A red dot next to a work of art in a gallery show is a coveted prize, making all who view the work aware that the piece has been sold.
But in East End Arts’ new exhibit, all of the works have red dots next to them. Why? Because the art belongs to collectors, who competed against each other in the arts organization’s first-ever “Red Dot” art show.
East End Arts (formerly the East End Arts Council) Gallery Director Jane Kirkwood thought up the idea of the Red Dot show, which caps a year of programming that the arts organization dubbed “The Year of the Collector,” a year of encouraging people to collect art.
“We asked collectors to drop their greatest treasure off to be juried in a show where collectors are competing with each other,” said Ms. Kirkwood. The gallery asked that the submissions be compelling, charming, beautiful, interesting or outrageous.
“I think this is the first time anybody has done a show like this,” she said.
Red Dot Show
Through Oct. 7
East End Arts
133 East Main Street, Riverhead
The only catches were that the works had to be by living Long Island artists and they had to have been purchased by the collectors. Each collector was limited to one entry, but different collectors could submit works by the same artist.
In the end, they received 64 submissions, 32 of which were included in the show.
The exhibit was juried by arts writer and curator Dr. Charles Riley II, who splits his time between Cutchogue and Manhattan.
Dr. Riley, a professor at Baruch College/City University of New York, has written for Art+Auction, Antique Monthly, Art & Antiques, New York, Antiques and Fine Art, and Opera News, and is the author of 28 books on art. He’s also the curator-at-large for the Nassau County Museum of Art and has curated exhibitions in New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, China and Switzerland.
“I told Charles, ‘your name is on this. Don’t take anything you’re not 100 percent behind,” said Ms. Kirkwood.
“He had a hard time. The pieces were all already good enough to be bought,” she said.
East End Arts was accepting submissions from collectors for the week leading to Hurricane Irene’s touchdown on Long Island on Aug. 28. Collectors were required to bring the works in themselves or, if they were unable to drop them off themselves, they needed to sign an affidavit that said that they did, in fact, purchase the work of art.
“Eager to serve East End Arts as a juror but blissfully ignorant as to the riches expected to turn up for Red Dot, I arrived on the eve of a hurricane to start an exciting process,” Dr. Riley wrote of his process of selecting the works that appear in the show. “I was astonished from the start at the immense wealth I encountered. Not the collectors—the talent … The range and depth of the submissions was a lovely surprise, necessitating some agonizing deliberations before final selection were made.”
“As the clouds gathered outside, the bright colors and deft technical bravura of the works inside brightened our spirits and we knew we had a winning show on our hands,” he added. “In many ways it is an artist’s dream opening (not to mention a dealer’s): Walk into a gallery and see a red dot under every single painting on the wall. How often does that happen?”
The pieces in the show are as stunning as they are eclectic. The show includes well-known East End artists such as Robert Strimban, Janet Culbertson, Anna Jurinich, Caroline Waloski and Gina Gilmour, but there were a large number of local artists whose work Ms. Kirkwood had not seen before, including Lidya Buzio, a Greenport sculptor who took first place at the show. The influx of new blood led to one of the most well-attended openings she remembers having at the gallery.
“There were a lot of collectors I’d never heard of, and a lot of strangers at the opening,” she said of the Sept. 2 event. “The collectors were very interested in hearing who won.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Friedman took the Best In Show award with their painting “Jubilation” by Cutchogue artist Robert Strimban.
Ms. Buzio’s untitled piece, which is from the collection of Patricia Lloyd, took first place, while James Dawson’s “Paving AM #5” by Shelter Island’s Janet Culbertson took second place. Third prize was Wading River artist Anna Jurinich’s “Sunflowers,” from the collection of former Riverhead Town Supervisor Phil Cardinale.
Mr. and Mrs. Friedman won dinner for two at Jamesport Manor Inn and a year’s membership to East End Arts, Parrish Art Museum and Guild Hall. Mr. Strimban was awarded a solo show at Jamesport Manor Inn’s Rosalie Dimon Gallery.