East Hampton’s LongHouse Reserve celebrated its community of artists — past, present, and future — at their annual Summer Benefit, July 23rd. Titled ONWARD, a favorite expression of its founder Jack Lenor Larsen. Banished was the old-style sit-down dinner under a tent. Instead, LongHouse spread couches, canopied beds, rugs, and chairs throughout the garden under the stars, with five buffets bosting everything from poké bowls to a raw bar. The art auction proved a centerpiece, while multiple bands kept 300 revelers dancing till nearly midnight — many of them sporting caftans.
“Having so many of the talented makers of our new artworks with us is in keeping with LongHouse’s tradition of honoring makers” said executive director Carrie R. Barratt. “LongHouse is so fortunate to have such a wealth of talent and support in our community,” offered co-president Dianne Benson. “You could feel the love and support in the air” added co-president, Nina Gillman.
Among the artists attending were Cheng Tsung Feng, who traveled with his team from Taiwan, inviting guests to enter his bamboo pavilion, Fish Trap VI; Steven Ladd stood inside his piece (created with his brother William Ladd), Right Here, Right Now; Moko Fukuyama engaged us with her Hell Gate Keepers; and Fitzhugh Karol shared Friendship, his immense totems honoring the spirit of trees. Other work on the property for the first time included Bjorn Amelan‘s sumi ink paintings and Alexander Polzin‘s Parthenope alongside permanent installations by Yoko Ono, Buckminster Fuller, and Willem de Kooning.
Guests includedAlice Aycock, Tony Bechara and Desiree Von la Valette, Halim Bulos, Stacy Engman, Edwina von Gal, Dakota Jackson and RoseLee Goldberg, Anna Kulinova, Nathan Lane and Delvin Elliott, Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley, Laura Lobdell, Fern Mallis, Jean Shafiroff, Leann Pei, Harry Santa-Olalla, Lee Skolnick, Barbara Slifka, David White (Mr. StarCity), Robert Wilson, stylish sister duo Tanya and Temidra Willock, and Victoria Wyman, as well as LongHouse Reserve Board of Trustees Sherri Donghia, Dr. Derick George, Ayse Kenmore, Mark and Elizabeth Levine, Deborah Nevins, Peter H. Olsen, Suzanne Slesin and Michael Steinberg, and James Zajacs.
The Summer Benefit is LongHouse Reserve’s largest event of the year, with all proceeds going towards their mission of teaching living with art in all its forms; this includes diverse educational outreach, community programming, and maintenance of the grounds to keep it open for all.
Sponsors included Macari Vineyards, Springs Brewery, Baked by Melissa, Marders, Diversified Services Inc., Power Equipment, and Riverhead Building Supply. Music provided by The Cherry Bombs, Joy Jan Jones, Royal KhaoZ and Certain Moves, with choreography and movement from Hadam Sung.
And a week earlier, LongHouse Reserve continued their series of artist talks with Dr. Glenn Adamson and Michele Oka Doner (entitled Where Did Your Soul First Open: The Trees in My Life and Yours) coming on successive nights to chat with Director Carrie Rebora Barratt.
Sitting beneath a pair of cherry trees Michele Oka Doner spoke of her continuing fascination with the centennial banyan trees near her childhood home in Miami Beach. She continues to consider the symbiotic connection between nature, art, and human life. “I feel embedded,” she says, “in the veins of leaves. I looked at those and I looked at my hands as a child — I knew it was the same as us.” Michele’s work in sculpture, furniture, jewelry, books, and design is fueled by a lifelong study and appreciation of the natural world.
Glenn Adamson — recently appointed Longhouse’s Curator at Large — signed copies of his book Craft: An American History, which offers an inclusive vision of craft and makers saying, “Women and Native Americans , African Americans, and immigrants have all relied on handiwork for their livelihoods, while also embracing it as a means of group identity” Glenn shared how the many strands of American craft history intertwined in the postwar era, when LongHouse Founder Jack Lenor Larsen came of age, and concluded with a consideration of the current revival of hand making that is unfolding in the USA today.
Conversations with artists and thinkers have a long history at LongHouse Reserve — its founder Jack Lenor Larsen was a great conversationalist — and a new series entitled LongHouse Talks continues this tradition. Over the 2022 season, Director Carrie Rebora Barratt leads conversations with artists, architects, designers, dancers, musicians and other thought partners in living with art in all of its forms. Artist duo, The Ladd Brothers (Steven and William Ladd), sculptor Alexander Polzin, architect Lee Skolnick, and artist Bjorn Amelan have already joined LongHouse this season. Still to come this season are LongHouse Talks to be announced with Moko Fukuyama, Edwina von Gal, Marren Hassinger, and Fitzhugh Karol.
Photographs by Patrick McMullan and Richard Lewin