determination has spurred many to think, discuss, and sometimes disagree about the role of art in our lives and around our homes — big art in full public view. Like most juicy stories around here, it has been covered in The Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Page Six, and made into a short film. Janet Lehr and Ruth Vered, who put up the sculpture outside their house, a former church, are well suited for the fight: They own and run the Vered Art Gallery in East Hampton, and they took their battle all the way to the New York State Supreme Court. For them, it was the principle of the thing, but they also were waging the costly court war to ensure that the question of public art on private property got a fair hearing. Some of the naysayers argued that it was all a marketing ploy by these two gallery owners. Dan’s Papers chimed in: it would be like forbidding a Cadillac dealer from parking his new Escalade in his driveway. Supporters included dozens of artists who spoke out in favor of Legs at various hearings. Vered and Lehr received some 800 letters of support.
But the duo eventually lost in a legal ruling last fall, with the court siding with the village: The legs, the court said, are an “accessory structure” that has no permit and is too tall and too close to the property line. They had to go. In victory, however, the village seems to have dropped the issue. “Nobody has told me they must come down,” Lehr said recently, sitting in the Vered Gallery. “I love them in front of the building. I think they define art in Sag Harbor.” “The legs are still standing, and that’s where it stands,” said Stephen Grossman, the Sag Harbor attorney who represented Lehr and Vered in the case. The women “made their point in litigation. Nobody is upset about the legs anymore,” said Grossman, vowing to continue protecting his clients’ right to free speech and expression. “It’s time for the village to let it go.” Meanwhile, another battle over public art has bubbled up in Montauk, after the Surf Lodge commissioned a rainbow-hued mural painted by Jen Stark, a Los Angeles artist. Last summer, at the start of Memorial Day weekend, the Town of East Hampton issued a court summons saying the Surf Lodge had failed to obtain town approval for the colorful mural. The violation carried a $1,000 fine. But the town dropped that case late last year. Small victories, for sure, but in a region where art and artists have been at the heart of things for more than a century, public art holds a sentimental place in residents’ hearts. — EAST Staff • august 2016
photo courtesy the artist
over the hedge
Paton Miller, in Fairfield Porter’s studio, where he got his start, Southampton, 1988
When Paton Miller stumbled into Fairfield Porter’s studio in the 1980s, he found not just a workplace, but a surrogate family — and, hidden and forgotten in a corner of the old barn, a trove of irreplaceable paintings that would change forever his understanding of art, creation, and fame. 26
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was living on South Main Street in Southampton in the early 1980s, and I noticed what looked to be a vacant studio next door. I went to the main house and knocked on the door, and an elderly woman answered. I inquired about the studio, if it might be rented. The woman was Anne Porter, and she said yes right there on the spot, but that it would be available starting in one year. The year passed, and I moved in. The working space of the old barn was up a narrow staircase to the loft where hay was once kept. It was my first proper studio, and I felt immediately at home. There were storage racks on the ground floor, and tucked in to the back of one of them was a roll of linen. I passed it a few times, and curiosity finally made me pull it out and unravel it. The roll contained about 25 oils by the studio’s previous tenant, Anne’s husband, Fairfield Porter. A
critic and a painter, Porter had died in 1975. I took the paintings to Anne, and in her kitchen we peeled through the work. It was an odd group, probably considered not worthy of keeping by Porter. He was wrong. The works were a mix of early and late Porters. The early canvasses had the stamp of Thomas Hart Benton, a teacher of Porter’s, and the later works bore the influence of his friend and neighbor Larry Rivers. Some of the pieces were mature and wonderful. Anne was thrilled to see them again, and grateful, and some weeks later she gave me a small watercolor (below) with an image of a bus careening around a corner in Rome. The sheet had images on both sides of the same bus and was painted by Porter during a trip to Europe and Russia in the early 1930s. I worked in that studio for 25 years. I’d grown up in Hawaii, and after that had been a traveling gypsy. Then I stumbled on the Porters, and so much came together for me in their barn. It launched my career as a painter. I grew close to Anne and her family. They, in a way, became my East Coast family. When Anne aged into her 80s she sold the property. I moved to my new studio in Tuckahoe, where I work today. Some years ago I decided to offer the watercolor Anne gave to me to Guild Hall in East Hampton. I talked with Anne about it, and she thought it was a good idea. I called Guild Hall, and they were thrilled, adding that it would be an excellent addition to their collection, and that they had
A Rome watercolor by Porter, one of many recovered after his death
only a few of Porter’s works. I wasn’t surprised. While greatly appreciated by his artist friends, foremost among them Willem de Kooning, Porter was the tortoise of the group. Broader recognition of his work moved steadily but slowly, and really only came to full bloom long after his death. That old chestnut. Something occurred to me much later: how museums often miss important artists. Yet, artists often know who’s who, and the phrase “an artist’s artist” describes it. Porter was an artist’s artist. I had a vision of our area’s museum brass getting in their automobiles and making the short trip to Porter’s and many of his colleagues’ studios in the 1950s. Artists like being in museums’ permanent collections. Porter would have gladly given them a canvas — maybe even two. Which brings to mind Van Gogh. Most of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists were “shown the door” in favor of the more academic painters of their time. The famous result being the event dubbed the Salon des Refusés (The Exhibition of the Rejects), a show by artists whose work had been rejected by the Paris Salon. The original Refusés show, featuring such rejects as Manet and Pissaro, spawned an annual exhibit of work by “independents,” as they came to be known, including Gauguin, Van Gogh, Seurat, and Cezanne. The trick and the challenge is to be as tuned in to the here and now as was the great French art dealer Ambroise Vollard. He made a career of finding and supporting great artists before anyone else, Picasso, Renoir, and Van Gogh among them. If anyone ever had his ear to the rail it was good old Vollard, ahead of the curve by miles. Stories like Vollard’s and Porter’s are inspirations to anyone making art, whether we want to be discovered, or toil in happy obscurity. Paton Miller, an artist who works and lives in Tuckahoe, is the curator of “East End Collected,” an annual survey of artists and artwork currently working on the South Fork. In two shows over the past two years, “East End Collected” at the Southampton Cultural Center showed 70 artists and 150 works of art.
over the hedge
True Crime East Hampton • Police got a call from a 100-year-old woman living on Main Street, who said she had received a phone call in which she was warned that someone was trying to hack into her computer. When the woman responded that she did not have a computer, the caller hung up. • Police were called to the Regal Cinema by a man outraged that he and his wife were forced to wait outside the theater with the people queued up for the next movie. The man told police that “it was not fair to his wife to stand out in the cold with everyone else, because she is ill.” The management agreed to let the woman wait inside, but not the man.
Sag Harbor • Police found “several individuals in their early 20s who were soaking wet” after jumping off the bridge to North Haven. They promised not to do it again. • Thea Speranza of Meriden, Conn., was cited for bringing a seaplane too close to shore. She had brought the plane to Ninevah Beach to discharge passengers, and it became stuck in the sand due to low tide, according to the police report. Montauk • A thief stole a bicycle in the early hours from a backyard on Main Street, but was probably so disgusted by its slipping gears and locking chain that he threw it in the bushes on Essex Street, where sharpeyed police found it the next day. “He probably decided walking home would be easier,” the police report concluded.
One Small Thing . . . Smiles. They’re practically the American Way — other nations even mock us for them, suspecting our cheerful faces of being a trick (or, at best, just totally fake). But we know the real importance of the smile: It’s the high sign of the social contract, a visible expression of willingness to be a good neighbor, to engage for the common good, to share our common spaces with old-school civility. Sure, there are plenty of reasons not to smile: Brexit got you down? Worried about the Supreme Court? Just had your parking-space stolen by a driver who was texting behind the wheel? We get it. But, still, we persist. Study after study tells us smiling is good for us, like a little happy pill. And then, too, smiling isn’t about us; it’s about them. It’s a gift. Next time you pass someone on the sidewalk when you’re out for your morning stroll, next time you’re at the front of the check-out line, give it a try. The most astonishing thing often happens: You get a smile back. — B.D. & B.R.
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Alec Baldwin revives a town-hall style discussion series amid a historic election.
ummer, a time to unwind? To disengage, if only for a little while?
Nonsense! It’s presidential campaign season! An unprecedented one. The person who’ll succeed President Barack Obama, himself an Oval Office occupant without precedent, is likely to shape the Supreme Court for decades to come, not to mention chart a course marked by walls or bridges, inclusion or exclusion, more hope or — judging by the campaign so far — iron-fisted, orange-haired fear. Alec Baldwin, the actor, political commentator, and Amagansett resident, has devoted himself to resurrecting the Hamptons Institute, a town hall-style discussion series launched in 2010 by East Hampton’s Guild Hall in collaboration with the Roosevelt Institute. The brainchild of Mickey Straus, Guild Hall’s longtime chairman, who died in 2014, the Institute’s been dormant for a couple of summers, but the crazy politics of 2016 have sparked its renewal. The revived Hamptons Institute’s program will run for three evenings in August, offering discussion on the presidential election (Aug. 15), the Supreme Court (Aug. 22), and President Obama’s legacy (Aug. 29). Silver-tongued Baldwin has never been shy about expressing his political views. He’s also close with many thought leaders, more than a few of whom spend time on the South Fork. Baldwin has rounded up a number of them for the Institute’s talks,
• august 2016
among them: Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Michael Keegan of People for the American Way, and the media superstars Katie Couric, Ken Auletta, John Podhoretz, Adam Liptak, and Katrina Vanden Heuvel. And, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. “I want to see what O’Reilly says,” Baldwin said, referring to “The Obama Legacy,” the series-concluding panel that also features the conservative commentator Monica Crowley and writer and columnist Kurt Andersen, with Couric as moderator. “O’Reilly is very good at what he does. He’s a very talented man, a good broadcaster.… He’s powerful, confident. Everything you think about as a broadcaster, he has in spades.” Fox consistently earns the highest ratings among cable news channels, yet is widely considered not just conservative, even right wing, but the voice of the Republican Party. Fox owner Rupert Murdoch and news director Roger Ailes have shaped the modern TV media landscape, and Baldwin blames them for poisoning this political season. Ailes, the onetime media adviser to Richard Nixon, “wanted to rev up all this hate and bile and dissatisfaction, and he assumed it was all going to feed into the Republican Party. But it’s slipped over into what Ailes couldn’t imagine”: the almost surreal ease with which Trump dispatched a crowded field of seasoned Republicans making their own bid for the White House. All that will be the topic of “Presidential Politics” on Aug. 15, moderated by Auletta. Baldwin himself will moderate the discussion of the Supreme Court, with a panel composed of Keegan, Liptak — The New Yorker Supreme Court correspondent — and Michael Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law. The discussion was conceived in February, before Justice Antonin Scalia’s death thrust the court back into the maelstrom of partisan politics. A few days after Baldwin spoke with East, Britons decided to exit the European Union, following a vicious campaign that culminated in the assassination of a pro-E.U. Member of Parliament. “That’s connected to this” political season, Baldwin said. “We need more cooperation. Maybe not the kind we’ve had; some things have to change. But we need more cooperation.” More info at guildhall.org
— Christopher Walsh
Carl Bernstein, swinging and . . .
Rumor has it that the celebrity-studded Artists–Writers Game is looking for young blood.
eif Hope, 87, is the Artists’ manager, and the annual fund-raising game’s impresario. His team were perennial patsies in the old days, but have won the last three in a row, thus taking over the lead in the modern era dating to 1988. Hope says the Artists are okay. “There’s no geriatric crisis as far as we’re concerned,” said the restaurateur and artist recently. “The Writers, though, could use some Cubans.” Following last year’s 7-4 triumph, Hope, when asked if he didn’t perceive a sea change in the Game, confidently predicted the Artists would lose in 2016. Over the decades, the game, an August tradition in East Hampton, has drawn such luminaries as Woody Allen, Paul Simon, Chevy Chase, the late Roy Scheider, the late George Plimpton, Alec Baldwin, John Irving, Jay McInerney, Pele, Gerry Cooney, and Carl Bernstein. This year, it’s scheduled to be played Saturday, Aug. 20,
at 2 pm at Herrick Park in East Hampton (rain date Aug. 27). The event last year raised about $200,000, split equally four ways among the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, Phoenix House, East End Hospice, and the Retreat. Hope has always painted the Writers as ego-driven loners with axes to grind, in contrast to his confraternal, fun-loving Artists, who treat victory and defeat as the imposters they are. When questioned, Mike Lupica, the sportswriter, commentator, book writer, and columnist, who co-manages the Writers with Ken Auletta, an author as well as a writer on the media for The New Yorker magazine, threw Hope a curve: “To me, and I’ve probably played longer than anyone, it’s always been about fellowship and providing entertainment and raising money for good causes… It’s like a wonderful little town meeting. I know Leif paints the Writers as carnivorous, but
in the great scheme of things it doesn’t matter who wins. What matters is that we get some people whose names are recognizable, some players people may want to see — not bigger, younger, faster ones.” Contrariwise, it was the Artists, Lupica said, who’ve become caught up in winning, eyeing lineups hawkishly. “I am as competitive as anyone,” said the feisty 64-year-old, whose wife, he said, habitually reminds him what year it is after he slides into second base in his shorts. “But this Game is about fun and fellowship.” Lupica sees no decline either in the avidity of competition or in drawing power. “We had as many watching last year as we’ve ever had. Nobody’s desperate — there are always people who want to play, though I’ll admit they’re sometimes not the superstars they make themselves out to be.” “I’m reminded of what Brett Shevack, our third baseman, always says to me at the postgame party at Race Lane: ‘This is the best day of the whole year.’” — Jack Graves • august 2016
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og machines, body paint, acrobats, giant bubbles, Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald masks, fake cotton clouds, random and purposeful nakedness. . . . The annual Watermill Center benefit party and happening is sure to surprise, blow minds, and get you thinking. To be held this year on July 30, it brings out the freaky and funky in its artist residents and guests, making it not just a place to be seen, but a scene to witness. The center’s founder and director, Robert Wilson, offers a theme for the party every year that guests can either embrace or ignore, with some joyfully taking it to extremes. Then, residents of the arts center devise “performative” installations across the property that guests meander through while sipping cocktails and sampling hors d’oeuvres. One year, a participant lay naked in a shallow vat of molasses for guests to dip their appetizers into (or not). Lady Gaga and Marina Abramovic did. Oh, and yes, the guests are part of the arts fun. The list has included Lou Reed, Philip Glass, Jim Jarmusch playing guitar for arriving guests in the entryway, and many titans of art, music, fashion, film, and media. But, rubbing elbows with this crowd doesn’t come cheap. Tickets for the cocktail party start at $650, and a “distinguished benefactor table” runs to $50,000. A great moneymaker for the performance laboratory, the day typically brings in about $2 million. This year’s theme is “FADA: House of Madness.” If you can’t swing the ticket price, head to the center on Aug. 14, when it will hold an open house with reprises of some of the party’s installations.
