On Saturday, the second in a series of talks on Women Artists at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, was a smashing success with over 150 collectors and artists, mostly women, in attendance. Conceived by artist Toni Ross, the series is dedicated to her mentor, Elaine de Kooning.
Dianne Benson, the president of LongHouse, welcomed the audience. Moderated by Guild Hall’s Andrea Grover, a spirited panel deeply moved listeners by presenting a thoughtful diverse conversation.
Artist Alice Aycock opened by quoting a New York Times op-ed piece by Charles Blow, “to achieve as an act of defiance.” She went to share autobiographical facts including, “my father was in construction which is why it was normal for me to envision cranes and bulldozers assisting my work.”
The Parrish Art Museum’s director, Terrie Sultan, took up Alice’s theme sharing, “The strongest act of defiance can just be turning out every day. That’s a way you can achieve” and offered advice to young women, “Turn a crisis into an opportunity. That’s been a continuing source of strength for me.”
Artist Michelle Stuart took a more independent tack, “Curiosity is what drives us. I wonder about the relationship between patterns. That gives me a great deal of pleasure. To own them by drawing them and converting them to another mystery. “
Art historian Barbara Rose continued the theme, “For all the women on this panel this is not a career, this is an avocation. None of us have a choice… I ask my students to raise their hands if you can do anything else. The ones who respond I tell them, ‘go do it!’” Eventually she turned to a more historical view, “I spent winters with Georgia O’Keeffe in Albuquerque…I used to spend my summers here with Lee Krasner. She was a huge influence on me. At that time her work was not taken seriously. She was ‘The Widow Pollock.’ Her retrospective at MoMA , which I curated, was the first for a Woman Artist. I’m very proud of that.”
The talk took place in a leafy grove amid a new sculptural installation by Toni Ross titled, Sanctuary Entwined. Jack Lenor Larsen, the founder of LongHouse, commented recently, “We try to be current or at least relevant, but – in a quarter-century – we have never been so ‘right on’ as now, with Toni Ross. Because this, her newest work, is so definitely on the upswing! That she moved from clay to fiber and from indoors to the landscape, is pertinent. That she has also mastered a new textile form is phenomenal! We could not be more pleased!”
The next conversation is on September 23 at 11:00 with artists Bastienne Schmidt, Zina Saro-Wiwa, and Almond Zigmund, and moderated by Pernilla Holmes. Admission is free and open to the general public (R.S.V.P. Mr. Jack Meyer Jack.Meyer@gsmltd.net or 212.271.4283).
This series, “Women Artists: Reshaping the Conversation,” is underwritten by a contribution from the Alpine Capital Bank, the Aboodi and Hoffman families. Additional generous donations from Integrated Exercise Therapy (IET) of Bridgehampton, and Dorothy Lichtenstein. A previous event was also made possible by a gift from TAG Associates LLC. The August 26 event was also made possible by a gift from Sheri Sandler. The September 23 event is also made possible by a gift from Neda Young. Special thanks to Sandy and Stephen Perlbinder and Ricco Maresca Gallery, whose generosity helped make Toni Ross’s installation a reality.