What was to be the art event of the year became the event of the year as International Societys finest turned out for the inaugural Art Southampton presented by Art-Miami on Thursday evening.
Director + Partner Nicholas Korniloff and Vice President, Sponsorships and VIP Relations Pamela Cohen were joined by Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, Southampton Hospital President and CEO Robert Chaloner, Brenda Simmons, Special Assistant to the Mayor, and Southampton Hospital Foundation President Steve Bernstein in cutting the enormous, white satin ribbon to officially open what is clearly the greatest art fair to be mounted on the East End of Long Island.
Following the presentation of a check in the amount of $10,000 by Korniloff to President Chaloner, prominent collectors, socialites and philanthropists flooded through the doors for a first look at some of the most important contemporary art pieces assembled this side of the Shinnecock Canal. It was hard to believe that over 3,600 guests strolled through the massive pavilion for what quickly became a quintessential Hamptons-style VIP party, to the benefit of Southampton Hospital.
The extraordinary turnout was a direct result of the efforts of a passionate Host Committee, comprised of Lisa Anastos, Gary & Katherine Andreassen, Angela Anton, Christopher Arnold, Ted & Ruth Baum, Ian & Grace Burliuk, Haley & Jason Binn, Roger Blaugh, Berry Brown, Henry Buhl, Liz Burns, Sharon Bush, Alicia & Dan Bythewood, Lady Liliana Cavendish, Gregory DElia, Jamie de Roy, Sherry Dobbin & Marc Fasanella, Jeanine Edington, Tom & Maribeth Edmonds, Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, Millie Fellingham, Michael Forestano, Dora Frost, Judy & Rod Gilbert, Lucia Hwong Gordon, Dede Gotthelf, Dr. Penny Grant, Audrey & Martin Gruss, Andrea Gurvitz, Jeannette Hecktoen & Neill Slaughter, Sara Herbert Galloway & Barry Klarberg, Ryan Horn, George & Joan Hornig, Maryann Horwath & Michael Shaheen, George & Amy Kane, Carolyn Kendall Buchter & Ron Buchter, Andrea Kent, Michaela & Stephan Keszler, Gary Lawrance, Ann Liguori, Susan Madonia, David McDonnell, Bruce Michael & Clif de Raita, Nicole Miller, Juan Montoya, Chris Norwood, Laura OReilly, Jere Paterson & Sarah Hunter Paterson, Cassandra Seidenfeld, Jean & Martin Shafiroff, Seren & Michael Shvo, Brenda Simmons, Martin & Nancy Stone, Mary Lou Swift, Pamela Willoughby, Robert Chaloner, President & CEO Southampton Hospital and Steve Bernstein, President, Southampton Hospital Foundation.
Presented by the long running Art Miami, one of the most prestigious international fairs of contemporary and modern art in the world, the inaugural Art Southampton matched its southern sister fair in offering not only the highest quality of art from the worlds most respected galleries but displaying these magnificent works in a luxurious specially constructed 75,000 square foot Pavilion featuring an elegant VIP Lounge and private spaces for galleries. Fortunately, the pavilion was built to withstand winds of up to 190 mph and the crowd never even heard the raging hailstorm that blew across the bay mid-evening.
Art Southamptons location at 605 County Road on the Elks Lodge Fair Grounds proved to be the ideal location, at the Gateway to the East End, for visitors from the West or East.
Partner Maserati North America waved the checkered flag for Maserati drivers, with unlimited VIP access and special corral parking, while those with non-Italian automotive style received complimentary self-parking on the fairgrounds.
Award winning landscape designer Christopher LaGuardia famed for his site-specific installations, transformed the entrance into an oasis to compliment the massive sculptures of artists such as Andrew Levitas and Hal Buckner, which were among those on display.
Celebrated Southampton caterer Tim Burke outdid himself offering such locally sourced fare as seared peppercorn tuna lobster sale en brioche, grilled chicken & watermelon and smoked striped bass with apples & horseradish. Sponsor Heineken ensured plenty of icy beer and Bootlegger 21Vodka mixed up such beach club favorites as the classic Southside. In addition, guests received a First Look at magnificent art works from close to 50 of the worlds most respected galleries.
Guests mingled in the ultra swank VIP lounge, a gleaming, circular white-leather banquette seating area accented with ocean-blue pillows, while Hal Buckners massive mobile Lex slowly twirled above them.
So relaxed and social was the preview reception-turned party of the season that many pledged to return to better examine the overwhelming number of premiere works adorning the walls and private showrooms. But there was still a whirlwind of activity, with many of the premier international dealers reporting high-ticket sales. Such prominent international collectors as Beth Rudin De Woody, Michael & Seren Shvo, Ted & Ruth Baum, Wilbur & Hilary Ross, Harvey Manes, Frank Wyman, Steven & Nan Swid were unanimous in their raves for not only the art but the sophisticated and stylish design of the pavilion. Joining in the chorus were Vered & Janet Lehr, Rod & Judy Gilbert, Henry & Diane Feldman, Paton Miller, Barbara Marino & Linda Marino, Raven Solomon, George & Amy Kane, David Smith, Anne De Brigard & David Nadal, Victor Forbes, Melanie Wambold, Jane & Bob Pontarelli, Leigh Keno & Tina Teel, Jill Johnson, Ken & Irma Herzog, Tripoli Patterson & Lola Schnabel, Dan Comelli & Kathy Comelli, Tony Sellin, Melissa Olcott, Sarah Hunter Patterson, Eric Dever, Kate Shanley, Isa Goldberg & Nanette Shaw, Ann Thomas, Joan Macri, Paul Anthony, Terry Sarro, Gary Lawrance, Linda Assini, and Broadway producers Stewart Lane & Bonnie Comley.