Parties for Good
The best parties of the summer serve higher purposes — art, nature, human and animal welfare, healthy food, fishing, and farming. Here’s our party list organized by date.
Test your stamina and speed on or in the water this summer for a good cause.
East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue and the East Hampton-based Paddlers for Humanity run some of the most grueling and adventuresome events of the summer that double as fund-raisers. The paddle events raise money for children’s mental health and well-being programs, and East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue, which provides ocean and bay rescue services, benefits from the swims: • 18-mile Montauk-to-Block open-ocean paddleboard race on July 30, and a separate open-ocean paddle to Block on Sept. 5. p4h.org. • Montauk Ocean Swim Challenge, July 23, at Montauk, easthamptonoceanrescue.org • Red Devil Swim, August 8, Atlantic Ave., Amagansett, easthamptonoceanrescue.org.
• July 23, LongHouse Reserve, Serious Moonlight, LongHouse Reserve, 133 Hand’s Creek Road, East Hampton, longhouse.org • July 23, James Beard Foundation, Chefs and Champagne, Wolffer Estate Vineyard, Sagaponack, jamesbeard.org • July 30, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Super Saturday, Nova’s Ark Project, Bridgehampton, ocrf.org
• July 30, Watermill Center Annual Benefit and Auction, Watermill Center, 39 Water Mill Towd Road, Water Mill, watermillcenter.org
Samba on the Sand
Richie Siegler has built something big Monday evenings at Sagg Main
Beach. A few summer nights have been so huge the police arrived to find more than a 1,000 families, hippies, surfers, even a few royals gyrating on the sand to the sounds of Siegler’s drumming school, Escola de Samba Boom! If the weather cooperates, get yourself to Sagg Main Monday evenings at 6. The drummers will have you jumping and whirling in what The New York Times a few years ago called “A Rich People’s Woodstock.”
• August 6, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Hamptons Paddle for the Pink, Havens Beach, Sag Harbor, 8 a.m., followed by Hamptons Party for the Pink at a private residence in Sag Harbor, bcrfcure.org • August 6, Southampton Hospital Summer Party, southamptonhospital.org • August 12, Guild Hall Summer Gala, Guild Hall and private residence, East Hampton, guildhall.org • August 13, East Hampton Library, Authors Night, East Hampton Library and private residences, East Hampton, easthamptonlibrary.org
• august 2016
Singing the Blues Why can’t the humble bluefish get any respect? Laura Donnelly gives a little love to this most loveless of fishes (and now-rarest of dishes).
hey are cannibalistic. Their jaws
have sharp teeth. Their eyes are the color of a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog, yellow and as menacing and off-putting as an amber-eyed fish can be. Their insides are the color of old gray porch paint and dried blood. You will not find them featured on any local restaurant’s menu, no matter how local or “dock to dish” they claim to be. If they are even sold at the local fishmonger’s shop, they are the cheapest item in the store. Their flesh spoils quickly. What are we talking about? Just one of the most delicious, underrated, and overlooked fish in our waters. It was once an all-time favorite meal of Long Islanders, from old East Hampton families to Walt Whitman (who loved them, he said, even more than porgies): Pomatomus saltatrix, the only extant species of the family Pomatomidae. In other words, the bluefish. Having grown up in Virginia, I spent a good bit of time fishing the Chesapeake Bay. The blues, “snappers” when they are young, are prized as feisty fighters, and we all thought they were delicious . . . when fresh. Youth and freshness are the key with bluefish. You have to go back into ancient editions of the Ladies Village Improvement Society cookbooks — or peruse a church cook booklet from Springs or Amagansett — to find recipes for bluefish; more contemporary cookbooks give them short shrift. You can still buy an excellent smoked blue at the Seafood Shop in Wainscott (when available), which is just the thing with a horseradish-y dip. One recipe I found in the L.V.I.S. Centennial Cookbook committed the cardinal sin of combining fish with cheese — Roquefort, no less! Well, I suppose that’s one way to smother the fishy taste, if you’re not a real fish-lover: Roquefort,
Parmesan, garlic, shallots, and then lemon. Some other old-fashioned recipes of yore call for a layer of mayonnaise before broiling, perhaps enhanced with Dijon mustard or Old Bay seasoning or lemon. The fish display at the Citarella’s in East Hampton describes bluefish as “a full-flavored, silvery dark meat high in oily-rich omega-3. Adventurous palates will love their bold ocean flavor, with lemon or a delicate gray sea salt.” Price: $7.99 per pound. Honey, it’ll take more than that lackluster description to sell bluefish. A few years ago my friend Tom Schaudel, one of the most talented, funny, peripatetic chefs on Long Island, was trying to sell bluefish on his menu. It just didn’t budge. Then he changed the name to “cobalt snapper.” Isn’t that alluring and romantic and delicious-sounding? That bluefish entrée sold like crazy after that. At Lazy Point recently I came across a fellow fishing at sunset. I told him I was doing a story on bluefish. He suggested I get out my rod and get to it, they were biting. I confessed that I am better at procuring bird’s nests, if you know what I mean. Predictably, he replied that he doesn’t like them, he doesn’t eat them, he throws them back, and if he caught one, it was mine. Within 10 minutes he presented me with a good-sized (perhaps three pounds) snapper. I gingerly took the squirmer and cleaned it immediately. This
Bluefish Annie Sessler Fish printing/ gyotaku, 2013
• august 2016
is key. With a quick dusting of Hog’s Breath seasoning from Key West and some lime wedges, I had a free and delicious omega-3 feast. We need to bring back some respect for this Rodney Dangerfield of the Atlantic. At the very least it could become a “thing” to smoke it and turn it into a dip. I like to douse a nicely grilled piece in a super savory barbecue sauce recipe from the Chesapeake Bay Office of Seafood Marketing, Department of Economic and Community Development. (Gosh, I miss living near the epicenter of our country’s government. That is one sexy title!) If I haven’t convinced you, and you’re still feeling wary, take it from old Walt: “The blue fish, however, are the most delicious, to my taste,” he wrote. “Cooked while perfectly fresh, and not salted till fried, or broiled, they are fit for the most refined epicure.”
Maryland Charcoal-Grilled Bluefish With Hot and Spicy Bluefish Basting Sauce Here is my favorite recipe for bluefish. It comes from the Maryland Office of Seafood Marketing, Department of Economic and Community Development. 2 lbs. bluefish fillets 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup Dijon mustard 1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley 2 tsp. hot sauce 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
Blend honey and mustard in sauce pan over low heat. Stir in vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, hot pepper sauce, and salt. Add cornstarch, if desired, and cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Prepare charcoal grill with about 30 to 40 briquets. Grease a hinged wire hand grill and place cleaned and dried fish, cut into serving pieces, into it. Place fish, skin side down, over moderately hot coals. Fish should be about four inches away from coals. Cook and baste, turning a couple of times (three or four), until fish flakes when tested with a fork. This should take about 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Serve with extra sauce and some lemon wedges.
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The Bee List
Colleen DeBaise, who runs the online business-news-buzz website The Hampton Bee, sleuths out a selection of fun stuff and fantastic services for each issue of EAST. Colleen, also a former
small-business editor for The Wall Street Journal, lives in East Hampton and chose the common newspaper-industry name “Bee” (think Sacramento Bee) because bees are emblematic of the hardworking East End entrepreneurs she loves to champion. Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. • Tennis Dress
If you’re going to play tennis on the South Fork, you might as well look like Jackie O. while doing so. Meagan Ouderkirk and Antonia DiPaolo founded Hedge to bring old-fashioned elegance back to the courts. New this summer is the Dune racerback tennis dress, $235, at Relax in Sag Harbor or online at hedge-quarters.com.
If pottery is your thing, you can find it at Celadon Clay Art Gallery and Shop, which opened earlier this year in Bridgehampton. The studio, featuring the work of local artisans, is run by Eve Behar, president of the the Clay Art Guild of the Hamptons. These bowls are made by Nancy Robbins of Sag Harbor, whose glazes feature Sagaponack sand; $40. 128 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. nancyrobbinspottery.com
Brittany Torres, who grew up on the East End, seeks to capture the mood of its different villages, from Amagansett to Wainscott, with the nature-inspired scents of her soy • Baseball Hat candles. We’re partial to Quogue, with East Hampton Star notes of pineapple, cucumber, and mint; We know: You want to show off your news-geek $12 for votive size, at Etsy.com or pride by wearing this stylish $16 hat. The Star, which Hildreth’s Home Goods, of course publishes this magazine, has been “shining 51 Main Street, Southampton. for all” since 1885. 153 Main Street, East Hampton easthamptonstar.com/hats 38
• august 2016
The “urban beachwear” company founded by a pair of brothers from Montauk, Marley and Lennon Ficalora, sells seaside accessories at surf shops, as well as at their own Bridgehampton boutique. Dude. Buoy wallet, $28, Wampum, 2487 Main Street, Bridgehampton. 2487 Main Street, Bridgehampton wampumny.com
Since the crackdown on live music in Montauk, local music icon Nancy Atlas has branched out. The lyrics on this towel are from her song about a local rescue at sea. $48. Available at NIBI MTK. The Atlantic Terrace, 21 Ocean View Terrace, Montauk southforksupply.com
Air and Speed
If you want to catch your first wave at Ditch Plain, we recommend renting a board at Air and Speed, owned by Stu and Catherine Foley since 1996. And pick up this $28 Vintage Summer crew, designed in the hamlet, while you’re there; 795 Montauk Highway, Montauk. airandspeedclothing.com
Helen Feid, who spent summers at her grandmother’s house in East Hampton, is a designer inspired by the après-beach chic of “my mother and her friends.” Fun fact: Her best-selling tunic, the Christina, is named for her own childhood bestie; $180 at the Monogram Shop. 11 Newtown Lane, East Hampton • tidelinetunics.com • august 2016
By Amanda M. Fairbanks
As author of the Social Q’s column in The New York Times, Philip Galanes delivers sage and amusing answers to readers’ personal-life queries, from “Is it too soon to text back?” to “Can I tell my motherin-law her wigs are ugly?” This time we had a few questions about him.
f you don’t follow Philip Galanes’s
weekly advice column in the Sunday Styles section of The New York
Times, you’re missing out on a very entertaining read. In person, he’s much the same — quick to laugh, with a sharp, irreverent sense of humor.
Apart from his regular column, he
also writes a monthly dispatch called Table for Three (for which he shares a meal and conversation with two public figures). He last interviewed Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, and Barbara Bush, the daughter and granddaughter of two former presidents.
Galanes, 53, splits his time between
an apartment in Greenwich Village and a house, designed by Michael Haverland, an architect and his partner of 20 years, on Cove Hollow Road in East Hampton. It’s where he writes. Most mornings, he’s up by 6, hoping to log a few hours of work before taking his dog, a poodle “with a little something extra,” on a walk to nearby Georgica Beach.
When not writing for The Times,
Galanes works as a part-time entertainment lawyer, occasional interior designer, and novelist. So far, he’s published two novels, Father’s Day and Emma’s Table, with a book of nonfiction now in the works. Over the winter, Galanes and I met at Truth Training in East Hampton. It’s a merciless, 45-minute workout that combines rowing, jump-roping, and kettle bells. We’re both regular disciples.
• august 2016
You wear a bunch of different hats. Well, let’s tick off the easy ones first. To call me an interior designer is ridiculous. Michael built our house out here mostly for the collection of furniture and art that I’d been putting together over many years. Before The New York Times came along, I used to have more time, so when his clients would come along, if I liked them, I would say, yeah, sure, I can do what I do. But I have a stylistic range from A to A minus and that’s about it. And you’re also a lawyer? I started out as a lawyer and I’m still a lawyer. I have a small roster, but it’s a roster that I feel very loyal to, since we’ve worked together for such a long time. And they’re also not freaked out that I do other things. Some people want to think of their lawyer as this little pinhead that sits in his room thinking about how to screw the other guy out of two more nickels. Having something that’s very logical and sensible and depends not on inspiration at all, well, it’s a wonderful side thing to have going on. What’s your relationship to East Hampton? This is the 10th year in our house. Before that, we used to rent this sweet little converted barn off Pantigo Road. Coming out here is a major factor in the success of my relationship with Michael. When we got together, he was a professor of architecture at Yale and I was in New York, working as a lawyer and a writer. It was always somebody going to somebody else’s turf. Out here, we had this zone that was our zone. It wasn’t me being slightly resentful about riding the train to New Haven or him thinking, Why am I always the one that has to go to New York? We had this together place — and life has been so much easier ever since.
