Beat the Heat! Artists, Dealers Convene in the Hamptons for Lovable, Laidback Upstairs Art Fair -ARTnews

56 Henry’s unconventional outdoor booth, on blankets designed by Al Freeman Jr.


This weekend, as a heatwave gripped New York, with temperatures approaching an astonishing 100 degrees, artists, dealers, collectors, and the like convened out in the Hamptons on Long Island, for the third annual edition of the pocket-sized Upstairs Art Fair.

The event screamed summertime, with 14 dealers from the South Fork and further afield filling out two floors above a surf shop in a big red barn in Amagansett that was once home to the Amagansett Applied Arts School. Perfectly fitting the occasion, its floor is still speckled with paint and glaze flecks.

“There’s just good energy here that is embedded in the space,” Bill Powers, the owner of Half Gallery in New York, said.

Powers started the fair two years ago with Harper Levine, who runs Harper’s Books in East Hampton, and he said that they wanted to create an alternative to the “big white tent, what-do-I-wear-to-the-art-fair sort of events” that typically set up shop in the area.

“I wanted to see something more open, that’s not as polished, and have a lot of camaraderie amongst the dealers,” he said.

The vibe was staggeringly chill—dogs ran around the space without leashes, several visitors sported swimsuits (one man paired his swim trunks with a blue blazer and Crocs), and PBR and rosé flowed.

Powers himself stretched out on some NASA–branded foldout chairs he designed with Tom Sachs while exhibiting paintings by Hiejin Yoo, Daniel Heidkamp, and Lucien Smith, plus a collaborative drawing by husband-and-wife powerhouses John Currin and Rachel Feinstein.

Joel Mesler working on a portrait during the fair’s opening.


The opening day, which was free and open to the public, had a solid number of prominent guests, including actor Josh Brolin, artists Joe Bradley, Robert Longo, and Jules de Balincourt, as well as ARTnews Top 200 collectors Phil and…

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