The Victor D’Amico Institute of Art’s Art Barge in Amagansett kicks off its annual Artists Speak series on Wednesday, June 19, at 6 PM. First up will be artist/designer/set decorator Kris Moran and author/film critic Scott A.S. Hamrah with a conversation focused on the creative process. Moran will be creating an interactive installation based on color in collaboration with The Art Barge and Fritz Horstman of The Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation.
“I speak because I think I am fortunate and like to share. Sometimes I strike a clarity that surprises people. Also, I am interested in where science and creativity intermingle and I have nowhere to share my findings literally,” Moran said.
D’Amico was the founding director of education at The Museum of Modern Art 1937 through 1969, and brought his creativity to the East End in 1960 with the Art Barge. Chris Kohan, president of the institute, has been involved since 1975 when he came to take painting classes. It was then that he met D’Amico and was personally asked to stick around. Kohan, in his 20s at the time, started as an assistant cataloguing archives and working with D’Amico, a man in his 70s. Artists Speak began in 1983. D’Amico personally knew Elaine de Kooning, Max Ernst, and many others.
“Everyone knew D’Amico’s reputation as an educator. It was a rather natural thing. They all lived in the area,” Kohan described of the initial years of how Artists Speak came together. “In those days, it was likely a telephone call, and so word of mouth just got around. We expanded and ended up getting younger artists as the years went on.”
This year, the institute is casting a wider net, beyond visual artists of paintings and sculptures. Serina Mayer, new to the board of trustees, used her contacts to create a conversation with artists and their own personal connections: husband/wife, mother/son, or colleague/friends.
“It’s a unique level of collaboration,” Kohan noted. “We go to a museum and we look at the artwork. A lot of times the artists say that art speaks for itself. As an educator, I need a little more information. Nowadays, when you have artwork that’s a little more conceptual, and more personal, I feel it’s important to have the artist explain more about their process, their motivations, and inspirations . . . about their general thinking.”
Coming up will be Ilya and Emilia Kabakov on July 17, a collaboration that has produced more than 200 immersive conceptual works since 1989. Dressing utopian ideas as a reflection of universal human condition, “How To Make Yourself Better” is on view July 17 to August 5.
Maira and Alex Kalman will show “Shack From Belarus,” a whimsical reconstruction, from August 14 to September 30. The mother and son team created “Sara Berman’s Closet,” which was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for nine months.
The Victor D’Amico Institute of Art is located at 110 Napeague Meadow Road in Amagansett. Tickets are available at www.theartbarge.org/artists-speak.