Have you always been a writer? I was working as a lawyer at a publishing and entertainment company . . . and I somehow started writing early in the morning before work, little scenes of things that I’d seen on the street. I started writing more and more and one of my first scenes — of a mother dropping off her unwilling child at daycare — morphed into my first novel. I wrote it over a period of a year and put it in a drawer and never expected to show it to anyone. So how did your novel finally get published? There’s actually a great East Hampton connection. I went to this Fourth of July party in Amagansett. I happened to be seated next to Judy Clain, this incredible editor at Little, Brown. I got drunk enough to say that I had a novel sitting in my drawer. She asked me to send her 50 pages. The novel eventually came out and nobody could have been more surprised than I. And then what happened? The novel came out and it got really great reviews, but the only problem was that it only sold like five copies. I didn’t connect with the marketplace. But then, I got a call from Mary Suh, an editor at The Times, who said that she really loved the voice of the novel and wondered whether I’d consider doing a weekly column. From the very first week, it took off and it’s been very popular for the past eight years. I feel extraordinarily lucky. The whole thing sort of grew out of something that was a terrible failure. It’s kind of an amazing life lesson: The answer to everything is just to keep going. Are you a longtime reader of advice columns? From the time I was a very small child, I’ve always loved Dear Abby. We used to get a morning paper delivered in Brattleboro, Vt., where I grew up, and I would read the
questions aloud to my mom and dad and brothers, and they would try to predict her answer. After everybody took a turn, I would read the “correct,” Dear Abby, answer. Do the Social Q’s questions fall from the clear blue sky? In other words, do you make them up? They’re all real questions. Hundreds of people write every week to either submit a question or to take issue with an answer that I gave the prior week. You really have to have the right emotional setting when you open that email because it could be awful or wonderful. People saying, “I save you for last,” or “I read you first,” or “You’re the worst human being who’s ever existed and I hope you get stomach cancer and die.” What is one question you’re bored of being asked? Most questions related to the Bridal-Industrial Complex. People can get so carried away by their “big day,” as if no one had ever gotten married before. And the questions tend to skew to moneygrubbing: “Our reception dinner cost $50, but their gift was only worth $25.” They go straight to the bottom of the heap. The questions I love are the ones that you couldn’t make up: An Episco-
palian who pretended to be Jewish to meet a cute guy on JDate. com — and has kept up the charade for three months! The guy who visits his new girlfriend’s family, only to leave smitten with her identical twin sister. Hello?! Have you ever recognized a friend in a Social Q’s question? Even better, I caught my mother — twice! — sending me veiled Social Q’s in which she was complaining about me. Very inventive! Do you think our country is getting more or less civilized? We are so polarized, right now, on so many political and social issues — with TV channels and newspapers that serve up only what we want to hear — that we’re forgetting how to speak with people we disagree with. It’s tragic. And the populist “War on Political Correctness” seems specifically designed to let people be cruel to the weakest among us. Still, I read hundreds of letters from people are who are just trying to be kind every week. I’m not giving up yet. You’re a fast rower. Would you say you’re generally a competitive person? I’m very competitive about fitting into my pants. That’s my big competition. As long as I fit into my pants, my workout is working. • august 2016
Like the California pop of 1960s and ’70s, the sound of Jack and Eliza is as warm and irresistibly bittersweet as the last day of summer vacation.
ack and Eliza are young, but their music is ma-
ture. It’s guitar-driven pop reminiscent of a time when you heard real instruments on the radio, photographs were processed on film, and surfing was still a subculture. And, while they don’t intentionally try to sound like the ’60s and ’70s, Jack Staffen and Eliza Callahan say that the music from their parents’ old LPs — “stuff like the Kinks, the Mamas and the Papas, and Carole King,” according to Callahan — is what has stuck with them more than the music of bands today. They’re on to something. The duo played the huge Planned Parenthood event in late May in Bridgehampton. They will also be at Pilgrim Surf and Supply and Innersleeve Records in Amagansett, and Melet Mercantile in Montauk. They have two records out, their latest full-length one wonderfully titled Gentle Warnings. Staffen and Callahan, both 21, grew up here in the summers, with salt on their skin. They’ve been friends and making music together since high school. The music that comes from a shingled Sag Harbor shed converted into a makeshift recording studio sounds like the end of August — warm but melancholy. At dawn when the waves are up, Staffen and Callahan leave the Callahan house in Sag Harbor for Ditch Plain in Montauk. Callahan suits up and paddles out while Staffen gets a coffee from the Ditch Witch and sits alone in the sand watching his friend surf, sometimes thinking of melodies and lyrics. (Like the surf-rock bands before them, not everyone in the band is a surfer. Dennis Wilson, the late drummer of the iconic Beach Boys, was the only surfer in the group.) Their sound is a product, quite literally, of summer: For as long as they’ve been making music together, they’ve both been in school (now it’s college, Staffen at N.Y.U. and Callahan at Columbia). Their sound is nostalgic, but it doesn’t give the impression that the good old days are long gone. Perhaps that’s because the good old days, for this duo, are now. — Levi Shaw-Faber • august 2016
Picture This How do two artists create a happy home among the billionaire hedgerows of Bridgehampton, raise a couple of good kids, and still manage to create captivating work? Bastienne Schmidt and Philippe Cheng have found the magic keys. By Mark Segal
he artist couple of Bastienne Schmidt and
Philippe Cheng landed in Bridgehampton not because the East End was, historically, a magnet for artists, but because, like so many artists in New York City, they couldn’t find or afford a suitable place to live, work, and raise a family. Or, as Schmidt put it: “It’s the classic story of having a kid and trying to have it all.” Although she’d been raised in Germany and Greece, educated in Italy, and traveled all over the United States and the world, Schmidt had never spent much time on the East End, only coming out for an occasional flying visit to a couple they knew here. “You’d lie in their guest bedroom,” Cheng said recently, “and realize how beautiful it was here. You could see the stars.” The air, the outdoors, the chance to have some space around them, an intangible sense of possibility drew them. Neither is a landscape painter, but light and landscape figure in their work, which share mystery and moodiness. Schmidt is a photographer, printmaker, and painter, and Cheng is a photographer. A poem by e e cummings is the epigraph in his recently released book, but it could apply just as easily to the work of both artists: “Nothing can surpass the mystery of stillness.” The book, Still: The East End Photographs, is more concerned with mood and light and color than with specific details of his surroundings, although you recognize eastern Long Island in the hues and feeling of the images. “We live in this time where you have to know everything,” says Cheng. “And I think we’re both interested in
• august 2016
Schmidt and Cheng at their home and studio in Bridgehampton, self-portrait
â€˘ august 2016
this other place, which is at the edge and which lends itself to more mystery or questioning or not knowing.” The photographs in Schmidt’s Still Lives, one of her six books, aim for, in her words, “the atmosphere of a Vermeer painting, where certain scenes reflect the quietness of a woman’s life in the house.” Her images of places and people — most often herself, but seldom facing the camera — are glimpses into a world at once familiar and enigmatic. Schmidt’s most recent book, Typology of Women, published in April, consists entirely of individual silhouettes made from cutouts and mixed media on paper. Each outline of a female shape has other figures and marks within it, encouraging the eye to move back and forth from the gestalt of the shape to what’s inside it, “reading” each image as a kind of narrative. Theirs is a partnership in every sense, as collaborating and independent artists, friends, parents, a married couple. They share a tranquil, angular, modern-white house on a flag lot off Butter Lane with their sons, Max, 17, and Julian, 14. They make their art in separate studios that overlook fields, a nursery, and, at some distance, a few other houses. Several recent spring weekends have been spent visiting colleges with their older son. 46
• august 2016
Stacked against the walls of Schmidt’s second-floor studio are works on paper, photographs, mixed-media pieces, and paintings, the products of a focused intellect and sensibility that explores identity and space. Her husband’s studio is a From Typoplogy of Women by Bastienne Schmidt Schmidt at work, above
model of organization, with a few photographs on the walls but most of his work in flat files and on hard drives. “It’s an ecosystem here,” Cheng said. “You try to be respectful of each other’s space and time, because sometimes you do need space to create without commentary so you can find your own way with whatever you’re doing. It is a challenge of course.” The equanimity of their relationship emerges in their obvious pleasure at sharing their lives and their work. It isn’t surprising that they have worked on an unfinished project together, Requiems, a cross-cultural exploration of how Americans deal with death and dying that was initially funded by a grant from the George Soros Open Society Institute. “We traveled across the country and did some video work and photography,” said Schmidt, who wears her hair in girlish braids but projects an aura of searching intellectualism. “That’s one project we would love to publish.” While their domicile feels serenely removed from the hubbub of the Hamptons rat race, they have been deeply involved in the community since moving here. Indeed, soon after their arrival in 2001, Julian was born unexpectedly in their house with his umbilical chord around his neck.
Untitled photographs by Philippe Cheng, 2005 - 2011
Teamwork Independence and collaboration runs through Schmidt’s and Cheng’s lives. “Building our home was one of the best experiences for us a couple,” Cheng said. “The soul of our vision, although fine tuned by mostly practical concerns, remained the same. This vision, of an open and light-filled space that connected us to our family and our art, was the core of the design and this is what informed our decisions.” Advice for couples working and living together? “Unequivocally, you need to honor and respect each other’s space, and yes, hard work, and most importantly, a sense of humor,” said Cheng. Schmidt added: “To see the overall picture. Seeing our children grow up and seeing our published art books on the shelf, makes me think, how blessed and lucky we are.” • august 2016
“We barely made it to the hospital,” recalled Schmidt. “But everything went miraculously fine. It was our introduction to the community — the E.M.T. workers, the police department, the hospital.” The nearby Hayground School, which their sons attended, has enlarged their circle and further embedded them here. “The school is an interesting place,” said Cheng. “It’s a cross-section of working people, artists, and it’s a very progressive place. And, we’ve been quite involved with the school.” One form that involvement took in 2008 was an event they organized with Kathy Engel and Toni Ross, who were both founders of Hayground. “We were sitting at a table having dinner before the election,” said Cheng, of those days before Barack Obama was elected, “and we were saying we’ve got to do something.” They decided to invite women to a field and film them as a “little campaign ad to show that Sarah Palin doesn’t represent all women in America.” More than 400 women showed up. “The event was essentially a rally,” Schmidt said. “And we did a short YouTube video to draw attention to women getting together and standing up for something.” After the shoot, they interviewed a few of the women at Tinka Topping’s house and decided the footage was so emotional that it called for a full-fledged film. The result, “On the Cusp,” a 33-minute documentary, features 175 women of all ages and backgrounds speaking about gender, class, race, and their hopes and dreams, in the end affirming that every voice matters.
chmidt was born in Germany but moved to Greece when she was nine. Her father was an archeologist, and his work — “putting together terra-cotta shards and thinking about concepts of museology” — influenced the development of her art, much of which involves “piecing things together.” Cheng attended the School of Visual Arts but lacked “the mind-set to really pursue a career as an artist until I was 29,” when he was connected by an educator at the International Center of Photography with Magnum, the photo agency. The couple met when they were both 33, in the darkroom of Gilles Peress, one of the Magnum photographers. As much as he learned from working at Magnum, Cheng also discovered that the sacrifices made by Magnum photographers were at odds with a fulfilling and stable family life. “After we got together,” said Schmidt, “we had this kind of clear vision that we wanted to create beautiful art but that we also wanted to have a family and share a good life together. We kind of knew what we shouldn’t do.” 48
• august 2016
Schmidt’s Hokusai’s Dream, 2013, top, and Topography, 2014, mixed media
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Brothers In Arts
o many of the artists we claim as our own here, particularly the noted ones, are from somewhere else. Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Dan Flavin, Chuck Close, April Gornik, Julian Schnabel, Mary Heilmann, all were born elsewhere and moved here to live and work. But there’s a growing crop of innovative, creative, young, native talent. Jake and Tripoli Patterson, brothers raised in Sag Harbor, are at the top of that class. They were immersed from birth in the local art scene. Lisa de Kooning, Willem de Kooning’s daughter, was their godmother and good friends with their mother, Terry Patterson. Their father, Leonardo, is an art dealer living in his native Costa Rica. In a few short years Tripoli has thrust his gallery in Southampton into prominence, and Jake has melded music, art, and the internet to create an avant-garde hybrid. Jake and Trip requested that their interviews be conducted via iMessage.
By Levi Shaw-Faber Additional reporting by Lang Phipps
Opposite, Jake, left, and Trip Patterson, the day after Jake’s soldout performance at the Museum of Modern Art in April
Jake Patterson, a.k.a. Yung Jake, created these portraits of Justin Bieber, above, and Ellen DeGeneres, below, out of nothing but emojis, those little colorful symbols on your iPhone.
fter living in Bali with his brother and mother for a few years in his early teens, Tripoli, known locally as Trip, returned to New York City and went to work in the gallery world, watching and learning from the likes of Glenn Horowitz. When he opened his own space, the Tripoli Gallery, in Southampton in 2009, it could have been dismissed as a faddish pop-up, one of those that come and go every summer; he was a 24-yearold professional surfer with wild hair and little business experience. But heâ€™s outlasted the fads and is now in his eighth season. (For a brief period, he also had an East Hampton gallery on Newtown Lane.) On July 8, an Ashley Bickerton show entitled Wall-Wall is opening, and on August 20, the gallery will unveil a show of never-beforeseen work by Susan Tepper.
Tripoli by Yung Jake, top; Wall-Wall S-Beach No. 1, 2016 by Ashley Bickerton, bottom 52
â€˘ august 2016
hile Trip was becoming a local art-world celebrity, Jake was making a name for himself in a different universe: the internet. He’s a rapper who performs under the name Yung Jake, and his inventive YouTube videos have been going viral since 2014. While internet fame is hard to measure (thousands of Instagram followers doesn’t always mean thousands of fans), his recent performance at MoMA was so well attended that security lost control of the crowd. In June, Jake dropped a mixtape called USB that you can buy on his website. It’s a physical flashdrive that pops out of a reproduction of Jake’s California driver’s license. Like Trip, Jake grew up in Sag Harbor and Bali and went to Bridgehampton High School before studying at the California Institute of the Arts (a.k.a. CalArts) in Valencia, California. Now living in Los Angeles, he says the L.A. scene has made him “open up,” realize that he can “do anything, and, like, no one cares. More hippies.” Still, Jake frequently returns to the East End, and when he’s around he’s easy to spot at the Hayground Farmers Market or walking around Sag Harbor with friends. He’s a soft-spoken guy in person who seems like he would be more comfortable behind his MacBook coding than participating in the late-night antics he raps about. His fans include Kanye West and Theophilus London, but he’s best known for online portraits of friends and celebrities that he “paints” with emojis, using an app called emoji.ink developed by a friend. Time magazine was one of the first to write about his emoji art and, soon after, Miley Cyrus posted her own portrait by Jake on her Instagram. Most of Jake’s work exists in the virtual world, but he also creates more traditional art that is sold in galleries, including his brother’s. He is fascinated with branding, logos, and luxury iconongraphy, and uses it in his art and his rap videos — digitally morphing and twisting Fiji Water or Grey Goose vodka bottles and transferring them onto found metal surfaces.
