Driving through Water Mill on Route 27, one is struck mostly by the squat shingled Windmill in the center of the tiny village, and tantalizing glimpses of Villa Maria, a waterfront late 19th century ‘summer house,’ which was, over the years, expanded and redesigned in many architectural incarnations, serving as a convent, a spirituality center, and finally again as a private home. But take the time to explore a bit deeper, and you will find both history and art abounding.
The Water Mill Museum
41 Old Mill Road, Water Mill 631-726-4625
- What a unique treasure this 1700’s Watermill and community is to the community!
- The mission of the museum is to preserve its historic water-powered grist mill, the other buildings at the site, its museum collection, and to inform the public about the history of the mill, the hamlet of Water Mill, and its cultural heritage – since 1644.
- During the winter of 2018 and 2019 the museum has undertaken a major renovation including a new standing seam metal roof, similar to the one the mill had in earlier times. No more running around to strategically place pails under the leaks! We look forward to the grand reopening this spring . . .
- AAQ: The Water Mill History
The Watermill Collection at The Watermill Center
39 Watermill Towd Road, Water Mill 631-726-4628
- Founded in 1992 by avant-garde visionary and theater director Robert Wilson, The Watermill Center is a laboratory for the arts and humanities providing a global community the time, space and freedom to create and inspire. Situated on eight-acres of land, The Watermill Center is surrounded by verdant lawns and outdoor sculpture, meditation and rooftop gardens.
- The Watermill Collection contains over 5,000 pieces of eclectic, personal art curated by Mr. Wilson himself. It ranges from prehistoric sculpture and Indonesian artifacts to a collection of chairs. Unlike most museums, objects can be held and touched. Some artists whose work is featured in the collection are Merce Cunningham, Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe. Housed in a place where performers, artists and scientists from different cultures and disciplines come to collaborate, the Watermill Collection serves as an inspiration for creative practice.
- 27East (2017): The Mystery of the Watermill Center
- The Wall Street Journal (2016): Robert Wilson Keeps it Weird at the Watermill Center
- Artsy (2018): The Watermill Center Gala Is the Most Exclusive—and Bizarre—Art Party of the Summer
- Forbes (2018): The Watermill Center Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary With TIME BOMB, A Creative Explosion
- Vimeo: The Watermill Center on Video
Clay Art Guild of the Hamptons,
41 Old Mill Road, Watermill 631-726-2547
- We previously featured this exciting galley/work space in our blog on The Hamptons Summer Art Scene. Now, in spring of 2019, they have expanded to include a new studio space in Water Mill Square.
- With exhibitions, workshops, classes and studio tours, the Clay Art Guild of the Hamptons provides an environment for the enrichment of clay arts and offers resources for the clay community of the East End. They are member-supported so your contributions, attendance at event, and volunteering are really appreciated.
- Keep an eye on the calendar for the Backroads Clay Studio Tour, Potter’s Market, and Holiday Gift Show & Sale – where you can meet the potters and purchase some remarkable pieces for yourself or someone lucky enough to have you as a friend . . .
- New York Times (2005): ART; Potters Can Relax as a New Kiln Is Built
- LI Pulse (2011): A Place for Ceramists
Nova’s Ark Project
60 Millstone Rd, Watermill (631) 537-0061
- For years, wandering the back roads between Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor, I have been intrigued by the sight of huge metal structures rising out of the fields, and strangely shaped buildings that look strangely like they sprouted there. Believe me, it is worth taking a closer look!
- Sculptures have always towered at the Ark Project. They rise majestic, presiding over sprawling fields and set to a backdrop of endless sky. All of the art on the 95-acre property is the work of Mihai Popa, known as Nova (1928-2009). All of Nova’s Art was made to become part of a sculpture park with galleries for Nova’s Integral Artwork that linked nature, architecture and philosophy.
- Nova’s concerns about the human race were lofty. He made his sculpture large to match his aim and his message – humans should become more integrated with the planet and with the skies above. The universe is large and the role people play should recall the Divine and dignity of being human.
- Nova’s work was his way to demonstrate the “unity and diversity of elements in the cosmic forces such as waves, spheres, matrices, gravity and pulsations,” according to an artist statement.
