Andy Warhol, on a Surfboard? Highlights from Sponder Gallery at Art Southampton

While the Hamptons carries a solid reputation for sun, sand, and style, this week—thanks to international modern and contemporary fair Art Southampton—the destination becomes ever more desirable. Among the fair’s 75 exhibitors is Florida-based gallery Baker Sponder, which brings with it an eclectic melange of works dating from the ’80s to the present, from mixed media paintings to abstract sculpture. We present a taste of their offerings, homing in on works from two particular artists that capture the delightful tone of Sponder’s presentation.

Inspired to become an artist after seeing the works of Jackson Pollock, Dan Christiansen made his mark with a spray paint gun. Born in Nebraska, schooled in Missouri, and drawn to New York in the mid-1960s, Christiansen spent his formative years alongside pioneers of the New York School, and named Pollock and Color Field painters among his major inspirations. Christiansen caught the attention of esteemed art critic Clement Greenberg, who said in 1990, “Christensen is one of the painters on whom the course of American art depends.” At Art Southampton, the gallery shows two prime works from the mid ’90s, created with his classic spray gun technique, which are composed of layers of color with bold ethereal spots rendered in bright complementary hues. The tranquil Mercer Street (1995) is a striking contrast to the riotous Untitled 396M4 (1996), though together they represent the artist’s unique practice, range, and keen use of color.

Amusing and rather fitting additions to the booth are Tim Bessell’s limited edition surfboards. A top creator in the surfboard design field, Bessel grew up surfing in La Jolla, California, and recalls, as a 10-year-old, the time that Andy Warhol came to town and purchased boards. Decades later, in 2013, he worked with the Warhol Foundation to translate some of the artist’s iconic motifs onto his boards, forming the first in an artist-focused series. Although it’s hard to imagine Warhol hanging ten on a surfboard, his works are a natural fit, translating seamlessly to the glossy forms—the Pop master would likely approve.

From post-painterly abstractions to Warholian wares, Sponder’s booth is an indicator of the span and spirit that Art Southampton has in store. 

Visit Baker Sponder Gallery | Sponder Gallery at Art Southampton 2014, July 24th–29th.

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