PHOTO COURTESY PARRISH ART MUSEUM
Sculptor and multimedia artist Keith Sonnier, who hasn’t had a major exhibition in an American museum since he wowed the art world 35 years ago at MoMA PS 1, is taking the Hamptons by storm this summer.
With the exhibition Tragedy and Comedy at Tripoli Gallery (June 29 to July 29), the solo show Until Today at the Parrish Art Museum (July 1 to January 27) and an installation at the Dan Flavin Art Institute (July 1 to May 26), there will be no shortage of ways to experience, learn about and purchase works by the living legend.
Sonnier, whose studio is in Bridgehampton, is renowned for his use of unorthodox materials and light in sculptures, and these three exhibitions provide insight into the many layers of his work.
“Everyone knows Sonnier is an artist who uses neon,” says Terrie Sultan, director of the Parrish Art Museum. “But there are many works he made in his travels overseas that U.S. audiences have never seen.”
The Dan Flavin Institute will show Sonnier’s Dis-Play II, a work from 1970, and Tripoli Gallery will feature about 40 small works on graph paper with pieces that relate to these drawings, including two large neons, two small standing neons and three altered African masks. Gallery owner Tripoli Patterson says the display gives context to the artist’s larger, more monumental pieces.
“Keith Sonnier has always been ahead of his time,” Patterson says. “For a work of art to speak to me, I have to first be grabbed by what it says to me without human translation. Keith’s work does this.”