LongHouse Reserve Summer Benefit Honoring Mary Heilmann, And A. M. Homes

July 25, 2023

LongHouse Reserve celebrated its annual Summer Benefit honoring the joyful creativity of artist Mary Heilmann and the literary genius of A. M. Homes.

Gala Chairs Dianne Benson, Cindy Sherman, and Robert Wilson, Art Chairs Pamela Willoughby and George Negroponte, with LongHouse Board of Trustees, greeted friends and supporters – including Alice Aycock, Candace Bushnell, Rosanne Cash, Harlem resident Renee Cox, Bill T. Jones, Laurie Lambrecht, Sophie Chahinian and Robert Longo, Lisa Perry, and G.E. Smith – to the MidSummer Dream themed evening, full of wonder. Guests entered through the sand dunes, into a whimsical world with pop-up performances including stilt walkers, musicians, dancers, a horse rider, a merman in the pool, trapeze aerialists and acrobats roaming the gardens, enhancing the sensual space that is LongHouse. The entire 16-acre grounds were open to discovery with art at every turn, including this new works by Wyatt Kahn and Fitzhugh Karol (both in attendance), loans from Daniel Arsham and Ai Weiwei, as well as permanent works by Buckminster Fuller, Sol LeWitt, Yoko Ono and more. The evening raised over $650,000.

Let’s look at what could be done; at what hasn’t been done.

Dinner began with a video of the late LongHouse Founder Jack Lenor Larsen walking the gardens sharing “change involves the new and there’s something magical about the new. Let’s look at what could be done; at what hasn’t been done. How to get away from the ordinary and the conventional, to discover. Let’s do that, even in a small way, and see what we can find.”

“…present and thoughtful, local and global…”

Director Carrie Rebora Barratt quoted Eleanor Roosevelt saying “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” as she referenced Jack’s vision for LongHouse. “When I worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I remember Jack visiting from time to time, sitting in our Textile Center, always looking and learning.  He’s created quite a stir, fabulously dressed, so tall, and that voice. Jack was present and thoughtful, local and global, just like the institution he created that we carry on”.

“…moving from strength to strength.. Speaking of strength and beauty,”

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Board President Nina Gillman said “We continue to learn from Jack, and from LongHouse, a magical place in our community that inspires each of us to live with art in all its forms. Jack was endlessly interested in the new and had a fearless love of change.  He often instructed us ‘to be relevant, not reverent’ once he was gone. Since his passing 2 ½ years ago, we have used these words as our guide. This has been a time of enormous change for LongHouse, from a private residence with grounds open part-time to visitors, led by its founder, to a fully public institution with expanded open days and hours, led by board and staff.  We have more programming, greater engagement with the community, and more supporters and members than ever before. In this transition, LongHouse is moving from strength to strength.. Speaking of strength and beauty, I’d like to toast Dianne Benson and allow us to thank you.  Dianne B, your vision and leadership, and style and grace, are beyond compare.  We are honored to call you our President Emeritus.”

Laurie Anderson introduced A.M. and shared a few words about her longtime friend, “Some of A.M’s recent work has been about talking trees, and so it’s great that we’re here at Longhouse, a place that treasures trees and is probably pretty open to what trees might have to say, if they could talk. I first met A.M. in a tree. It was the early ‘80s after a show in Washington and for some reason I was outside trying to climb a tree. A.M. just showed up and we started to talk. I immediately saw her as someone who’s intensely interested in where she is at the moment and able to put that into words. Lately, the talking trees are branching out into AI and I’m really happy about that since I think AI is one of the most powerful tools for writers. The language it produces is a mix of moronic and profound.  It’s a little bit like what I imagine the sentences of talking trees will sound like when we finally start to understand what they’re really saying. So I put in the phrase “our friend A.M. and her talking trees” into the supercomputer, ground it through the algorithms, and out came about 9,000 words. I’m going to share a few of these, so here is A.M. in AI.”

“The words, the words, the words are the words. And the birds? What about you? You’ve been out of reach for a while now. But don’t give up hope. Dreams are made of smoke. A.M. P.M. A.M. P.M. She’s a poet and a writer and she writes in her head. At 3 A.M. At 4 A. M. At 5 A.M At 6 A.M.”

A.M. took the stage to share “an odd piece of trivia that I’m sure no one knew when they selected me for this honor. Jack Lenor Larsen has been part of my life since I was 3 days old—literally. In 1960 my parents built a modern glass house at the edge of Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C.. At three days old I was carried through the front door; the first thing I passed was beautiful woven curtains—fabric by Jack, and then I was carried down the hall to my parent’s room and placed on their bed, fabric by Jack, and the drapes in that bedroom, by Jack. My first experiences, my first visions were influenced by Jack. For the entirety of my childhood, I viewed the outside world through the weave of Jack Larsen.”

Artist Almond Zigmund introduced honoree Mary Hailmann, “One of my favorite people and painters. Mary’s work gives you permission to luxuriate in the now.  I don’t surf but I imagine looking at her work is similar to the experience of catching a perfect wave, where the absolute chaos of the ocean and tranquil sublimity of catching the wave are combined and distilled into a perfect gesture.  That is what Mary’s paintings are to me.”

