I’m out in the Hampton’s this weekend where Roy Lichtenstein: Between Sea and Sky exhibit at Guild Hall just opened. It is SO beautiful out here that you can’t help but be inspired visually. The new exhibit showcases 30 years’ worth of the artist’s landscapes and seascapes really illustrates this beautifully. Guild Hall’s museum director and chief curator Christina Mossaides Strassfield says;
“It was a theme he went back to many times, even if we didn’t expect that from a Pop artist. When you see this exhibit, you’re going to see that, clearly the East End was in his consciousness. The moving of the waves, the moving of the clouds —it’s all a part of being out here.”
But the main appeal of the East End (of Long Island) for Lichtenstein was as much about what was he NOT here, specifically the New York art world. Jack Cowart says, recalling visits to their Southampton home and studio in the 1970s, when he was a museum curator.
“Both [wife] Dorothy and Roy were a little burned out by the intensity of the art scene. I always heard them speak of being ‘refugees’ and wanting to get to a less hectic place. It’s hard to think of Southampton today as not being hectic, but when they moved out here, it was removed, the winters in particular. [Living here] gave Roy space— mental space as well as physical space.”
In an interview for the exhibition catalog, Lichtenstein’s assistant, James de Pasquale (who worked with the artist from 1972 until 1997, the year Lichtenstein died), say thats the main res
on for being out here was to get away from SoHo, then the center of the New York art scene;
“He wasn’t always being bothered. He was able to come out here, finish a whole group of paintings, and really be able to make a statement. And the guy loved to work!”
Roy Lichtenstein: Between Sea and Sky runs through October 12 at Guild Hall.