Our MKDA team went on one of our annual staff outings this past Friday to the Hamptons. These field trips provide our team with a necessary break from the office, as visiting these significant architectural, artistic, and natural sites allow us to become creatively inspired and refreshed. We ventured out of New York City and made three stops to The Parrish Art Museum, The Watermill Center, and LongHouse Reserve respectively.
Our first stop was in Southampton at the Parrish Art Museum, which showcases the rich creative legacy of the East End and its larger impact on the art world. For more than a century, this museum has endured and expanded from a single exhibition hall for Samuel Longstreth Parrish to showcase his collection through its relocation to the custom-built facility in Water Mill, New York.
We viewed the featured exhibit called The Land Claim by Tomashi Jackson, a multidisciplinary artist who creates art centered on the historic and contemporary lived experiences of Indigenous, Black, and Latinx families on the East End of Long Island. The exhibition highlights issues of housing, transportation, livelihood, migration, and agriculture linked to these communities with motifs of labor, matriarchy, and sacred land.
The powerful display serves as a basis for both our creative production and as a conversation starter for how art and architecture can expand on the lived experience and our personal stories.
Next, we went to The Watermill Center, a laboratory for the arts and humanities, which was founded in 1992 by avant-garde visionary Robert Wilson. Located on ten acres of Shinnecock ancestral territory, we toured the building and his extensive collection, which integrates unconventional and modern artistic practice with resources from the humanities and research from the sciences to create and inspire. Serving as an incubator for innovative and out-of-the-box ideas, this space provided our team with the time and freedom to feel creatively inspired by both valuable and mundane items.
Our last stop was at the LongHouse Reserve, a 16 acre reserve and sculpture garden located in East Hampton, featuring a major collection of art pieces. Ever since artist Jack Larsen purchased the property in 1975, he was constantly changing the exhibits and relandscaping the grounds to create a truly unique experience.
The reserve includes cryptomerias, established lawns, and ornamental borders as settings for the plant collections and sculptures. It combines elements of art, history, and natural beauty to establish an organic, yet conceptual and imaginative setting for individuals to be inspired. The space also contains a number of optical illusions, such as the appearance of trees becoming bigger or smaller based on one’s specific location, to play with our perception and encourage us to consider different perspectives. The beautiful landscape and extensive art functioned as a great mental palette cleanser for our team and left us feeling renewed.
We had such an amazing time visiting these special exhibits and art collections at all three sites! Thank you to The Parrish Art Museum, The Watermill Center, and LongHouse Reserve for having us!