Hamptons Social Diary: Debbie’s “Drive-By” Week at a Glance

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Drive-By-Art: “Public Art in this Time of Social Distancing” features 52 artists from Southampton to Montauk. Pictured here is Toni Ross and Sara Salaway's When (detail), in Wainscott.

It’s been more than three months since I’ve shared a Glance at my week, largely because there wasn’t much to see. I also had a family medical situation in February that gave a me a practice run at social distancing, one month early — a skill I wouldn’t have missed acquiring.

I think there is a lot of navel examination and philosophizing, as we have too much time on our hands and a pent-up need to express ourselves. I won’t bore you with mine because damned if I have ANY idea of where we go from here — nor do people know who are a whole lot better informed.

A usually-packed, Southampton beach and church parking area on a sunny Sunday.
Tate’s. A little bit of sweet normal, though only two masked customers at a time.

I do know that many of us are enjoying aspects this strange break, minus the larger hardships. My dog is happily confused by the constant attention and conversation. It’s also been a rare treat to live with my daughter again, and though she works 12 hours a day (remotely) — I am proud and fascinated to watch her, and thrilled to dine with her nightly.

Marvelous Miss Marble, smothered with love.

My son will arrive home from LA next week, sealed in a mask, gloves and my prayers for safe passage. I’m cooking up a storm, not particularly well, but with gusto and a renewed admiration and longing for the restaurants I love and the people I associate with them — Geoffrey and Majorelle, Chappy and The Carlyle, Donahue’s (and Pastis) with Monique, and DPC at Sette Mezzo.

I miss movies, and having exhausted Netflix’s stash, find myself half interested but committed to a Finnish crime series (while I distractedly pull pills off the old sweaters I’m living in). Fortunately, Andrew Saffir and his Cinema Society have been providing a steady stream of new shows for virtual premieres that I am attending in my jammys and newly depilled sweaters.

Derek Cianfrance, Juliette Lewis, and Mark Ruffalo on the set of HBO’s I Know This Much is True.
David Corenswet and Patti LuPone in Hollywood (Netflix).
Monica Raymund in Hightown (Starz).
Alfie Allen and Beanie Feldstein in How to Build a Girl (IFC Films).

I don’t miss the 600 people galas in the least, but hope that the charities they benefit survive without the egos that fuel the step and repeat ticket purchases. And I salute the organizations that come up with clever and welcome ways to keep us engaged, which brings me to Drive-By-Art.

Joel Perlman, Table Top 1, Watermill.

Artist, professor, and theorist Warren Neidich decided to create Drive-By-Art — “Public Art in this Time of Social Distancing.” Inspired by Germany’s Munster Sculpture (a bike tour of outdoor art, held every five years), Warren — with able assistance from The Parrish Art Museum and Guild Hall — created a weekend outdoor art jaunt. 52 artists from Southampton to Montauk displayed their sculpture, paintings, video art, and more on fences, garages, driveways and roads — all to be viewed from the safety of our cars, bikes or socially distanced feet. 

Bruce Sherman, Wainscott.

Warren didn’t show his own work, but rather, called this exhibition his “conceptual work.” Some of the artists, like Laurie Lambrecht and Sabina Streeter, were on hand to greet and explain their work. Eric Fischl’s and Bryan Hunt’s renowned sculptures were delectably available to almost privately savor on their front yards.

Laurie Lambrecht, Bridgehampton.
Sabina Streeter, Once We Were Here, Where We Are Now, Sag Harbor.
Eric Fischl, Young Dancers Dancing, Sag Harbor.

Darius Yektai offered a gallery’s worth of Old Master inspired work with signage linking them to today’s issues. Sabina Streeter’s lovely watercolors fluttered in in the breeze on Sag Harbor’s Main Street, and Toni Ross and her daughter Sara Salaway’s powerful statement of a line of chairs, each representing the days of the virus, jarred and moved us down a usually sedate, Sagaponack road.

Toni Ross and Sara Salaway, When, Wainscott.

Much of the art was related to nature and many of the artists made comments that reminded of us of the delicate and threatened connection we have with it. The site, drive-by-art.org, is still up and is a treasure trove of pictures and thoughtful words. It will be back next Spring, sans pandemic, but because it’s a grand idea. And LA is hosting an even larger version on Memorial Day weekend.

Bastien Schmidt, Grids and Threads, Bridgehampton.
Diane Blell, Table for Two/Separate Tables, Bridgehampton.
Jill Musnicki, Deer Fight, Sag Harbor.
Elena Bajo, Wainscott.
Lucy Winton and Bryan Hunt, Wainscott.
Bryan Hunt, Wainscott.
Eric Deaver, Watermill.
Tanya Minhas, Sagaponack.
Steve Miller, Health of the Planet, Sagaponack.
Darius Yetkai, We Look Backwards, We learn, We Go Forwards, Sag Harbor.
Darius Yetkai, We Look Backwards, We learn, We Go Forwards.

My daughter and I spent Mother’s Day on the tour, winding through roads we’ve never visited, enjoying the remarkable works of art and feeling lucky to be in this glorious community that has inspired artists for generations. We regretted missing Clifford Ross’s nighttime video installation, but Mother’s Day beckoned.


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On our way back to Southampton — which had a disproportionately smaller amount of artists my daughter saved the life of a dog who was running madly on a busy street, having escaped her fenced-in home. This seems to be our Mother’s Day mantra, my having saved a drowning baby deer 3 years ago from a deep, icy lap pool on open house drive by.

I ended my day with personal art, a painting of hydrangeas, real hydrangeas in my mother’s vase, and a sublime chicken piccata, artistically created by my daughter.

My Mother’s Day art: hydrangeas in my mother’s vase, painting of hydrangeas, and my favorite dinner, all by Serena.

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