in dialogue: At the edge of the sea
april 15 - may 31, 2021
Our first exhibition was a presentation of two works of art by internationally recognized artists Kerry James Marshall and Awol Erizku, in an innovative and simple installation that allowed for a dialogue about nature, beauty, history and race.
The installation of the two artworks reflected and complemented the goals of our transformed architectural space.
The two works face each other and depict African Americans on beaches. With figures looking out to sea or boldly standing against it, they draw on narratives about the sea as a place of strength, renewal, joy, self-discovery and nostalgia.
Occupying the liminal space between land and water, these figures are at home in nature. Their ease and oneness with the sea challenges the history of segregated beaches across the country. Both artworks reimagine the cannon of Western art history with updated standards of beauty and importance.
The subject of these artworks has a resonance with the history of Sag Harbor. In the period following World War II, the village saw the establishment of the beachfront neighborhoods of Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest and Ninevah as places where people of color could buy beachfront property and enjoy the shore at a time when many other Long Island resorts and beaches were closed to them.
We are deeply grateful to collectors Neda Young and Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman for their generosity in lending these remarkable works and their belief in our project.
Awol Erizku, Teen Venus, 2012, digital photograph
Kerry James Marshall, Untitled, 2008, oil on fiberglass
Try to Praise the Mutilated World by Adam Zagajwski
Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
“Try to Praise the Mutilated World” from
WITHOUT END: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
by Adam Zagajewski, translated by several translators.
Copyright © 2002 by Adam Zagajewski.
Translation copyright © 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
We thank Sara Cochran, our Chief Curator, for conceiving this wonderful, dynamic and simple exhibition.
Please visit our REFLECTIONS page to see photos of the artworks and read a meditation by Eric Fischl on Kerry James Marshall's powerful painting Untitled from 2008, and an essay by Sara Cochran on Awol Erizku's transformative photograph Teen Venus from 2012.