The mixtape USB by Yung Jake, top; a piece from a show at Tripoli Patterson’s former East Hampton gallery, top, right; Self Portrait by Yung Jake, right • august 2016
Orange, 2016, UV print and spray paint on powder coated steel 54
â€˘ august 2016
courtesy of the artist and Steve Turner, LA
Yung Jake hangs from a sprinkler pipe during his July 4th performance at the Memory Motel in Montauk.
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Shake Your Money Maker
By Baylis Greene
Kia Warren, the band’s lead singer, jamming at the Surf Lodge
Revel in Dimes is the party band of summer 2016. ou never know where you’ll find a
lead singer. Kia Warren, a former club kid from Baldwin, was working as a manager at the Surf Lodge in Montauk three years ago, tidying up one afternoon when a wave of Mississippi blues crashed over her from a duo’s sound check across the way. “What is that?” she thought to herself, in the retelling swiveling her head to look over her shoulder. “It was almost like a double take.” It was good, it was loud, it was muscular and metallic. Sign her up. The resulting union could be heard at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett recently, when Revel in Dimes — with Warren fronting Eric Simons on guitar and Washington Duke on drums (the two from the sound check), plus Chris Waller on bass — rang in the summer season as Memorial Day weekend broke across the land. “How’d everybody do over the winter?” Warren asked the crowd, the mumbled response revealing how bleak it can get out here. From the young and well-to-do enjoying their good fortune over aluminum bottles of Bud Light to the ruddy-faced windblown sailor fresh from delivering a boat from Newport, his unsteadiness increasing by the minute, those gathered were resolutely focused on the warmer months to come. “We just got back from overseas” — specifically Holland, she would explain later, where the welcome at music festivals and clubs for this diverse band striking out into new, hybrid territory was so warm, the experience so positive, she said it changed her life. “I’m feeling a little shy,” Warren told the audience in her hot pants and form-fitting halter top. “There’s a whole lotta space between us” — this by way of urging the beery celebrants closer to the stage. Dance, why don’t you. And they did. Revel is one of several local bands gaining a profile, playing regularly here and in the city and at private gigs, with a record on iTunes, Spotify, and other online music sites. Its sound is pure American, a little Mississippi blues crossed with a little Chicago blues, pushed by driving bass and drums. Revel are regulars at the Talkhouse this summer. If you haven’t been there in a while, the place, • august 2016
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an institution, really, soldiers on, though maybe, like society itself, a little cleaner, a little brighter, a little less smoky. The Talkhouse has offered a steady diet of blues and bluesy rock over the years, to the point that if on a given night a mid-’60s song from the Who gets spun between sets it’s as if someone had opened the front and back doors to let a fresh breeze blow through. But not this night. Simons appeared in a floppy newsboy cap, but before long was mopping his face and neck with a white towel à la James Brown as he worked wonders on his electric guitar, warming up with some slow funk and working it into a frenzied wall of sound, transitioning from hard rock to the hyperkinetic tempo of punk. The dude with the Hendrix hair on bass — that would be Waller, they call him Premo — was happy to break out a harmonica when it suited him, while Warren, when she wasn’t pogo-sticking like some ska-head or smacking a tambourine, could’ve passed herself off as Patti LaBelle’s niece with her blend of bluesy and raspy vocals. Backing it all up, Washington Duke authoritatively kept the beat, at one point unleashing a long, thundering drum solo that shook the shirt fabric of anyone in proximity. The morning after, he called the solo a bit sloppy. (Loose, someone else might’ve said.) He was speaking over a paper cup of Jack’s Stir Brew coffee at Amagansett Square. Warren nursed a ginger-lemon health drink. They’re all New Yorkers. Kia Warren called Montauk home for seven years but recently made the move to Brooklyn. Premo lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Simons in Bushwick. When they’re playing out here the band crashes at Duke’s, the only one for whom this is home. One of the sons of Tony Duke, the late Boys Harbor founder, Duke spent a decade living and working in Brooklyn, where he met Simons, and they worked together as sidemen in various bands. Duke has since returned, to Springs, where he lives with his wife and two young boys. Both drummer and singer were still recovering from giving the Talkhouse crowd its money’s worth — roughly a two-hour performance, whereas on the recent tour in Holland they might have done single 50 or 60-minute
The Revel crew, from left, Chris “Primo” Waller, Kia Warren, Washy Duke, and Eric Simons sets straight through. “We really have to pull stuff out of our back pocket for these long gigs,” Duke said. “We need to double the amount of music, which is tough because we don’t want to play covers.” “Our songs are written as a collaborative effort,” he said. “Kia will add some lyrics and a melody. Actually, Premo is a good songwriter.” “He’s like an onion,” Warren interjected. “One day he surprised us, just sat down and started playing the piano.” “Or the harmonica,” Duke added. “We asked him out of the blue if he could play, and he tore it up.” Waller, a.k.a. Premo, is the newest member of the band, the final piece of the puzzle, and they found him the old-fashioned way: They advertised. The band’s name, by the way, came about by accident, as in, “Hey, you wanna share a cab ride?” “Yeah, I’m rubbin’ dimes” (that is, broke, tapped out). “What did you say? You revel in dimes?” And, just like that. . . The band’s got an eight-song album, their second, coming out later this summer. “Today it’s like, ‘What’s the single?’ ” Duke said. “But I feel like the whole album is a single. It tells a story.” “It sounds raw,” Warren said, “and is super-conceptual.” Serendipitous, too. They recorded to tape — you can rent and reuse old ones — and, as they ran it through the machine, in between the tracks “these phantom sounds from a previous recording came through,” he said, “like abstract classical,” she added. “These violins were in the same key we were in,” he said, “and it was just the effect we were looking for, a ghost, these haunting strings there just by accident.” They did more than take a pass on going digital, its antiseptic nature not suiting the Dimes’ scruffy sound: Warren sang live on the album, no overdubs. “For us, you know, it’s rock ’n’ roll, it needs to be not too constructed,” Duke said. “Also, we’re not that kind of a band,” Warren said. “We’re a live band. It’s better to be honest.” Catch ’em while you can. • august 2016
Terminal Velocity The Death of
Jackson Pollock This August marks the 60th anniversary of the night when Jackson Pollock died, thrown from the wheel of his car into the woods on Springs-Fireplace Road. To this day, Pollock still looms larger than any of the legions of young artists who have followed his phantom to the East End — and a steady stream of curious fans, many of them born long after the great man’s death, still makes the pilgrimage to his gravesite at Green River Cemetery. Jennifer Landes reflects on what happened that night and why.
he life of Jackson Pollock has inspired
much myth-making, but the facts of his death on Aug. 11, 1956 — as recorded in The East Hampton Star — tell the story in frank and unadorned terms. Although an obituary appeared as part of the coverage, the reporting didn’t focus on Pollock as an individual, but handled him as one of a total of 10 people who died after smash-ups on the roads of East Hampton and Southampton that weekend. It is only in the third sentence of the front-page coverage that the reader learns that two of the 10 crash victims were Jackson Pollock and, with him, Edith Metzger, a hairstylist from the Bronx who was in the car, along with Pollock’s girlfriend, Ruth Kligman. Kligman was taken to Southampton Hospital with several fractures, but survived. In a front-page story, The New York Times reported the week60
• august 2016
Pollock’s overturned Oldsmobile coupe, after the fatal accident on Springs-Fireplace Road. Photo by Dave Edwardes, The East Hampton Star
â€¢ august 2016
end crashes similarly on Aug. 12. “Mr. Pollock was at the wheel of the 1950 Oldsmobile coupe when it turned over within 300 yards of his home, and driving at a high rate of speed,” The Star reported. “Traveling north on the SpringsFireplace Highway, the car first ran off the east side of the road at a slight curve, then swerved and plowed 175 feet through the underbrush on the west side to collide with four white oaks, pivoted, and turned end over end. The driver and Miss Kligman were thrown out. Miss Metzger was pinned under the car and died of a fractured neck and chest injuries. The accident occurred at about 10:15 p.m.” A study in understatement, the article goes on to describe the internationally famous artist’s career and life briefly, as well as to describe the first patrolman on the scene and which local doctors stopped at
the roadside to tend to Kligman. Two photos were printed with the story. One was of the flipped-over car, described as green. The other, taken by Dave Edwardes, was given the title A Still Life (right), and showed an array of objects as they were found at the scene only a halfhour after the smash-up: a hubcap, Pollock’s shoe, and some empty cans of Rheingold; the caption noted that these objects had not been arranged, but were presented as they were found, as a warning to drive safely. For those who only knew Pollock as “Jack the Dripper,” a swaggering genius of Modernism and the first real American art star, featured in popular publications such as Life magazine, the news was shocking. Only a few short years before, he was at his creative peak, and since then his exhibitions had continued and his fame had grown. But friends and associates who
chelsea audibert; above, star file photo
Much of this wildly reckless driving was a way of showing Krasner who was boss.
Pollock’s studio today 62
• july 2016
Objects found at the scene
spent time with him during the last years of his life had assumed such an outcome was only a matter of time. According to biographers and the oral accounts of those who knew him in Jeffrey Potter’s To a Violent Grave, 1953 was the year Jackson Pollock’s steady decline became terminal. After several dry years, he began drinking to excess again in 1952, and it was clear that he was losing his struggle with depression. He shared thoughts of suicide with confidants such as Tony Smith, a younger artist who had a strong influence on Pollock in his last years. Deborah Solomon reported in her 1987 biography of Pollock that during this period the artist spent many hours at Cavagnaro’s, a bar on Newtown Lane in East Hampton Village (in the building now occupied by Mary’s Marvelous). Al Cavagnaro recalled him coming in before 9 a.m. for a double Grand Dad on the rocks. After a few, he might end up in the East Hampton Village police station, just up the street, for drunken recklessness, but was usually only given a reprimand, people said, because of his fame. One item Solomon discovered on the East Hampton police blotter: “Found Jackson Pollock outside on the sidewalk lying down.” It was in April of that year that he drove his Model A into the opposite lane of traffic on Main Street and forced another driver off the road. Still, he was able to work that summer with one last sustained period of creativity, albeit one that left him feeling empty and confused.
According to Solomon, Pollock “recognized his 1953 paintings for what they were: an admirable effort to continue working at a time when he wasn’t quite sure of what he wanted to say.” After years of testing limits, “for the second consecutive year he had failed to move forward, and unable to move forward Pollock quickly lost faith in his abilities.” Lee Krasner, his wife and manager, had kept him going for much of their marriage. By all accounts, however, she was tiring of the strain of “dealing with a powder keg,” as Nicholas Carone, an artist and friend, told Potter. Ronald Stein, her nephew, said in the same book that her love for Pollock was like hero-worship. “The difficulty began when her physical and mental strength began to break down and she became less and less capable. Then, deadly alcohol changed love to drudgery.” Krasner herself experienced a creative surge about the time of Pollock’s block, which might have exacerbated his feelings of inadequacy. Solomon recounted him sayThe artist at work in his studio in Springs ing to one visitor to his studio, “Do Photo courtesy of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center you think I would have painted this crap if I knew how to draw a hand?” Insecure by nature, Pollock may ames Brooks, a painter and friend, was not in the car. have taken to heart the oft-repeated knock In June of 1954, he broke his ankle aftold Potter that he was always afraid by Robert Motherwell and Philip Guston to drive with Pollock: “I expected ter horsing around with Willem de Koon(cited in books such as Steven Naifeh and him to kill himself in an automobile, and I ing and Franz Kline in Bridgehampton, Gregory Smith’s Jackson Pollock: An Ameriknew he wanted not to do it alone.” Naifeh and spent the summer on crutches. As he can Saga) that he couldn’t draw. In 1954, he and Smith noted that Pollock had crashed was one of the earliest of the “action paintcompleted only one painting. into a tree in 1951 with a used Cadillac con- ers,” a broken ankle was particularly con It was also in 1954 that he acquired vertible he had bought as a “boast of suc- straining to his art. He broke it again eight the Olds convertible he would drive the cess” after Life published its cover story months later. night of his death. According to Potter, Krasner continued to try to help him, about him in August 1949. Frank Pollock, it gave him the first joy he had felt in a the artist’s brother, begged him to slow but Pollock was resistant. During the sumlong time. Patsy Southgate, a friend of the down on a trip to Montauk. “I thought he mer of 1955, they both sought psychological Pollocks and married to the writer Peter was out there to kill himself — kill us all,” help to save the marriage and found theraMatthiessen at the time, recalled in Potpists in New York City. He would spend he told Potter. ter’s book that Jackson “would throw his Stein said much of this wildly reck- Monday afternoons after his appointments car keys in the bushes at parties when less driving was a way of showing Krasner at the Cedar Bar, a popular artists’ and writhe was getting drunk . . . then go in and who was boss. Others, too, recalled Pol- ers’ hangout, where he met Kligman in the have few more.” The next day, she said, he lock driving perfectly well when Krasner early months of 1956. He began spending would come back to fish out his keys.
