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Art you won’t find anywhere else on Long Island

Studio 5404 Art Space in Massapequa provides underrepresented

Studio 5404 Art Space in Massapequa provides underrepresented and emerging artists the opportunity to share their art with the public. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Party like it’s opening night of a hipster show on Chelsea’s Gallery Row. Rediscover an artist whose paintings hung next to Renoir’s but haven’t been exhibited in half a century. Or see the latest work of a Long Island painter whose Grandma Moses style looks right at home down on the farm.

Experience art in a way you can’t find anywhere else on Long Island, or, in some cases, anywhere at all.

Studio 5404 Art Space

Opening night at Studio 5404 brings a touch of Manhattan to Massapequa.

Artists from the boroughs and Long Island rub elbows with art critics and gallery directors, nibbling finger food and sipping wine. A band plays original music. Performance artists entertain. One opening, for a show called “Skin Deep,” aptly featured body-painted models.

“Most galleries I’m familiar with are stuffy and discourage innovation,” says Lori Horowitz, who opened Studio 5404 in 2013. “There are lots of creative people tucked away on Long Island, but they lack places to emerge. That’s what we offer. We don’t go for traditional landscapes and portraiture.”

One of its community outreaches is a 65-foot art wall behind the gallery repainted each September in an outdoor party atmosphere.

The exhibit opening Saturday is Horowitz’s first with a guest curator, Studio 5404 member Neil Leinwohl of Rockville Centre. A painter who was a photographer in Vietnam during the war, he contributes “Chaos,” a digital print echoing the show’s title, “Art and Chaos — A Response.” Artists were asked to create works reflecting their perspectives on climate change, world conflict or whatever they choose. “Many of the pieces are about chaos within,” Horowitz says.

Leinwohl’s “Chaos” depicts dive-bombing warplanes alongside Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. “There’s a lot of edgy stuff in the show,” Leinwohl says. “Abstraction, digital and some really cool sculpture. No landscapes.”

Islip Art Museum

Museum director Beth Giacummo had never heard of Paul Mommer. Neither had Loretta Corbisiero, who curates “Transformations of a Visionary: Paul Mommer.” A student at Sachem East High School brought her images of paintings by her grandfather, who died in 1963. Corbisiero’s research led to the rediscovery of an artist whose work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, Whitney and Brooklyn museums and the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn. Like many artists of his time, he went from representational art in his early years to abstracts in the 1950s. His circle included Milton Avery, Mark Rothko and Louise Nevelson. His paintings were exhibited next to those of Renoir and John Singer Sargent.

“But upon his death, his family put much of the work in storage,” Giacummo says. “Now we’ve rediscovered him. It’s very exciting.”

The show is a departure for the Islip museum. Its mission is to exhibit contemporary artists addressing challenging themes, recently science and art in “Compendium.”

Thirty Mommer paintings in this show, reflecting what Giacummo describes as a “very moody palette,” range from “The Family,” a prayerful dinner scene, to the abstract “Sewing Machine” and gloomy “Long Island Inlet.”

Most have never been exhibited before.

Ripe Art Gallery

Cherie Via named her gallery when it was in downtown Greenlawn. “Ripe was just a name I came up with,” she recalls. “How fortuitous that we’re now on a farm.”

The gallery, which moved two years ago to a converted nursery-display shed on her husband’s three-acre farm, hosts shows on offbeat themes. Next up: “I Love Andy” (as in Warhol), for Valentine’s season. “I have a sense of humor,” Via says. “I like art that’s light and happy but also makes you think. I’m drawn to artists who are fun to represent.”

Currently, that artist is Carly Haffner, whose “New Work” features paintings in a primitive style associated with Grandma Moses, many of whose paintings are on permanent display at a farm museum: Vermont’s Shelburne Farms.

“Most of these paintings are of scenes right outside Carly’s window in Sag Harbor,” Via says. Haffner has shown at Bridgehampton’s Silas Marder Gallery — a barn. But this is the first display in her primitive style. Earlier works are here, too: toy-car mobiles and “Happy Face Monsters,” plus floral paintings in bright pastels.

Once a month, the gallery, which has a stage and sound system, hosts local bands who get a chance to record. The gift shop is stocked with hippie-inspired fare. Where else could you buy art, kitsch and produce? Depending on the season, vegetables, fruit and herbs are on the menu.


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