Never mind the poll that shows Long Islanders are pessimistic about the economy. In one corner of the Island, the recovery is roaring - at least for a weekend.
"The art world has bounced back," says Rick Friedman, founder of ArtHamptons, the mega-art show and sale returning for its third year to Bridgehampton Friday through Sunday.
Judging from the success of Friedman's new fine arts show in San Francisco in May - with sales topping $5 million - there's a market out there itching to buy. "Auction houses are going gangbusters," Friedman says, noting that Sotheby's and Christie's are selling 90 percent, compared to 50 percent two years ago.
This will be the biggest ArtHamptons so far, in terms of galleries and artists represented as well as the total estimated value of the 7,000 artworks on display - $300 million.
To accommodate it all, ArtHamptons has moved down the street from the Bridgehampton Historical Society to Sayre Park, a five-acre site off Snake Hollow Road behind Bridgehampton Commons. A 50,000-square-foot modular building replaces the series of tents from the first two events. "It's about two city blocks long," Friedman says. That's enough space for 93 galleries representing more than 600 artists.
Although seven Hamptons galleries will be represented, ArtHamptons also brings in galleries from seven countries, including first-time participants from Russia, Spain, Korea and Argentina, joining others from Canada and the United Kingdom. Among the U.S. galleries is a contingent from Brooklyn, dubbed ArtBklyn (subtitled "The Hamptons Meets 'The Burg' "), with galleries from Williamsburg and DUMBO. Among the envelope-pushing artists represented will be Crash, aka John Matos, a pioneer of the graffiti art movement, and David Burliuk, a leading Russian avant-garde figure who later settled in the Hamptons.
HOW TO COLLECT
But what if you don't know a Renoir from a Rauschenberg? (There's a Rauschenberg at ArtHamptons expected to fetch $1 million.) The Worldwide Art Collectors' Conference provides advice on building your own collection with 14 seminars featuring an international array of experts. All you'll need after that is six or seven figures in your bank account.
Among ArtHamptons' past celebrity shoppers are Kelsey Grammer, Katie Couric, Edward Albee, Joy Behar, Russell Simmons, Jon Bon Jovi, Connie Chung and Donny Deutsch. Maybe you, too, can afford to put a red dot beside the next de Kooning you see.
11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at Sayre Park, Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton, arthamptons.com
Cost: $20 a day ($15 in advance online), $30 for three-day pass ($25 online)