• august 2016
A condolence telegram to Lee Krasner from abstract expressionist sculptor David Slivka and his wife, Rose, the magazine editor and former art critic for The East Hampton Star. Courtesy of the Archives of American Art nights in the city with her until she moved to Sag Harbor for the summer. In Potter’s book, many witnesses recount Pollock saying that the 25-year-old art student restored his energy, and he hoped that she might also help him creatively. He wanted to keep both wife and mistress, according to friends, and was very public about the affair. That summer, when Krasner discovered Pollock and Kligman had spent the night in his studio, she reached her limit and said she was leaving for Europe. She also assumed Kligman would soon tire of a full-time relationship with her husband. On July 12, Krasner sailed for France on the Queen Elizabeth. Both she and Pollock had regrets — Krasner immediately, although she stayed in Europe, and Pollock after a week or so without her. In one of the condolence letters to Krasner kept now in the Archives of American Art, Elizabeth Wright Hubbard, a homeopathic doctor who treated Pollock for his alcoholism, wrote that Pollock had called her while Krasner was away. He said he was miserable without her and wished he hadn’t let her go. Kligman did tire of Pollock’s destructive behavior. He was continually drinking, and lost interest in doing much else, 64
• august 2016
according to her 1974 memoir, Love Affair. Eventually, he became violent with her. After an explosive confrontation at a party, she fled to New York City, then returned on Aug. 11, the day of the accident. That morning, Al Cavagnaro later told Potter, Pollock had a drink at his bar. He then picked up Kligman and Metzger at the train station nearby. Despite their wish to go to the beach, he took them back to the bar. Kligman remembered him feeling sick all day. By evening he began to feel a bit better and grilled some steaks, then offered to take them to a benefit concert being hosted by Alfonso Ossorio, another local artist of prominence. After weaving all over the road on the way to the Ossorio estate, Pollock felt sick again, passed out for a spell, and then angrily insisted they go home. Kligman described the Olds rocketing up Springs-Fireplace Road as Metzger screamed to be let out. When neighbors and policemen arrived at the accident scene, they saw Kligman first. She was lying in the road unable to use her legs. Metzger was pinned under the car and did not have a pulse. But there was no sign of Pollock. A search began in the surrounding woods. A patrolman and an unidentified
neighbor came upon his body “way up in the woods” at the same time. “Like an old dead tree lying in the brush” is how the neighbor put it in Potter’s book. Earl Finch, the patrolman, said Pollock must have been thrown 50 feet from the car. The marks on the tree indicated that his head hit its trunk some 10 feet off the ground. Had he missed the tree, he said, he might have survived. Clement Greenberg, Pollock’s friend and an early critical champion, broke the news to Paul Jenkins, who was hosting Krasner in Paris. Jenkins told Solomon that Greenberg instructed him to remain calm on the phone, but that Krasner guessed right away and screamed “Jackson is dead” and broke into sobs. Greenberg’s account in Potter’s book differs. To him, it sounded like laughter. She was back in East Hampton two days later and planned the funeral at the Springs Chapel. A group of 200 family, friends, and colleagues gathered there with a smaller cortege at Green River Cemetery, where Pollock was buried. A long wake followed back at the Pollocks’ house, which is now the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center. It was a party that some said was the best they ever had, there or anywhere.
WITH SYMPATHY: LEE’S CONDOLENCE NOTES Following Pollock’s death, Lee Krasner received telegrams and notes from all over the world — from friends, collectors, neighbors, many of whom are now among the pantheon of American art. Most of the correspondences, in their original form, are in the Archives of American Art. In that trove of condolence letters is a note from the artist Mark Rothko. Rothko wrote to Krasner that Pollock’s “life and struggle had become important in meaning to me,” hinting at Rothko’s own demons. Fourteen years later, in 1970, Rothko would take his own life in his studio in New York, shortly after separating from his wife, Mell. The letter refers to “Tony” and “Barney”: the sculptor Tony Smith and the artist Barnett Newman. Rothko himself is buried in East Marion, on the North Fork.
Andy WARHOL, Flowers, 1964 | Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas | 8 x 8 inches
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Vermont Thursday, August 16 Dear Lee, I wish I could find some way to tell you how I feel about Jackson. I do remember my last conversation with you, and that, then, I made some effort to tell you. Unfortunately I had never found the reason nor really knew a way in which to sufficiently indicate to him, whatever it may have meant to him, it would have meant a lot to me to say so; especially now that I realize I can never do it. What I am trying to say (is) that, particularly in recent months, and in addition to his stature as a great artist, his specific life and struggle had become poignant and important in meaning to me, and are a great deal in my thoughts; and that the great loss that I feel is not an abstract thing at all. I had talked to Tony, and I knew that both he and Barney were going to be with you on Wednesday. I wish I had been there, too, for my own sake. Please see us soon, and our deepest love to you. Mark
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It’s a watershed moment for the South Fork environment: A group of powerful residents on Georgica Pond — a golden circle of the most beautiful and expensive real estate in the country — has decided to battle back against pollution. But saving our water bodies (and our drinking water) won’t happen without a mighty effort by us all.
Tainted Water Coming Together to Save Our Ponds
By Christopher Walsh
Blue-green algae spreads into Georgica Cove.
Aerial photo by Cleber Mello All additional photos by Priscilla Rattazzi
ack Russell terriers are not water dogs. “She just happened to go down to the pond,” says Annie Gilchrist Hall, “because we had two of our kids here sailing.” Annie and John Hall’s pet was familiar with Georgica Pond, East Hampton’s serene, 290-acre body of water — a stunning backdrop to some of the most desirable real estate on the planet. The Halls live on the pond. It was just after Labor Day in 2012. The little dog, Rosie, frolicked in the water, then licked her paws. Almost instantly “she went
into neurotoxic shock,” Hall says. “It’s so graphic: She put her four legs out straight. She was breathing, but couldn’t move.” Three days later, Rosie died. A tissue sample revealed toxic exposure to cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, microbes that produce dangerous neuro and gastrointestinal poisons. With that, a realization came into focus: Inconceivably, Georgica was poisonous. Blue-green algae has plagued the pond for a decade, but never to the extent it has in the last few years. In July 2014, when
One of the few remaining baymen to work Georgica Pond, Kevin Miller, earlier this spring 68
• july 2016
cyanobacteria bloomed anew in Georgica, masses of fish died off, and, according to some accounts, one or two deer. Within days — and at the height of the summer season — the East Hampton Town Trustees were forced to do the inconceivable: close the pond to swimming and wading, and shut down shellfishing and fishing. Alarming signs went up. Local baymen’s harvest of eels, and the commercial and recreational harvest of blue crabs — a much-loved tradition — ceased. Sailing and cat-boat regattas were suspended at the little Georgica Association sailing club on the western shore. Main Beach Surf and Sport, which uses a public put-in at the north end for outings and lessons, relocated. The ban lasted into October. The centerpiece, the picture-postcard view, the very focus of every property on Georgica was now suddenly and unthinkably toxic. And property owners, many of them the influential and wealthy titans of American media, industry, and the arts, were uncharacteristically helpless to identify a quick fix. Georgica’s woes have been long in the making. In centuries past, a twice annual flushing — a breaching by heavy equipment of the barrier beach that separates the pond from the ocean — kept the pond and its inhabitants in fine fettle. The spring and fall “lettings” would flush out toxic algae blooms and turgid, poorly oxygenated water, to which it is particularly prone in the warmer summer months, and fill the pond with cleansing ocean water. In more recent decades, however, the flushing has been akin to a Band-Aid on a potentially mortal ailment. As soon as the barrier beach closes up naturally, as it always does, algae and oxygen depletion have begun to creep back up to toxic levels. In the past five years the algae has returned with a vengeance. The nightmare scenario is playing out again this summer. Blue-green algae levels triggered Suffolk County warnings in early July, marking the earliest toxic bloom in years. The decline in the health of the pond recently is dramatic, scientists and observers say. “I don’t remember the water turning
Cat-boat reggata on the pond, an imperiled summer tradition
that blue-green paint color ever until the summer of 2012,” says Priscilla Rattazzi Whittle, another Georgica Pond resident. Georgica is not alone. Ocean-fed ponds and lakes from Lake Agawam in Southampton to Fort Pond in Montauk are in various states of bad health. Cyanobacteria blooms have fouled nearby Wainscott and Sagaponack Ponds, Kellis Pond in Bridgehampton, Mill Pond in Water Mill, Maratooka Lake in Mattituck, and, in Southampton, Old Town and Wickapogue Ponds. Last summer, cyanobacteria broke out in scenic Hook Pond in East Hampton Village, the backdrop to the Maidstone Club’s iconic golf course as well as 18 summer “cottages.” Village officials posted signs warning against exposure. “The patient,” said a consultant who recently studied Hook and Town Ponds, “is very ill.” “In the 48 years I’ve lived here, I’ve never known the pond to be closed,” says Linda James, who lives on Hook Pond.
he trouble with our ponds is, of course, us. At play are forces that define the East End today: com-
peting environmental, residential, and agricultural interests and a failure to manage the results of huge growth. “Crowding on Land Is Harming Our Waterways,” warned The East Hampton Star’s April 21 report on an annual assessment of East Hampton
At play are forces that define the East End today: competing environmental, residential, and agricultural interests and a failure to manage the results of huge growth. Town’s waters. The assessment, conducted by Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, included the somber warning that Georgica suffers from “the negative effects of housing density and inadequate septic systems.” The scientist who wrote it also blamed Georgica’s decline on decades of overuse of
fertilizer on lawns and gardens, and years of seeping nitrogen and phosphorous-fertilizer use on farms as far away as Long Lane in East Hampton. All those nutrients and chemicals end up in the pond, triggering the toxic algae blooms like sparks to hay. Mark Borucke, a lifelong resident of Southampton, has fished South Fork ponds recreationally for most of his life. He’s also been hosting freshwater bass fishing tournaments for Ducks Unlimited and other organizations for 35 years and has watched water-quality declines firsthand. “Mother Nature is screaming,” says Borucke. “She is saying, ‘I can only balance myself so much from all of the shit that’s coming at me!’ ” “The population here is offsetting that balance. We are creating a habitat that is not supposed to be here,” she says, of the manicured green lawns and pristine gardens in the area, “killing off the environment through our desire for perfection.”
ut there’s hope. Motivated, smart, wealthy people with a huge stake in cleaning up the ponds are rallying. Prompted by the recent blooms and • august 2016
Picture-perfect evening on the pond
closures, alarmed Georgica Pond neighbors, with the encouragement of the Town of East Hampton, have formed Friends of the Georgica Pond Foundation, a conservancy for Georgica. The group is funding research to identify solutions to Georgica’s woes — solutions that will be applicable to dozens of similarly distressed East End water bodies. Among those leading the foundation is, appropriately, the creator of a coffee-table photography book entitled Georgica Pond, Priscilla Rattazzi Whittle. She’s teamed up with Annie Gilchrist Hall and Dr. Anna Chapman, fellow pond-front property owners. “My husband said, ‘You need to form the Central Park Conservancy of Georgica Pond,’ ” Whittle says. “He had the right idea, and we became galvanized pretty quickly. Now, we have to figure out how to actually get it done.” More than half of the 77 pond-front property owners have joined the foundation, and some $360,000 was quickly amassed for the initial effort. The group hired as its executive director Sara Davison, formerly of the Nature Conservancy. “The pond is really a symbol of East Hampton,” Davison says. “People have tried to manage and control and stabilize this pond, but it’s never been done.” At least not to the extent the foundation intends. The group has wisely teamed up with Stony Brook’s marine science school and launched the Georgica Pond Project. Stony Brook and the foundation several years ago began monitoring water quality in the pond — pH levels, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll and blue-green algae, nitrogen, phosphorous levels — manually, and this summer via a large, yellow, floating “telemetry buoy” that sends the data directly to the school for collection and analysis (you can check it out at you.stonybrook.edu/ georgicapond). Additionally, and perhaps more dramatically, the foundation leased a mechanical harvester, which will work all summer removing algae from the pond. 70
• august 2016
lue-green algae has always been naturally present in many lakes and streams, and is harmless in small amounts. But excessive algal growth discolors water and produces floating rafts or scum on the surface. Big blooms like those in East End ponds suck the oxygen from the water, killing fish and other living organisms. Human and animal exposure to the blooms can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, skin, eye, or throat irritation, nausea, allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, or even death — exhibit A: Rosie, the Jack Russell. If anyone can turn around the ailing Georgica, and demonstrate a way forward to communities throughout the Eastern Seaboard struggling with the same issues, it should be the Georgica foundation. It’s up against years of pollution that will seep into the pond for decades to come, but it has political clout and wealth on its side, and a huge personal (financial and psychic) stake in a positive outcome. Consider the sheer clout of the owners of pond-front real estate. It’s hard to imagine any of them would abide a toxic mess on their doorsteps for very long. Here’s a cursory list: Georgica is home to Steven Spielberg, the film director; Ronald Perelman, the billionaire investor and philanthropist who owns the Creeks, a 57acre estate at the north end of the pond; Arne Glimcher, art dealer and founder of the Pace Gallery; Harry Macklowe, a real estate mogul; Ed Burns, the actor and director, and his wife, the supermodel Christy Turlington; Kelly Klein, the model and author; Katharine Ann Johnson Rayner of the Cox Enterprises empire, and many other heavy hitters. The Maidstone Club and its influential roster of members own most of the eastern shore of Hook Pond. Wainscott Pond is the setting for the home of Ronald Lauder, the billionaire cosmetics baron and philanthropist. Robert Hurst, who was vice chairman of Goldman Sachs and now is a partner in Crestview, a private-equity firm, has a 33-acre estate on Kellis Pond. Lake Agawam is encircled by Southampton’s finest estates, and bound to the south by the storied
Southampton Bathing Corporation and to the north by a beloved village park. Sagg Pond is the jewel in the crown of the Village of Sagaponack, among America’s most affluent zip codes. With alarm bells ringing loudly, the will to solve this water crisis is growing now, too. “People see it,” Rattazzi Whittle says. “Now it’s a matter of what works and what is possible. And, like everything, what it will cost.”
