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Guild Hall's Bicoastal Beach 'Happenings'

Mon, 09/05/2022 - 11:23
Christina Strassfield and Warren Neidich checked out the view from East Hampton's Main Beach pavilion.
Joe Brondo

Guild Hall's offsite programming will take artists and audiences to East Hampton's Main Beach for improvisational events on consecutive Saturday evenings through Oct. 1, starting this weekend.

The project was conceived by the artist Warren Neidich, who created the Drive By Art event in 2020. " 'Swept Away: Love Letter to a Surrogate(s)' is a community-oriented artistic project that aims to create a transcontinental heartbeat across America,” said Mr. Neidich. 

Sixty-five artists from Los Angeles will write sets of instructions, in the form of love letters, to an equal number of East End artists, who will then respond with improvisational performances at the water's edge in front of the Main Beach pavilion.

Next spring, the East End artists will write to their Los Angeles counterparts, who will execute their responses at Will Rogers State Beach in Santa Monica in conjunction with the 18th Street Arts Center.

In addition to Mr. Neidich, the exhibition was organized by Christina Strassfield, Guild Hall's museum director and chief curator; Anuradha Vikram, an independent curator from Los Angeles, and Renee Petropoulos, a Los Angeles conceptual artist.

Of the upcoming event, Ms. Strassfield said, "With Guild Hall being under renovation, we felt this was a wonderful way to bring accessible art to our community and have everyone feel welcome and enjoy themselves."

Like the legendary Happenings, among them Allan Kaprow's "Happening #3," which took place in East Hampton in the summer of 1966, "Swept Away" will feature ephemeral performative gestures and time-based works, which might include building a sandcastle, singing a song, dancing, surfing, picking up trash, or a light projection.

The performances, which will take place from 7 to 10 p.m., can deal with global warming and its effects on the water level, or address the natural beauty of the real as opposed to the digital and virtual. The importance of biodegradable, non-toxic materials will be essential, as will leaving the beach pristine at evening's end.

Admission is free.


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