It didn’t last. “As the gallery attendant told me, people window-shopped there and then they went back to the city and bought art. It wasn’t worthwhile,” says Harrison. “It was just a summer showcase, really.” The gallery shuttered after a few years.
Yet at least one contemporary gallerist thinks the Hamptons are a perfect spot for mid-sized outfits. As Joel Mesler, who runs Rental Gallery in East Hampton (and used to run UNTITLED, among other Lower East Side ventures), says, “My soul was bleeding and my business was bleeding in the city.” He claims that last summer, he did more business in three months than he had the entire last year in New York. In the new location, he has far more breathing room and way less overhead.
Another mid-sized gallery, Halsey McKay, figured this out back in 2011, when it opened its exhibition space in East Hampton. This summer, the gallery will exhibit work by talent ranging from the technology-obsessed
to the inventive young installation artist
. Halsey McKay’s occasional collaborations with Manhattan galleries (Metro Pictures
, Susan Inglett) convey a sense of camaraderie and city-wide reach that’s integral to its Hamptons-centered project.