By Annette Hinkle
It’s summer on the East End — the time of year when many folks would be gallery hopping and indulging in the extensive art offerings there are to be had.
Not this year. Our COVID-19 quarantine has dramatically changed the way we partake of culture these days.
But if you’re among those who have been longing to indulge in the artistic scene on the South Fork, take heart — there’s a new experience on the East End that’s all about viewing art on your own time and with your own people.
It’s called Alone Gallery, and this brand-new concept for a post-COVID-19 world is being offered in Wainscott at Tripoli Gallery.
Alone Gallery is the concept of art dealers Tripoli Patterson and Max Levai, and art collector Bob Robin, who, together, worked with Bean.la, a California-based design and development agency, to design a social distancing art viewing experience.
Here’s how it works:
Guests register in advance for a 30-minute time slot at alonegallery.com. They then are sent a door access code that they use to access the gallery at 26 Ardsley Road in Wainscott. There will be no staff present, and groups of up to four people who are quarantining together will be permitted in the space at a time. Masks, hand sanitizer and shoe covers will be provided outside the space, and the gallery will be sanitized daily.
Alone Gallery launched on June 17 with a show featuring the work of Alex Katz that runs through June 28. It’s the first of five short summer exhibitions Alone Gallery will offer in Patterson’s warehouse space over the course of the next eight weeks. The shows will highlight the work of solo artists as well as artist pairings representing a range of styles and mediums.
Levai, Patterson, and Rubin have worked together before and share a common goal of presenting art in inventive spaces — including at The Bridge, Rubin’s Bridgehampton golf course, where they hosted an open-air art show in shipping containers.
Given the amount of isolation everyone has been enduring lately, perhaps it should come as no surprise that it was the process of quarantining itself that gave rise to the idea for Alone Gallery. It all began when Levai, who heads the Marlborough Gallery on 25th Street in New York City, came to the East End a few months ago.
“It came together in such a great natural way,” said Levai. “Right before lockdown, a friend invited me to stay with him for a few days at a hotel he runs in Montauk. Once I was there, I felt I couldn’t go home, because people in my family were sick.
“Next thing I knew, I was walking my dog on the beach and I ran into Trip,” he added. “We hadn’t seen each other for a long time. We said, ‘What are we going to do? How do we continue to do what we do which is make exhibitions?’
“We walked for two hours on the beach, and at end of the walk we came up with a fully realized plan,” he added. “We had an idea and vision and started working on it right away.
“A few days later, I was in the Wainscott Seafood Shop and ran into Bob Rubin, who I love to collaborate with, because he has a wealth of knowledge and approaches and is a real art guy,” Levai added. “The next thing I knew, he was also involved. It quickly turned into something real.”
Patterson just opened Tripoli Gallery in Wainscott this past November and, with 2,400 square feet available in the warehouse, there’s plenty of room for creativity. Alone Gallery will occupy 945 square feet of the building.
“Trip’s space is a big open configuration, so we made the gallery space smaller for concise shows,” explained Levai. “We built out Trip’s space to make a really beautifully sized gallery that’s for exhibitions of about four to six pieces maximum. There’s a back room that allows us to give a preview of an upcoming show or show unrelated things.”
In the weeks ahead, in addition to Katz, featured Alone Gallery artists will include Tony Matelli, Tomás Sánchez, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and Alice Neel. Artists for the final and fifth exhibition will be announced.
“We’ve been thinking about them as exhibitions that only run one week and are calling them ‘spotlight exhibitions,’” Levai said. “Some are solo shows, some are combinations of paintings that we’ve wanted to do for a while and we think make sense of the times.”
Levai and Patterson have known each other for 15 years. They met when Levai was still in high school and have been friends ever since. Patterson’s Wainscott gallery is, in many ways, an ideal spot for this type of project given the types of artists he supports in his gallery. He is happy to do a project like this with a friend.
“I’m excited for the uplift of energy that comes here in summertime and always impressed by people like Max who do something different,” said Patterson. “What he did at The Bridge golf course was amazing and I was part of it. The bigger galleries come out here and show us things — to learn from Max and have him bring in other artists is great.”
“There’s always been such a culture of making art out east and it seems to be more true than ever with artists working out there today,” Levai added. “Trip’s gallery stood out to me as the only gallery driven by the community that provides a meeting place and a venue to show year round.
“Beyond our personal friendship and teaming up with Tripoli, the realities of the new space is so perfect for the concept,” he said.
Alone Gallery is at 26 Ardsley Road in Wainscott, and will be open for viewings seven days a week throughout the summer. To book a visit, go to alonegallery.com. Bean.la will manage cataloging of the exhibitions, which can be viewed online and the remote reservation system for entry.
Alex Katz | Spotlight 1
June 17 – 28
Tony Matelli | Spotlight 2
June 30 – July 7
Tomás Sánchez | Spotlight 3
July 9 – 17
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer & Alice Neel | Spotlight 4
July 18 – 26
Spotlight 5 to be announced
July 28 – August 10