So Long, Chelsea! Bob Nickas to Liven Up the Art World this Summer with Bridgehampton Biennial

“The question could be: why do a biennial anywhere?” The writer and curator Bob Nickas told The Observer. He was talking about the show he’s organizing in the Hamptons, Bridgehampton Biennial, which opens next weekend in the rented summer residence of gallerist Jose Martos. “There are so many of them and, like art fairs, more and more all the time. It seems to be a matter of economics rather than art. The show that I am doing is really just a summer show, and I’m calling it a biennial to poke some fun at the whole idea of these big, self-important art festivals. Those shows don’t seem to be about the art and the artists, but everything else. My show is meant to be about the art and for the artists.”

There will be artwork by Richard Aldrich, Lisa Beck, Trisha Donnelly, Amy O’Neill, Dan Walsh and many others, all installed around the house, in the backyard, along the pool, among the furniture and kids’ toys, creating a more lived-in environment, a far cry from the white cube galleries of New York City.

This is the second show Mr. Nickas has organized in Mr. Martos’ rented old farm built around 1860. The first one was last summer, which makes the “biennial” label even more tongue-in-cheek. The art is all site-specific, though Mr. Nickas said aside from adapting elements to the particular space (one work, a sailboat by Aaron Suggs, is actually in the pool), the works themselves are not about the Hamptons or summer homes or domesticity directly. There are, however several artists—Wayne Gonzalez, Rachel Harrison, Jacob Kassay and Ms. O’Neill—who have not previously done site-specific outdoor works.

Mr. Nickas is hoping for a laid-back opening for his biennial. The Observer is aware of the contradictions in that statement, but this is hardly Venice. Last year, some guest pitched tents and camped out overnight in the backyard. There will likely be a band set up by the pool. It won’t be entirely peaceful, though.

“This year we’re expecting more babies since quite a few came into the world last summer,” Mr. Nickas said. So Long, Chelsea! Bob Nickas to Liven Up the Art World this Summer with Bridgehampton Biennial