olutions won’t come easily. They will take years of work and will likely require ongoing investment of willpower and cash. And they will require sacrifices. “None of us can change it,” Mr. Borucke says, “if all of us don’t try.” Some 77 properties encircle Georgica, but the watershed includes more than 2,000 residences and businesses stretching far to the north of town. And when you begin to talk about not just Georgica Pond but the South Fork watershed as a whole, the numbers multiply exponentially. Radically reducing new development in our watersheds is one extremely difficult, but ultimately necessary, step: Sooner or later, a crisis with our waterways as well as our water supply will force the hands of our town boards. The water issue will only get worse the longer we wait to act boldly. Scientist Ryan Wallace, a PhD candidate at Stony Brook University, places a data-collecting buoy in the pond, above. The algae harvester at work this summer, center The pond at its worst: toxic bluegreen algae scum last summer, left
• august 2016
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One mechanism to slow the grow that is harming the watershed might be a forward-thinking application of the powerful Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund, which is financed by a 2-percent real estate transfer tax in all five East End towns. The fund, which raised close to $33 million in just the first five months of this year, about $13.5 million of it in East Hampton, has been a huge success in saving open spaces and farmland, for decades now. The East Hampton Star’s lead editorial after Memorial Day called for a “zero-growth” strategy or the “aggressive use” of the fund to purchase property in key watershed areas, either to keep it undeveloped or to return developed lots to uninhabited open space. Meanwhile, the Georgica foundation has hired a Stony Brook University scientist, Dr. Christopher Gobler, to chart a course for Georgica, specifically, which many see as a bellwether for other threatened bodies of water. His final recommendations are expected sometime later this year, when data taken from the pond has been analyzed. Although nothing can happen until state and local officials sign off, Gobler has hinted at what’s needed: • Whether through a voluntary effort or an eventual municipal urban ban, most use of residential chemical fertilizers must end. • On key properties, buffers made up of native vegetation should be built to intercept runoff. • The pond should be opened to the ocean more often. • The pond should be dredged to remove a thick layer of phosphorus and nitrogen-laden sediment that fuels algal blooms. A deeper pond would also be less prone to the ill effects of warming. • A strategically placed permeable reactive barrier to intercept nitrogen from groundwater near the surface is planned (a pilot barrier project at Pussy’s Pond in Springs has delivered impressive results). • Perhaps most important, regulations and incentives (financial and otherwise) need to be put in place to get homeowners to upgrade failing or inadequate septic systems. Further, all new development should only come with state-of-the-art systems designed to block nitrogen from entering the watershed. Suffolk County is reportedly considering these state-of-the-art systems designed to do just that. “That would be a wonderful thing,” said Edward Warner, president of the Southampton Town Trustees. “I’ve had conversations with architects who are building $20 and $30 million houses, and their customers would be more than willing to install them. But until the county says they’re good to go, they’re not going to do it.” The foundation at Georgica and Stony Brook will analyze all data and possible strategies through a simple
The seasonal flushing of the pond with ocean water always draws curious onlookers.
lens: What’s the most effective way (cost- and otherwise) to reduce or remove the nutrients — chemical or organic — that feed the algae and muck up our ponds? The aquatic-weed harvester at Georgica this summer is pivotal. All eyes will be watching to see if it is efficient at both reducing toxicity levels, without disturbing crabs and other creatures living on the pond bottom. Meanwhile, the harvested algae is being trucked to the town’s recycling center for use as compost. At least it sounds like a win-win. As for sediment removal, while championed by the scientists, it comes with hurdles: namely, cost. Permitting, and removal and disposal of the mud itself, are expensive. “I think we’re doing all the right things,” says Davison, the foundation’s director. “But the results will be in the data: How much nitrogen and phosphorus are reduced.” Following the results of their own study, East Hampton Village officials are undertaking their own effort to clean up Hook and Town Ponds. The good news this spring was the announcement of a plan to plant “rain gardens” and bioswales to filter stormwater runoff and reduce nitrogen-loading into the ponds. The village is thinking of this as a longterm effort. “We’re cautiously optimistic,” Mayor Paul Rickenbach Jr. said recently, “that with government working with the private sector and other municipal agencies, we will come to the end of the exercise, look at what we achieved, and say, ‘Wow, we did it.’ ” This, however, is an issue in its infancy. We’re only now becoming aware of the extent of the problem, and will only be able to save the ponds if we think boldly. On an overcast afternoon last month, Linda James gazed toward Hook Pond, where uncut grass billowed in the breeze. “My dog used to swim in the pond,” she said. “I wouldn’t allow her to go down by it now. I’m not sure I’m going to bring back the kayak flotilla,” she said. She was silent for a long moment. “We’ll see.” One day soon, we hope.
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the house that tina built
By Lang Phipps Photos by Philippe Cheng
It’s sad but safe to say that we won’t see the likes of Tina Fredericks, real estate royalty, again. She didn’t just sell to the stars — she had her own star wattage. She befriended the mighty, but never kowtowed, and never neglected her clients on the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum. She died last year, but her vision and perspective live on in the dramatic, but ingeniously human, touches of the house she built on Georgica Pond. 74
• august 2016
t may seem wildly unlikely, but not so very long ago the hottest real
estate broker in the Hamptons drove her A-list clients to showings in a Ford Windstar minivan. But this was Tina Fredericks, and she knew that she was the show, not the wheels that carried her. Her improbable story of scrappy bootstrap success in magazines and in real estate, her interesting friendships with artists and musicians, and her own eventual celebrity are imprinted in the minds of everyone who knew her — and on the unique home she left behind. After a cosmopolitan life and career in Berlin, London, and New York, she threw her arms around the East End, loving it with an almost evangelical enthusiasm. She became the region’s first powerhouse broker because she knew the land and the housing stock, and understood the cultural assets of the villages and towns. She was lucky, in a way, to have lived and worked in an era before a fast-track broker needed a shiny new German
By Lang Phipps
The only passage between the two guest bedrooms is through this archway, above Tina, at left, waited until her ninth decade to build her dream house.
â€˘ august 2016
The deck looks out on both the Montauk bluffs and Ditch Plain beach.
The kitchen and living room look out to Georgica Pond and the ocean. 76
• july 2016
sports sedan, Burberry casualwear, and a smartphone to get going in the morning. The global “Hamptons” brand cut against Tina’s personal devotion to the place. The job that became a passion began as a practical necessity. In 1961, she had two young daughters, Stacey and Devon, from her first marriage to Pierce Fredericks. Husband number two was a successful cancer researcher at Brookhaven National Laboratories, and the family unwound every weekend at a summer cottage in East Hampton. Life was good. It took an unexpected swerve south, however, when Dr. Henry Koch’s career fell victim to his psychiatric problems, and the displaced Koch/Fredericks clan moved into a newly winterized cottage on Georgica Road in 1962. Stacey and Devon were sent to the Hampton Day School; Tina became a stay-at-home mom. After two years it was clear she needed a job to meet obligations. The local unemployment office presented two options: Try waitressing or give real estate a shot. In hindsight, her becoming a broker seems like fate. Tina Fredericks was born in Berlin in 1922 to Kurt and Mania Safranski. Her father was a graphic designer and director at a major publishing company, and undoubtedly the source of Fredericks’s preternaturally gifted eye. At the news of Hitler’s imminent rise to power, Kurt hastened west, to New York. It was arranged for Fredericks and her mother to go to London. Two years later, her father would meet them on arrival to America, and drive the family straight to New Rochelle. Cruising slowly through the alien suburban streets, he asked Tina to spot their new home. After a few blocks, she said, “There it is.” She had picked the one house that had caught his eye, too, because it had design cues that reflected their former home in Berlin. Even at 13, she was attuned to particular buildings, sensitive to what made them distinct and special. In her sophomore year at Bennington College, Fredericks won a summer internship as a guest editor at Mademoiselle magazine, and impressed her boss so much she was offered a full-time position in the art de-
Another view of the dramatic partment. She forgot Benningarchway and the steps to the ton and jumped into the workguest bedrooms ing world. By 22, she was under the aegis of Alexander Liberman, the great Condé Nast creative director, who knew talent when he saw it and anointed her with the title of art director at Glamour magazine, albeit under fairly operatic circumstances: The previous art director had thrown herself under a subway car (she survived). As the youngest art director in Condé Nast history, Fredericks gave Andy Warhol his first job, afterward jokingly calling herself “the Mom of Pop.” In the introduction to “PrePop Warhol,” a book focused on the artist’s early work, she recalls her first impression of this oddity out of Pittsburgh: “I greeted a pale, blotchy boy, diffident almost to the point of disappearance but somehow immediately and immensely appealing. He seemed all one color: pale chinos, pale wispy hair, pale eyes, a strange beige birthmark over the side of his face (almost like a Helen Frankenthaler wash).” This was in 1949. Twentytwo years later she sold “Eothen,” an old compound on the Montauk Moorlands, to Warhol, bringing things full circle. It was she who introduced him to the artists’ agent who first suggested Andy try his hand at fine-arts painting. It was she, also, who nurtured the career be themselves. One weekend, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns (and of the photographer and film maker Gordon Parks, who their pet monkey) borrowed her cottage when she was away, leaving the spoke of her taking him under her wing, “like a mother kind of thank-you gifts only people like Tina Fredericks would get: two hen.” original works of art from a pair of American masters. A player in the heady golden age of American mag She had it all at this point in the late 1950s — the booming Manhatazines, Fredericks was on a first-name basis with many tan career, a marriage with two young daughters, and a place to get away major art world figures. She was never starstruck, and from it all in a still-rural East Hampton. Then, a cascading series of events this charming ingenuousness about celebrity would no would change everything, and Fredericks would have to re-channel all her doubt prove part of her success as a broker for highgifts (her almost primal vitality, her extraordinary powers of observation, wattage clients who could lower their guard and just • august 2016
The Japanese-inspired landing to the living room and kitchen, left Stacey Fredericks, Tina’s daughter, with husband Jonathan Cohen, in the living room, right Tina with grandchild, bottom left
an unshakably resilient sense of self, and a worldly indifference to all pretense or fabulousness) into a new and seemingly unfitting incarnation: Tina Fredericks the real estate broker. She learned the business from one of the original doyennes of East End real estate, Elizabeth (Boots) Lamb of the Condie Lamb agency, who did Fredericks a favor by kicking her out of the nest once she deemed her ready to go out on her own. Tina Fredericks Realty was born in 1971, in an old laundry building moved from a neighboring estate to the front of the Georgica Road property. The agency would cover prime sales and rentals from Southampton to Montauk for 45 years, with only the Alan Schneider Agency as an equally high-profile competitor. In the 1970s, word of the clever, quirky real estate ads Fredericks created — line drawings with a whimsical headline styles — reached the legendary New York magazine editor Clay Felker. One showed a house on a dune with the line, “Oceanfront. They’re not making it anymore.” Stacey Fredericks recalls Felker telling her mother, “People will buy my magazine because of your ads,” and decided to give her free advertising space in perpetuity. At least that’s the story. The agency couldn’t help but succeed with Fredericks’s talents and passion. She didn’t just find the right house for you; she could design it for you, and did for 20 clients. From the driver’s seat of the Windstar minivan she would endlessly entertain and illuminate you about what she loved about the East End, and then share some of the riches after the closing with a gift membership to Guild Hall. Thanks to her connections from her magazine years, the little office on Georgica Road became a crossroads for everyone wanting the perfect house. At some point around the dawn of the 1980s, someone in the office acquired a big autograph book. Here’s a sampling of the boldfaced names who came out to see Fredericks: John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Steven Spielberg, Michael Jackson, Woody Allen, Nora Ephron, Tom Wolfe, Sting, and one from Jerry Seinfeld that says, “To Tina, Always call first!” 78
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All one space, the kitchen, dining room, and living room, bottom right
ina sold the 57-acre Creeks property on Georgica Pond to Ronald Perelman in 1993, a $12 million record at the time. Her work ethic was as strong that day as the day she opened shop. Ignoring pleas to take a break after closing, she jumped right in on a lowly rental. Like all creative people, she had hidden layers. She had more than just the one setting, hyperdrive: The core of her personality was the lifelong yogini who was fed by going in — to quiet, to reflection. In the 1970s, she sold off some of her art to buy a two-andhalf-acre parcel at the end of Briar Patch Lane, a few miles down the road from the office, where she would go just to lie in a hammock, or perhaps cut paths to the dunes. Twenty years later, the internet was starting to change everything. Fredericks began to wind the business down. Clients would drive up knowing which houses they wanted to see and every possible detail about them from virtual tours on their smartphones. Her role as inspired matchmaker was reduced to being
“This is White Sands, just a really good morning, last year. And that’s a friend Scott Rudin. That’s his spot. The girl with the pink hair makes it.”