- 27East (2014): A Look Inside Nova’s Ark Project
- IMDB (2009): Nova’s Ark Project (Video Trailer)
127 Little Fresh Pond, Southampton NY 631-283-8175
- OK – So this one isn’t really an Art Gallery, and officially it is in Southampton, not Watermill – but it’s off the beaten path in more ways than one. And I find it very exciting! Especially if you, like me, are intrigued by Steampunk style… And you gotta love the ‘Artist Statement’ on their website: ‘A life-long obsession with illuminated objects. Thanks for looking.’
- Art Donovan is an artist, designer, author, curator, and arts columnist. His wife and partner, Leslie, is an Interior Designer, Museum Exhibition Designer, and Window Display Designer. Together they specialize in designing and hand-crafting customized, sculptural lighting, and are celebrating their 28th year at Donovan Design Co. in Southampton. They have created lighting for illustrious clients such as Tiffany Co., and curated books and exhibitions on Steampunk Art. And they will design and manufacture a wondrous thing or two just for you!
- Independent (2018): Shining A Light On Steampunk
- Dan’s Papers (2017): Top 5 Hamptons and North Fork Art Moments of 2017 (#1)
- Sag Harbor Express (2015): A Conversation With Art Donovan
- Fox Chapel Publishing (2013): Art of Steampunk, The: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement
Parrish Art Museum
279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill 631-283-2118
- So I had a debate with myself – should I include museums in a blog about galleries? And I decided Yes! A Museum is comprised of galleries plus other components such as performance spaces, education, events and outreach. But the fundamental draw of a museum is the art exhibited in its galleries! So here we go…
- Designed by the internationally acclaimed firm Herzog & de Meuron, the new Parrish occupies a fourteen-acre site in Water Mill. The design integrates architecture and landscape in a plan that both respects and reflects the singular natural beauty and rich artistic legacy of Long Island’s East End. The architects were inspired not only by the landscape but also by the many artists’ studios they visited on the East End.
- After entering through the Lobby Gallery, there are a number of galleries located directly to the east of the reception area. Based on a 1,000 square-foot module, the gallery spaces, situated on either side of the central spine gallery, afford more than 12,000 square feet of exhibition space and allow the Parrish for the first time to exhibit work from its collection of more than 2,600 artworks at the same time as temporary exhibitions.
- Since the new Parrish Art Museum opened its doors in November of 2012, the gallery exhibitions have included works by such classic and contemporary artists as:
- James Brooks (1906–1992) a key figure in modern American Abstract Expressionist art who lived on the East End for decades
- Alan Shields (1944–2005) – whose work reflects a bold reversal of conventional painting tradition. This exhibition, ‘A Stitch in Time’ explores the artist’s life-long engagement with textile and the needle arts, and illustrates how his impetus to take the painting down from the wall and the stretcher liberated his artistic process.
- Barthélémy Toguo, an Internationally-renowned artist whose multi-disciplinary work—painting, performance, installation, and video—addresses issues of migration, colonialism, race, and the relationship between the global north and south. Toguo created the work for the Parrish during a residency at the Watermill Center earlier in the year.
- Keith Sonnier, who lived and worked in Bridgehampton for more than two decades, is recognized as one of America’s most influential artists – one of the first to incorporate light in sculpture – an innovation that forms the foundation of all his subsequent work.
- ‘Image Building – How Photography Transforms Architecture’ – bringing together works by 19 renowned, under-recognized, and emerging artists ranging from early modern to contemporary architectural photographers.
- Annual Student Exhibitions – a 60-year tradition at the Parrish, features the work of more than 1,000 young artists from schools on Eastern Long Island. Working with their art teachers and through art clubs, the students demonstrate creativity, enthusiasm, and technical skill in diverse media, ranging from painting to sculpture, drawing and photography.
- . . . plus exhibitions of Photorealism, William Merritt Chase, Fairfield Porter, John Graham, Ross Bleckner, Eric Fischl, David Salle. Alexis Rockman, Chuck Close, and so many more!
How many hours are there in a day? How many days are you spending Out East? How can we convince you to stay longer?
Next time – let’s check out the Art Galleries in Southampton!