Miami Art Czar in Southampton

There will be 88 galleries exhibiting this year, up from 48 in 2012
The Art Southampton fair returns tonight with a V.I.P. preview at the Elks Lodge and continues through Monday. Jennifer Landes

   At double the size and exhibitors as last year, Art Southampton is back in its second edition at the Elks Lodge in a tent about the size of Ira Rennert’s main house in Sagaponack (63,000 square feet) that boasts 100,000 running feet of exhibition space.

    There will be 88 galleries exhibiting this year, up from 48 in 2012. Nick Korniloff, a partner and director of the fair and its mothership, Art Miami, has been called an art czar in that city and has been building a mini empire that has extended to a number of fairs in Miami, including two devoted to emerging and cutting-edge artists and Art Wynwood, held on President’s Day weekend. And the Southampton fair. He has also recently launched Art Silicon Valley and San Francisco and last year purchased the Aqua Art Fair in Miami. The fair of emerging artists and galleries takes place in a motel each year during Miami art week and will continue to do so under Art Miami.

    Mr. Korniloff, who has Long Island roots, and his fiancée, Pamela Cohen, who is in charge of V.I.P. relations, marketing, and sponsors, were on hand on Friday while the interior of the football field-size tent was being carpeted and painted in preparation for this weekend.

    With more than two decades of experience in art fair production and management, Mr. Korniloff said he had a successful formula for these fairs. “The ambience and amenities reflect the audience and those who vacation out here.”

    As the director of Art Miami since 2008, he moved the fair to midtown and aligned its dates to Art Basel Miami Beach, the mega-international fair in December that launched a score of satellites. While more and more people are coming to the South Fork fairs each summer, he said it is not likely that anything similar to the Miami art week will happen here. Still, the South Fork art fairs have taken root and are growing.

    This year, he said, 125 galleries applied for the 88 booths available and 60 percent of the galleries from last year will return. “We were able to pick and choose this year,” among dealers such as James Goodman, a former Art Dealers Association of America president and current member, and three other association members. Their participation can give a fair an imprimatur of curatorial excellence by dint of their choosing to associate with the fair’s other galleries.

   There will be galleries from Latin American, Asia, and Europe as well as a handful of South Fork dealers such as Birnam Wood and Gallery Valentine from East Hampton, Keszler Gallery and McNeill Art Group from Southampton, and Kathryn Markel and Peter Marcelle from Bridgehampton.

    Works at the fair will include a $10 million Andy Warhol painting and a piece by Auguste Renoir. Work by several artists with South Fork associations, among them Norman Bluhm, Adolph Gottlieb, Franz Kline, Cindy Sherman, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, James Rosenquist, and Willem de Kooning, will be on view. Gallery Valentine will bring a Warhol show to the fair and Eric Fischl is serving as curator of an exhibit featuring artists from the New York Academy of Art.

    Rather than a niche-focused presentation, the fair with have a more rounded approach with something for everyone including some classical pieces, 19th-century art, and 20th-century Modernism up to contemporary selections. “The variety will keep it interesting,” Mr. Korniloff said.

    He works with the dealers to help them consider what to take to the fair. A Robert Indiana retrospective exhibition due to open in September at the Whitney shaped one gallery’s decision to take one of Mr. Indiana’s sculptures to Southampton, for instance. “We try to align ourselves with galleries who have artists represented in museum shows and high-profile private collections.”

    LaGuardia Design in Water Mill will be in charge of the entry’s sculpture garden, which will have work by Albert Paley and Alexandre Arrechea, recognizable from recent installations on Park Avenue.

    Southampton Hospital will be the main beneficiary of the fair, with proceeds from the preview and a portion of sales going to the institution, as well as the use of the air-conditioned structure after the fair for the hospital’s annual gala fund-raiser the following weekend. Dealers have been encouraged to put up works for the hospital’s benefit. Some will donate entire sales proceeds of individual works and others have pledged to donate percentages of sales from their entire stand, as Pace Prints is doing with its show of work by John Alexander.

    The New York Academy artists will donate portions of their sales back to the academy. Others benefiting from aspects of the fair will include the Ross School, the Watermill Center, and the Southampton Fresh Air Home. Sponsors include Maserati, Perrier-Jouet, and Graff Diamonds, which lends a high-end luxury air to the event. The fair’s association with the young-collector groups of several New York museums will give the proceedings an air of curatorial accomplishment.

    “We do things our way. We’re not cocky but we came in with our heads held high, knowing we had the experience and the name association to guarantee a good experience for the galleries and attendees, and it’s only gotten better this year,” Mr. Korniloff said.

    The fair will be open to the public beginning Friday and will run through the weekend from noon to 7 p.m. each day. On Monday it will be open from noon to 5 p.m. A one-day pass costs $15 with discounts for those over age 65 and children.