• august 2016
The rooftop deck overlooking Georgica Pond and the ocean
a well-paid clerk; she began to spend more time planning her own dream house. Fredericks had her heart set on a Japanese architect to do the design. He submitted plans, which were typically Japanese — lots of small rooms, the very antithesis of the open spaces and transitional levels she loved. She looked for another collaborator, eventually finding a local architect named Kenton van Boer. The first thing they did was get a scissor-lift truck to see how tall the house needed to be to view the salt pond without disturbing the existing dune. It ended up being six stories including the roof deck. Van Boer has described the building as a “Shaker, Craftsman, Shingle Style folly,” but its influence is also Japanese, based on a trip Fredericks took to Japan with Dr. Henry Koch in the early 1960s. Stacey’s husband, Jonathan Cohen, aptly describes the thick Alaskan red cedar–clad design as “Frank Lloyd Wright meets Shogun.” His family alternates weekends with Devon Fredericks and her husband, Eli Zabar, the Manhattan food entrepreneur. The coastal flood plain site dictated a design that has poetry and function, from stem to stern. Fredericks’s house, it could be argued, is a land ship with 71 pilings driven through groundwater into the bottom of a bog. One of the guest bedrooms has a box-bay window with a broad sill for use as a sleeping platform, which its builder, Arthur Trifari, has described as being, “like the back of an old sailing ship — a frigate.” Stunning views of the water are at the tree-top (or mainmast) level. Although it occupies a modest-for-the-Hamptons 3,200 square feet, the structure is massive in appearance, looming above a pair of stone-clad piers that create a capacious arched opening 80
• AUGUST 2016
large enough to park a truck in. The house is dense with inspired design moments such as deep, useful windowsills (an echo of Fredericks’s Berlin house), alcoves like the sleeping bay to nap or read, a skylight that pours sun into a place of transition before you enter a room, a southfacing stone bench, and an elevator with a view: As you rise, a window reveals artwork and photography — including Diane Arbus’s portraits of Stacey and Devon, taken one month before Arbus’s suicide — finally revealing the pièce de résistance, an expansive view of the water at the rooftop cupola level. Fredericks was in her ninth decade when she moved in. The house she had built was her final creative statement, a place expressing who she was and where she’d been. It was large but cozy, an open plan with private nooks. And it was fully dimensional, rising through staggered levels, and expanding horizontally. Her beloved sanctuary was her office, small but complete with a daybed, a dormer view of the salt pond, and an “opera box” vantage over the living and dining areas, which let her be above but part of the public life of the house. If nothing else, the building is a tribute to a place that gave great meaning to a life. It reflects Tina’s guestbook the landscape of East Hampton, and its seafaring past. Books and art and family are bathed in the “Dutch light” that Willem de Kooning so loved. Everything is embraced here, the larger-than-life star quality that defined Fredericks and her clientele, and the rooted culture of the locals who were also her clients. Important 20th-century art could be found here, but Fredericks made sure the big freezer was full of clam pies, and strawberries and raspberries in season.
the 23rd annual watermill center summer benefit & auction
july 30, 2016 | tickets @ watermillcenter.org/benefit | 39 water mill towd road water mill ny | +1 (212) 253-7484 x115 photo by lovis ostenrik
At the age of 81, Big John Ryan is the elder statesman of East End lifeguarding. Jack Graves talks with him about saving lives, narrow escapes, and what every kid should be able to do in the water.
exactly how old he was when he learned to swim, sometime probably between the ages of 4 and 6, only that someone — a friend he guesses — pushed him off a dock at the bay on Long Beach. So, given the alternative, he swam. That was usually the way they did it in those days, around World War II. He has always loved the ocean, never feared it. “Some days, when it’s rough, you don’t go in, you’re a non-swimmer. Children know that — they don’t go in recklessly when it’s rough. It’s the pools that worry me, and the flotation devices.” Interestingly, the unofficial elder statesman of East Hampton Town’s lifeguards and the founding father of the town’s impeccably monitored junior lifeguard program never had any formal training. For him, it was largely sink or swim: His father died when he was 4, leaving his mother with six children to rear. But for this imposing, garrulous 81-year-old father of nine (eight of whom became certified lifeguards) and grandfather of 23 (19 of whom have remained here), the support of a large family is a consolation. “Both of us come from large families,” Ryan said the other day during a conversation at the house on Meadow Way, East Hampton, he shares with his wife, Pat. “Our mothers were very close. I always said her mother was the best mother-in-law I ever had. I said to myself if my wife is anything like her mother I’ve found a gem. I always tell my grandkids that their cousins will be their best friends.” Ryan became an ocean lifeguard at 16, and is still “watching the water” from the uppermost seat of a stand he built at the Amagansett Beach Association. From up there, “where no one can bother you,” he can control things. When he’s riding the pines, as it were, it’s his beach, and his responsibility that everyone’s safe. Vigilance is John Ryan’s watchword. He learned the hard way. “I missed one once. We worked 9-to-5 and 10-to-6 shifts at Long Beach. I distinctly remember being on the lower part of the stand and saying goodbye to the 5 o’clock guys, looking at my toenails. All of a sudden, I saw two people with their heads together. It was a rough day. One guy was ohn Ryan doesn’t remember
trying to save the other. “I missed it: I didn’t see them get in trouble, and that’s bad. I blew my whistle, and a guard ran down from the next beach. I ran out, and one guy said, ‘I’m okay, get him!’ I turned around. Nothing. I dived down and got him. He was blue. Oh, my God! By that time two other guards came out and, as we carried him out he threw up and started breathing. Thank God I got to him soon enough. . . . I was maybe three years in at that time, 18 or 19. “Those kinds of things stick with you forever. Making rescues is terrific if everything comes out all right. I wasn’t vigilant that day, but, again, if I didn’t grab him, he would have been dead.” Needless to say, over the course of a long lifeguarding and teaching career, he has participated in numerous rescues. And that’s not to mention the lives presumably saved through his persistent efforts to “waterproof ” the population here. “I want every kid by the age of 9 on the South Fork to be able to tread water for five minutes in the deep end of a pool,” he said, describing one of the requirements made of the countless youngsters who make it through junior lifeguarding. “Our in-school training at the Y is unique. We’ve got all of the schools. Still, there’s work to be done. We’ve got to do a better job of engaging the Latino community. “Kids will give you tremendous effort. It’s natural for them to take risks. Adults don’t. I glory in working with young people because of the effort they give you. I’ve always believed, as a teacher and as a swimming instructor and a test-giver, that you don’t inhibit, you facilitate. “I was at our Nippers program on Sunday, where kids 6, 7, and 8 can go to get ready for junior lifeguard tests. A boy had finished four laps and was crying. He had to do it in two minutes and 15 seconds, and he’d done it in 2:18. He was going to throw away his control card, where we keep track of their progress in the basic strokes. Haley, my granddaughter . . . is talking to him. She convinces the kid to rest and try again. He does and he makes it in within the time allowance. There’s a big smile on his face. That’s it! That’s important to us. I gave him an award. We celebrated.”
I want every kid by the age of 9 on the South Fork to be able to tread water for five minutes in the deep end.”
Coming out of a proud tradition of lifeguarding at Long Beach, Ryan, who stands 6 feet 6 inches and once played for Joe Lapchick’s St. John’s University men’s N.I.T. basketball champions, first moved here in the early ’60s. In half a century, he’s built a proud East Hampton tradition, what with the volunteer ocean rescue squad and the comprehensive lifeguard training that begins now with the Nippers. Still riding the crest of the wave at 81 — “on a rough day I know I can still go in and get through the break” — John Ryan is content to have passed the torch to such people as his son, John Jr., who heads the town guards, Tom Cohill, Norma Bushman, Helene Forst, T. J. Calabrese, Bob Pucci, Tim Treadwell, Vanessa Edwardes, and Steve Brierley, among others. “I was down sitting with my new beach boys the other day, saying to them, okay, America is probably the best country to live in in the world, that in America a pretty good place to live is in the Hamptons, and if you’re in the Hamptons you naturally want to be on the beach. And, look at us — we get paid to be on the beach. Isn’t that ridiculous? It’s a responsible position, but that’s it. To have that opportunity to work on the finest beaches in the world and to be paid for it. Absolutely, I feel blessed.”
> delacroix in love
By Frederic Tuten
speaking French and found that Pascal had come back, his left ear bent like a furry maple leaf. I tried to straighten it, but he pinched me with his needle teeth. He had been gone for over two weeks. I had plastered everywhere his photo and my number and a promise of a reward, but no one ever called. WOKE UP IN THE MORNING
At first my French was just a few phrases sliced into the English. “Such a beautiful day now that Pascal’s back home,” I said over breakfast to my still sleepy wife, “N’est-ce pas?” “I told you he’d be back,” the wife said. “Oui, c’est ça.” “What’s with the frog talk all of a sudden?” “J’sais pas,” I said with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders. “It’s annoying. Quit it.” The odd thing was that I had never studied French or had been to France or any francophone country. I regularly watched French movies at one of the few remaining art theatres in the city, but never bothered to join the actor’s voices with the subtitles and thus, I learned nothing of how to speak in that sexsoaked language where a noun sounds like a flirtation. I liked French, but I also enjoyed hearing Italian and Spanish and German, but I did not wake up one morning speaking them. My wife had left me some months ago to live with a man who owned a small but successful taxi fleet that sped through the fancier regions of the Hamptons. I had met him a few times at parties and benefits under summer tents. I liked his red pants and tasseled moccasins and that he said, “If you ever need a cab, use my name with the dispatcher.” “He just got divorced,” my wife whispered at the punch bowl after he had turned to a woman who called out the man’s name in capitals. “He’s interested in buying one of your paintings. I told him they were great.” I was happy when she left me and was unhappy when she returned, each feeling cancelling out the other, so I was left neither happy nor unhappy, but with a strange sense of benign resignation.
very other Sunday, Delacroix put aside his work, spruced up and went to the gare Montparnasse to meet the woman he loved. The little train from Auvers-sur-Oise always deposited her on time, and he was always there waiting for her on time. 84
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“Your regularity amazes me. If I didn’t know you were such a great artist, I would have taken you for an accountant or a bureaucrat.” “I take this as a great compliment,” he said. “I had always wanted to be a lawyer and arrange wills and divorces, but my parents forced me to become an artist.” The lovers often strolled about the Luxembourg garden and lunched nearby, sur la terrace, if the weather allowed. By late afternoon they were at his apartment drinking mint tea, the cup packed with dark, mint leaves and thick with sugar, the way it was prepared in Morocco, he told her. They eventually made their way to his lumpy bed, where they lingered until Sunday evening. On Monday morning, she took the train back to her unhappy mother. They were in love and would marry when he had sufficient income to provide for them both and for another or two, should they be so blessed. She was 23; he 44. And she would wait. Sometimes they spent their Sunday afternoons with his closest friend, Charles Soulier, a surgeon, whom Delacroix had known since university days. The three might take a train as far as St. Cloud and, in the ancient park of old oak trees, picnic under the cobalt sky. There, on a carpet of wine bottles and a wicker basket of fruit and cheeses and a roasted chicken, Charles lamented that he found medicine boring and his wealthy patients and their phantom ills beyond boring, and that he wished he could live as interestingly as did his friend and, like him, go off to Morocco and paint its exotic people, still untouched by violent machines and corrupting progress. She laughed. “Do you think Eugene has an interesting life? Until I met him, I thought artists were wild and lived in cafes and brothels when they were not dabbling with paint.” “It’s the doctor here who has what you imagine the artist’s life,” Delacroix said. “He carves up people in the morning, sleeps all day and has half the women in Paris charging his bed at night.” “You call that a life?” the doctor said. “If only one day I could meet a woman as vivid and beautiful as you, Clothide.” “Search for a woman with whom you can have happiness in your life, ” Clothide advised. “I would find happiness if you had a twin.”
want to write a book on artists and their travels,” I said, my mind filled with Delacroix’s letters, and his journals, which I thought were as moving as his paintings. “Save your time for painting,” my wife said. “There are hundreds of books like that.” “I’m sure. But I want to sort out the art that is an elevated trav-
elogue from that which is pure art.” “Now there’s something, a book that will explain what is pure art.” “Think of it, before photography, artists always went to faraway places to market exotic scenes to people back home — Delacroix’s Morocco paintings, for example.” “Exotic pornography,” she said. “Half naked slave girls in harems. I’m sure that sold like hot cakes in Delacroix’s time.” “Why do hot cakes sell so well?” “It’s just an expression.” “Sure, but what is a hot cake?” When I looked up, she was gone. But Pascal had leapt to the table and ate a slice of smoked salmon right off the plate. My wife never would have allowed that, but he knew I was a sucker for all his desires. “What do you think of my idea, Pascal, I know you were listening?” He curled himself on the table and let out a fishy yawn. I noticed that in speaking with Pascal I spoke English, his only language. “All those artists on the move, Pascal. Imagine what a schlep it was for Gauguin to get to Tahiti, or Delacroix to Morocco? Makes you wonder. Of course, there are the stay-at-homes, Monet and his garden, Pollack and his paint splattered floor in the Springs. See what I mean, Pascal? They didn’t have to travel an inch from home.” I heard my wife rumbling upstairs in her bedroom and wondered if she was unpacking or packing to leave again. She appeared minutes later. “Are you ever going to speak to me in English?” She was in blue shorts and a fetching red halter; her cork soled platform shoes sported blueberries on the straps tied above her ankles. I
Pedestal, 2016, David Salle Oil, acrylic, charcoal and archival digital transfer and print on linen 84 x 60 inches Art © David Salle/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY courtesy of SKARSTEDT, NY photo by Adam Reich
• august 2016
looked at her for a full long minute. She smiled. “Peut-être,” I said, in what I thought was a flirty way. “Your cat peed in my bed while I was gone.” “He must have been claiming it as his after you left,” I wrote in my notebook as she read over my shoulder. “I invited some people to come over to see your paintings, so please stop fooling around with the French stuff.” “D’accord.” The French windows opened to the patio, which stopped at a pool nestled against a wooden fence. Beyond the fence were scrub bushes and trees and a path that lead to the ocean. I could hear the ocean at night and was grateful I was on land. I hated travel by sea; hated it by land or air. I had named him when he was still in his litter. I knew right away we were made to be friends. And later, when he was just some months old, I was proven right when he started his long sits by the bay window that fronted the open sky. I knew that, like me, he was a daydreamer and not a voyager. Hence, I named him after the French philosopher who asked God to give him the patience to sit. “It’s so pretentious to call a cat Pascal,” my wife had said. “It embarrasses me. What’s wrong with Tom, or Tiger, or Jake?” She addressed him by all of those names. He gave her his yawn of indifference and retreated to me. It was after that that he began his peregrinations. Or maybe he had sat long enough and thought to see a bit of the world before he died. I once got a call from the movie house in Southampton saying that after the last show, when they were cleaning up, they had found Pascal sleeping in the rear with a dead mouse between his teeth. How had he gotten there, a walk of twelve miles from my house? He once took to the road, my little hitchhiker, and was picked up by a couple on their way to Florida who thought that he had been abandoned by summer people. They called me a week after when they discovered his nametag buried under his burr and leaf coated neck. I had to fly to Naples, Florida, and rent a car to bring him home. He was silent the entire 21 hour drive back, even though I spoke to him in the most affectionate way. I walked to my studio and examined the paintings hung along the walls: Sailboats in a race, their spinnakers billowing; fishing boats in a high sea cast in a silvery, moon thick sky. I sold well at the less known, local galleries and as far afield as Martha’s Vineyard and Kent, Connecticut. For a time, I painted the show horses of people who wanted their equine world immortalized. I was always in demand and could have painted horses until I died
and I would have died with a plus in my estate. But the sea and its implied adventures, its high romance is what I went for and stayed with, as long as I did not have to board a watery craft. Over the years, I had made friends with famous artists in an area known for famous artists. I was never anxious about their fame or that my work was in radical contrast to theirs. I was pleased with what I did and that was all that mattered to me or all that I let matter. I had been asked many times by my artist friends to show them my work, but I was too shy to invite them to my studio until one said, “Nicolas, let your friends see who you are.” I did. And there was always a little chill after that whenever we met at dinner parties. “Nicolas is trying to drag painting back to the nineteenth century,” I heard one of them had said. Pascal came in and circled my ankles three times and let out a little cry of hello. I lifted him into my arms and walked him about the studio. He had always been my most appreciative audience. “Pascal,” I said. “Are you going to leave me again?” The moment I said that, I realized that for him, the unknown streets he prowled were his oasis and his desert sands. The females he met in dark alleyways were his mobile harem, for him to choose among day or night. In retrieving him from his wanderings time and time again, what adventures had I deprived him of? I heard voices and sure enough it was my wife and her guests. The man was wearing green pants and red tasseled moccasins and a plaid shirt open at his suntanned, gray-haired chest; the woman with him had the face of a grilled wallet. “I need something for my dining room,” he said, after we shook hands and, “I don’t want something trendy that anyone can get at Gagosian or Zwirner” “Oui, je comprend.” “Is your husband French?” she asked. “He lived in France a long time,” my wife said, “and sometimes he lapses into the language.” He stopped before a painting of a schooner at dusk turning in the wind and a white-capped sea. The last rays of the sun gleamed off the stern. “There is much melancholy here,” he said. “A wistfulness.” “Merci,” I said, touched. “You are the schooner at its last light, n’est-ce pas?” “Justament,” I said. “Vous avez tout compris.” With my painting under his arm, he took me aside as they were leaving and said, “Your wife still loves you. She just needed a fling.”
