Max Lakin at the opening of The Ranch
“I WAS STONE this morning with the guys, so it’s been an aerial fight, ”Max Levai said on Saturday afternoon in Montauk at the start of The Ranch, his next act after some nasty business and contentious back and forths that saw him come and go. separate from him and Father Pierre from Levai. with the Marlborough Gallery. Either way, it all seemed to be in the past, or under gag order. The oysters were on ice and the mignonette was shining. Levai took over the property last summer and had been renovating until about an hour before guests arrived. With the exception of the exposed wiring, it was almost ready. “It was, as you know, a strange winter,” he said. I was familiar.
Montauk likes to present itself as “The End” – the last outing on the never-ending stretch of Long Island before the Peninsula, after turning into increasingly expensive real estate, fortunately gives way. Drive further and you’ll hit the Atlantic, which, after three hours of chaotic traffic out of Manhattan, is starting to look inviting. “The End” is of course both great souvenir sweatshirts and an appealing psychic pose, though in recent years it’s been less End than Extension, an overflow annex that invites weekends that don’t whitewash. to pay over $ 700 a night for a motel room. Or you could do like collector and dealer Adam Lindemann, who bought the old complex from Andy Warhol a few years ago for most of the $ 50 million, but just the ocean’s edge, passing over the 24 acre indoor ranch next door. Levai was more willing to go into the horse business.
“At the end of my tenure with Marlborough, there was very little art related,” he said. “I didn’t realize until the end that it was making me miserable.” On the one hand, it’s probably easier to keep the art world at bay when you place art such a geographic distance; on the other hand, we were doing Frieze on Randall’s Island. Anyway, the downside seemed to agree with him. (Warhol: “Montauk is so far away. It’s not for sissies.”)
The inaugural offering includes eight paintings by Peter Halley almost blinding in their fluorescence and thirty childhood drawings by Susan Te Kahurangi King in a remodeled barn, as well as a few sculptures (one of Virginia Overton’s metal chimes, some of imitations of Aaron Curry Calder) flanked around rolling pastures. But the real money maker, one presumes, is the actual ranch, which breeds and trains cutting horses, a lucrative setup, or at least a decent tax deduction. In response to Potemkin Madison Avenue that arose last summer in East Hampton, when New York’s premier collector base fled en masse from the plague-ravaged city, The Ranch is gaining in splendor overwhelming Arcadian, as well as by novelty. Even if it all sounds lame, you have to admit that “Beach Town Gallery / Sculpture Park / Pedigree Horse Farm” is new – the curatorial version of surf and turf.
“It’s the vibe here,” confirmed Cynthia Rowley, the designer. “I mean, look at that barbecue. There is a regular barbecue, it’s not super fancy, there is all the art, all the sculptures. A catering server offered to collect our empty space. “And garbage bags. You wouldn’t find that in East Hampton, come on. People don’t walk around with trash bags in East Hampton.
Rowley knows Levai “probably thanks to Bill Powers”, meaning her husband Bill Powers, the gallery owner. “He’s in Miami, otherwise he would probably be here.” She didn’t seem bothered. Rowley is a one-woman tourist office for the Montauk lifestyle brand. She surfs with Lucien Smith. “It was a bit shitty today, but I’m hardcore,” she said. “To me, Montauk, it’s like you don’t plan anything, you let the universe unfold, and one thing leads to another, leads to another, and it’s the best kind of day you have. could have. And I don’t even smoke weed.
As for art, Halley’s work is always spectacular. The paints in hand were intended for her solo at Dallas Contemporary this fall: a distillation of Hofmann’s color theory and hard-edge geometry, into the artist’s signature craggy Roll-A-Tex. Halley’s obnoxiously dismal palette seems designed to bypass the viewing experience, which today most often means screens. As if to make this point, a group of young people in their twenties walked into the barn and immediately started making Instagram stories.
Also inspired was Brendan Fallis, whose marriage to Hannah Bronfman formed a professional influence steamroller, arranging their new baby in front of a painting of Halley for a photo, which he quickly shared with the internet. Start them young!
“So who is the artist?” Lindemann mocked a group admiring a Peter Saul hanged in the main house. Lindemann co-represents Saul, so everyone laughed politely.
“I’m not really a neighbor,” said Lindemann, who lives next door, correcting an introduction before accidentally connecting with the head of a small child, who moved forward in bewilderment.
“I sell tomato sauce,” said PJ Monte, nicer. “I started selling it in the trunk of the car and now we are in 150 stores. He wore a fedora and tiny sunglasses that made him look not unpleasant as a young Joe Pantoliano. Monte lives in Wainscott with gallery owner Tripoli Patterson, with whom Levai operated Alone Gallery, a very pandemic concept that allows you to visit, as advertised, on your own. Patterson’s younger brother, the artist named Yung Jake who paints celebrity portraits using emojis, was lying on the grass a few feet away, more concerned about the clouds. “Do you know Yung Jake?” He is a great artist himself. We grew up here together. Levai is an investor in the sauce. “It’s a full circle, real family style,” said Monte, balancing a halibut taco. “We have something cool going on here.”
“I’m having the best time,” said Arden Wohl. “I don’t think I have the collective PTSD that everyone has, because I’m already a nutcase.” She wore an iridescent sequin Moschino cardigan that glistened in the late afternoon sun and made her look like a stranded mermaid. “I heard about the Delta variant this morning, but we’ll see. I have my shoes from the end of the world “- a pair of all-white Rombaut sneakers with monster truck treads -” that French vegan designer. “She no longer designs hers.” It just wasn’t perfect. “she said.” I’m waiting for the mushroom leather; better conditions in the factories.
Speaking of factories, Wohl’s husband, artist Jonah Freeman, was moving into an abandoned IBM factory in Kingston. “We have a lot of things coming back from Marlborough,” he said. Freeman had been part of the Levai artists’ team since 2011. Would he follow Max east? “We’re definitely talking about some ideas for next season. Potentially in the stable attic.
“I created a new form of music called Fee-gong,” said Dave Matterhorn (Rowley: “I call him“ Dave Whatsthematterhorn ”or“ Dave Doesn’tmatterhorn. ””) “It’s the feedback guitar combined with bowls and gongs -cross harmonics. It is quite amazing. It’s like meditating twenty minutes in a minute or two, it really runs through you. This is real shit from LA.
“Quick meditation,” Freeman suggested. “SpeedMed,” Matterhorn replied, before walking away, presumably to adjust the bowls.
Back in town, perhaps the most discouraging primary school cycle of a lifetime had just ended. The cops were carrying out blitzes in Washington Square Park. None of that mattered here. It was twenty degrees cooler on the beach and everyone’s skin looked well hydrated. Blond-headed kids bask in the grass and take turns watching Frank Benson’s Castaway, a sculpture of a squatting figure wearing a horseshoe crab shell as a hat. Castaway is nominally a pirate, but with his mesh tank, leather clam diggers, and Cuban heels, he might as well be someone in Mineshaft around 1983. Notes from the exhibit describe him as a memorial “to the outcasts and the displaced, ”suggesting a hint of grievance, but no one seemed to want to dwell on bad feelings.