Life on the East End is all about the water. It’s why visitors come here, people choose to live here and how generations have historically made their living.
Now, the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton is tapping into our relationship with water through “Radical Seafaring,” a unique multi-faceted exhibit which runs through July 24.
Half the word’s population lives within 200 miles of a coast and the works in the show represent a new form of expression that is especially powerful and timely as climatologists anticipate the effects of rising sea levels, changes in weather patterns, and the impact on coastal zones.
Directed by Andrea Grover, the museum’s curator of special projects, the exhibition and program initiative features 25 contemporary artists whose works range from vessels and documentation of creative expeditions, to speculative designs for alternative communities on the water.
The exhibit takes place both at the museum and at sites around the East End. It includes two-dimensional works, sculptural objects, vessels, models, film and video, off-site commissions, and boat trips around East End waterways.
Comining up on Saturday, May 21 is “Tideland Sessions,” an all-day series of talks and performances at the Parrish uniting artists, writers, scientists, and historians in conversations about environmental stewardship with a focus on the regional landscape. The day includes a paper boat building workshop, a keynote speech by prize-winning author and MacArthur Fellow Carl Safina, and a water quality presentation by the Surfrider Foundation, Perfect Earth Project and The Nature Conservancy.
On June 17 at 6 p.m. the museum will host a reading of “Men’s Lives,” Joe Pintauro’s play based on Peter Matthiessen’s nonfiction book about the East End’s fishing community. The play will be produced and directed by Emma Walton Hamilton and Stephen Hamilton, co-founders of the Bay Street Theater who staged the world premiere of “Men’s Lives” during the theater’s inaugural season 25 years ago.
Among the site-specific pieces will be “WetLand,” a modified houseboat made by the ecological artist Mary Mattingly to demonstrate easy-to-do sustainability projects. The vessel will be located on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor, with the date to be announced.
Artists and collectives taking part in “Radical Seafaring” include: Bas Jan Ader, Ant Farm, Atelier Van Lieshout, Scott Bluedorn, George Brecht, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Chris Burden, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Steve Badgett and Chris Taylor, Michael Combs, Mark Dion, R. Buckminster Fuller, Cesar Harada, Constance Hockaday, Courtney M. Leonard, Mare Liberum, Marie Lorenz, Mary Mattingly, Vik Muniz, Dennis Oppenheim, The PLAY, Pedro Reyes, Duke Riley, Robert Smithson, Simon Starling, and Swoon.
An exhibition catalogue has been produced for “Radical Seafaring,” with contributions by Sasha Archibald, Alexander Dumbadze, Christopher French, Dylan Gauthier and Terrie Sultan.
The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, visit www.parrish.org or call (631) 283-2118.