I heard my wife rumbling upstairs in her bedroom and wondered if she was unpacking or packing to leave again.
• august 2016
nce he was back from Morocco, Delacroix ceased his travels. Many of his very few friends noticed that ever since his return from “the land of the sun,” as he called Morocco, he had grown ever more reclusive. He invented absurd excuses to avoid accepting dinner invitations — my shoes walked off during the night — but the invitations grew with his increasing fame. He ate alone, one meal a day in the early evening, and took to bed at an hour when others were stirring to leave their houses for a party or to a dinner with friends. To a close friend, who had lamented that she longed to see him, Delacroix wrote: “Passion cannot give one lasting well-being. That lies only within oneself. The only real satisfaction I feel is with work.” The friend was surprised by these words as she had only asked Delacroix to dine with her and her husband before the month was out. And she was even more surprised when she read: “When a man has lost love, he has lost everything.” No one knew what had caused the change in him; that secret Delacroix kept to himself. In his months away in Morocco, the call to prayer from the mosques that reached to the clouds, the steeds and their riders racing between the beach’s edge and the ocean’s spume, the round women and their soft eyes, the gardens of jasmine dizzying the air, all had impregnated him, but had not covered the space where Clothide lived. They had met a week after he returned from Tangiers and took their walk in the Luxembourg Gardens and lunched at their favorite café, went to his apartment and drank mint tea and sank into his lumpy bed. But something had changed. She cried at the train station when he had come to meet her, she had teared up during their garden walk and at lunch, and she wept in bed. At first he had thought that the emotion of seeing him after his long absence had brought on all these tears, and he was flattered at the salty evidence that she loved him so greatly. He, himself, looked at her with moist, adoring eyes. At breakfast the next morning, more of the same. Until he asked, “My dear, what is the matter?” “It was not his fault,” she said. “Nor mine. It was that we both missed you so much.” It was rare to read a letter with such dignity and sadness, I thought, after reading it twice. I read it aloud to Pascal the third time while he was on my lap, and he feigned some interest before he went to sleep. It was to Delacroix’s dearest friend, Charles Soulier, whom he now addressed in the formal “vous.” “You treated as a passing moment, without repercussion, what for me completely had filled by heart and soul.” He added, “Fabricate for our friends a reason why we no longer see each other.” I wonder what he wrote or had said to Clothide, whom he never saw again.
He caught colds and many of his letters refer to his long stays in bed. He poured his ailments into his correspondence and, as he grew older, his letters grew ever more warm and feeling full and, at points, almost confessional, as if their distance allowed him the safety to open his heart. To Georges Sand, he wrote, “Let us love one another, then, with or without fame. It’s not your fame I love, it’s yourself.” His letters kept him warm and his paintings kept him active, but, for all that, he spent the rest of his life in bed, alone.
y wife was by the pool, a drink in hand. She smiled. She raised her glass in a salute of celebration. “I knew he would like your paintings.” “Oui, il me semble qu’on a le même goût.” I moved toward the house and then toward the studio and then went toward the garage and then back to the studio where I studied my paintings. I did not hate them and I did not love them, but they had left me. They had gone from me along with English, my own language, and with the painting under the arm of my wife’s lover. What if I left, as had Pascal so many times, without a word or a sign, and took the first plane to anywhere and just lived, whatever that meant. Now that I spoke French, why not live in Paris, where I could sit in a café packed with poets and artists and their models, who forever loved them, even committing suicide after their deaths? I could paint the Seine and Notre Dame with its rosette window; I could paint the Luxembourg garden, I could paint the Paris that I had only known in the movies and in photographs and bring the city to a life that it had never before known. I could take Pascal with me. He could learn French easily and a new universe would open up to him, to us. I went to get Pascal’s travel box in the attic. It was dusty. As soon as he saw it, he fled under my bed. It was a struggle to extract him, but I finally won and urged him into the cage. I put the box on the seat beside me and drove though town to where I had once found him basking under a staircase that led to the beach. He had looked disappointed, but let me take him home; he had been at large only two weeks, but had already assumed a grizzled, feral look of vast independence. I opened the box; he stalked away, looked about and, on his own volition, slid back into the box. Then I hit on a new idea. I drove to the East Hampton train station and let him out on the platform. I removed and pocketed his nametag. I picked him up and gave him a hug and a kiss that he managed to avoid. But once again when on the ground, he snuggled up close until the westbound train arrived with great self-importance. Pascal entered and turned about to face me as the train slid shut its doors.
• august 2016
For a century, the South Fork has drawn them. Lifelong friendships have been made, beach-marshmallow traditions established, and countless love affairs begun with this preternaturally stunning stretch of sand and fertile earth. As Christina Robert — a filmmaker, novelist, and environmental activist — writes, growing up a summer kid has also sprouted something else entirely: roots and the inspiration for a big life.
ast summer, while I was bicycling
along the bumpy brick path that parallels Ocean Road, a car drove by, and someone called out, “Hey, Christina!” I didn’t see who it was. I’d just arrived in town and hadn’t biked for a while and I had to concentrate on staying upright. But the sound of those words had an unexpected impact on me. I was a New Yorker who had lived in London for a quarter century, and, even though I wasn’t aware of it, I guess I was hitting that time in life where belonging starts to matter. Hearing my name called out like that made me feel like a cast member from “Cheers.” For the first time in my life, I allowed myself to accept that maybe this overhyped, overrun, magically beautiful part of Eastern Long Island might actually be my home. I guess in some ways I’ve earned it. I’ve been coming here long enough to remember going up Middle Lane in East Hampton in late August to pick potatoes for supper. (If I wanted to find a potato on Middle Lane today I would have to steal into someone’s kitchen.) I also remember “Old Lady Beale” and her daughter, Edie, over on West End Road; they were my generation’s Boo Radley. We used to dare each other to call them on the phone or go knock on their door. Of course, they turned out to be perfectly friendly. One
• august 2016
year we even baked Edie a birthday cake, which she graciously accepted on her doorstep, wearing her now infamous headscarf. That was the 1970s and back then the village of East Hampton was more reminiscent of the 1950s. The woman who worked at the Five and Ten “Upstreet” (where the Bonne Nuit lingerie store is now) wore cat-
For the first time in my life, I allowed myself to accept that maybe this overhyped, overrun, magically beautiful part of Eastern Long Island might actually be my home.
eye glasses and set her hair in tight, dark brown curls. Her red lipstick covered a pea shape growth on her upper lip. She wasn’t particularly friendly, but I remember being captivated by her style and enigmatic manner. Going into town was a much more utilitarian affair then than now. The village was where we got calamine lotion at White’s Pharmacy and a butterfly net at
Marley’s. I remember the summer I discovered you could buy plaster of Paris at East End Hardware. My friends and I got a kick out of pretending to our parents that we had broken various limbs. Packaged food was really hitting its stride around that time. I loved going to the A&P for frozen Sara Lee brownies and popsicles in psychedelic striped combinations. The only store where I ever wanted to linger was Arlene’s Boutique and Gifts. It was the hippest joint in town. I remember heavenly sachets of powdered Green Apple bubble bath, Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers in all the flavors, and loads of turquoise and silver jewelry. I will be eternally grateful for Arlene bringing the mood ring to Suffolk County. I can still recall my delight and fascination the first time I put that oval oracle on my finger. It turned pink that summer when I fell for Giancarlo Giannini, in Swept Away at The Old Post Office Cinema. I think I was nine. I don’t know why my memories from those summers outweigh those of the rest of my childhood, but they do. But it’s not just memories of old East Hampton that make me feel at home here. Much of what anchors me to this place are things that haven’t changed: the beach, the light, the smell of sea grass, the alchemical effect of getting into that ocean. Iacono’s still has the best chicken in the known world. Round Swamp’s yellow
peaches and white corn are forever the gold standard. And I love a lot of the new things that are happening around food out here too, like the growing culture of local, organic produce and dock-to-kitchen seafood. A visit to Quail Hill Farm is my idea of heaven. I am not alone. My friends who spent summers here can’t seem to shake this place either. When my children were little, I noticed that us returners were disproportionately female. We would come back from all over: Chicago, Milan, Vermont, Philadelphia, the United Kingdom. We would pile into our parents’ houses, three generations under one roof. It was the most glorious treat to be able to re-connect with a sense of self that was formed before we had to negotiate married life, do night feeding, and decipher what it meant to “have it all.” Now, everyone who can seems to come back. I want to point out that I have friends and family in England too. And London is a city I find singularly beautiful — why don’t I call it home? I think it’s because home isn’t just a place you go to see people you love; it is also an experience that shapes you. I’m fundamentally an East Coast American, and nothing is going to change that — not my French father or my English husband and children. I like my ocean cold and my marshmallows toasted over an open fire. I believe in family and preserving the natural world, and both beliefs were born amid the beauty of East Hampton. I became an environmental journalist and campaigner. My introduction to fragile habitats and the efficacy of conservation came from here, first with the ospreys, then the plovers, then the striped bass. East Hampton let me see the power of a hurricane close up. It also allowed me to bear witness to the decline of shark and tuna populations, and the importance of protecting our water table. When I try to document humanity’s impact on the planet — making films to shed light on the ills of coal — or help support the Chinese government in its new efforts to curb pollution, I think of my mother and the East Hampton Garden Club, and of the Ladies Village Improvement Society and their loving care of the elms.
So thank you, East Hampton. Thank you for having me. And thank you to my parents for planting me here all those years ago. I can’t think of a more nourishing place to have taken root. I guess this means my “madeleine” is a slice of Astro’s Pizza.
From Recess by Sasha Frolova, 2012
• august 2016
> Burwell Scores
Most of Carter Burwell’s fans don’t actually know it. But, even if you’ve never heard his name, you’ve heard his music. Burwell scored two of the Twilight films and every Coen brothers movie, notably The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, and Fargo. When he’s not being nominated for Oscars, he puts out fires as a volunteer with the fire department in Amagansett, where he lives with his wife, the noted installation artist Christine Sciulli, and their three children. Here’s what’s on his reading list. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes Dmitri Shostakovich attempts to preserve both his life and his soul in Stalinist Russia through the use of irony — writing music that appears to celebrate the Soviet system while also criticizing it. But at the end of his life he wonders whether irony means anything if no one sees the hidden criticism — if no one gets the joke. The story of a composer trying to maintain his true voice in a totalitarian system is, of course, one any Hollywood composer can appreciate (Irving Thalberg instructed his music department “No minor chords in MGM films”). But no matter how conflicted I may feel about my work, at least nothing I’ve written has earned me a bullet in the head. So far. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates In search of clear communication, I’m always trying to find common experience with my collaborators. Two people I recently worked with told me their dads had been incarcerated for much of their childhood. This was a common experience where they came from, but I couldn’t find anything in my life to compare. Not for the first time, the gulf between white and black experience in this country looms. As it happens, I have ancestors who were slave owners in Virginia and, while I don’t feel culpable for what they did, those roots of our country will continue to bear bitter fruit for a long time, and are always worth re-examining. 90
• august 2016
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami I’ve been slowly working my way through Murakami’s work. Very slowly. And, at more than 1,000 pages this one may take more than the summer, but I look forward to anything he writes. My favorite thing about his books is my inability to understand them. They seem to follow the structure and pithy style of detective novels, leaving you hoping for a clue that will make sense of it all. The mystery often involves people passing from one reality to another and is never really solved. Just like life. Zika Virus by Didier Musso and Duane J. Gubler, in Clinical Microbiology Reviews (a free online publication) Okay, I don’t really expect everyone to read this, but let me explain why it’s on my summer reading list. Music had been my primary hobby since high school, and I never intended it to be a career, but about 12 years ago I noticed this had happened, so I looked around for a new hobby. I chose viruses. I enrolled in a virology course at Columbia and now I can follow most of what’s going on in my new hobby. And there’s always something going on! Remember Ebola? And now Zika! This review article covers its discovery in 1947 — when a caged rhesus monkey in the canopy of the Zika forest had a fever — to the second half of the 20th century, during which time only 20 cases of human infection were ever reported, to its emergence in South America just a year ago. How are we outwitted by something about one millionth our size with a handful of genes?
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