A Junior Committee – including Emma Wrazej (Chair) and Hilary Cianciolo, Noah Erni, Emma Grayson, Mary Kantor, Robert Ladov, Vivienne Lange, Victoria de Lesseps, Sami Lyons, Owen McGowen, Ben Mitchell, and Morgan Wilkins – hosted the afterparty with cocktails, dessert, and dancing with DJ Amber Valentine until midnight

This years art auction, benefiting education at LongHouse, included works by Annie Albers, Bjorn Amelan, Laurie Anderson, Ross Bleckner, Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson, Peter Dayton, Dawn DeDeaux, Michael De Feo, Sally Egbert, Maryam Eisler, Connie Fox, Joe Gaffney, Judy Hudson, Peter Hujar, Anton Perich, Fitzhugh Karol, Mel Kendrick, Laurie Lambrecht, Jeff Muhs, Randy Polumbo, Marcia Resnick, Ugo Rondinone, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Arlene Slavin, Clintel Steed, Suzannah Wainhouse, David “Mr. StarCity” White, Lucy Wynton, Mark Wilson, and Robert Wilson

In the coming days LongHouse will host conversations and book signings with celebrated multidisciplinary artist Michele Oka Doner for her forthcoming book, A Seed Takes Root: A True Story on July 30th, as well as actress Alexandra Auder with her book Don’t Call Me Home: A Memoir on August 13th. Gifted virtuoso pianist and composer Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner will share an evening of enchanting music under the stars in celebration of Jack Larsen’s birthday on August 5th, made possible by the generous support of Barbara Tober. 

A.M. Homes

A.M. Homes is an author whose work has been translated into twenty-two languages and appears frequently in Art Forum, Harpers, Granta, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Zoetrope. She is a Contributing Editor to Vanity Fair, Bomb and Blind Spot.  Several times a year she collaborates on book projects with artists—among them Eric Fischl, Rachel Whiteread, Cecily Brown, Bill Owens, Julie Speed, Michal Chelbin, Petah Coyne, Carroll Dunham, Catherine Opie and Todd Hido.

She was a Co-Executive Producer and Writer on David E. Kelly and Stephen King’s, Mr. Mercedes, Co-Executive Producer and Writer on Falling Water and has created original television pilots for HBO, FX and CBS and was a writer/producer of the Showtime series The L Word.  Homes serves on the Writers Guild East Counsel. Additionally, Homes wrote the adaptation of her first novel JACK, for Showtime. Director Rose Troche’s 2003 adaptation of The Safety of Objects marks the screen debut of Kristen Stewart. Other Homes novels include, The Unfolding, This Book Will Save Your Life and May We Be Forgiven.  

A.M. Homes has been the recipient of numerous awards including Fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, NYFA, and The Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library, along with the Benjamin Franklin Award, and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis.

In addition, she has been active on as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Yaddo, and on the board of The Fine Arts Work Center In Provincetown, The Writers Room, and PEN-where she chaired both the membership committee and the Writers Fund. Additionally, she serves on the board of Poets and Writers.

Mary Heilmann

Influenced by 1960s counterculture, the free speech movement, and the surf ethos of her native California, Mary Heilmann ranks amongst the most influential abstract painters of her generation. Considered one of the preeminent contemporary Abstract painters, Heilmann’s practice overlays the analytical geometries of Minimalism with the spontaneous ethos of the Beat Generation, and are always distinguishable by their often unorthodox—always joyful—approach to color and form.

Raised in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Heilmann completed a degree in literature, before she studied ceramics at Berkeley. Only after moving to New York in 1968 did she begin to paint. While most artists at that time were experimenting with the concept of dematerialization and demanding that painting should avoid any references to experience outside the material presence of the work itself, Heilmann opted for painting, rebelling against the accepted rules. ‘Rather than following the decrees of modern, non-representational formalism, I started to understand that the essential decisions taken during the creative process were more and more related to content. The Modern movement was over…’

Since then, Heilmann has created compositions that evoke a variety of associations. Her work may be non-representational and based on an elementary, geometrical vocabulary—circles, squares, grids and stripes—but there is always something slightly eccentric, casual about them. The simplicity of the forms is played down by a deceptive form of nonchalance: the contours are not clearly defined. In some paintings, amorphous forms appear to melt into each other like liquid wax. Splashes of color can be discerned, sharp edges bleed for no apparent reason, and the ductus of the brushstrokes is always perceptible. Heilmann’s casual painting technique conceals a frequently complex structure that only gradually reveals itself to the viewer.

LongHouse Reserve

LongHouse Reserve is 16-acre integrated environment created by artist, collector and world-renowned textile designer and weaver Jack Lenor Larsen (1927-2020) with a mission to inspire living with art in all forms. Over the past two years, LongHouse has transitioned from a founder-led to board and staff-led public institution, serving the community with vast open space, programs in art, nature, and wellness, providing a sanctuary for Long Island and beyond. The sculpture garden, featuring more than 60 outdoor works—including permanent collection works by Yoan Capote, Buckminster Fuller, Yoko Ono, Sui Jinguao, and Willem de Kooning, and seasonal loans from artists such as Wyatt Kahn, Maren Hassinger, and Ai Wei Wei—encourages exploration and contemplation for new and repeat visitors alike.  As of this year, the garden is fully open to the public for education and enjoyment, with a next chapter of activating Larsen’s home (a modernist structure based on the Shinto Shrine at Ise) and the extensive collections.

LongHouse Reserve inspires and empowers visitors of all ages to see and think in new ways, and to incorporate art and design into their lives, invoking an ongoing act of creation that is renewed by the diverse communities drawn to its values and purpose. Whether visitors return to see a favorite garden or walk the grounds in search of a new installation, LongHouse is always changing and always new.

LongHouse Reserve is open April – December, Wednesdays through Sundays from 12:30 pm until 5 pm. A Membership allows you to visit LongHouse Reserve throughout the season. General admission is $20, with reduced-price tickets for seniors and students, and no charge for children, veterans, or active-duty personnel.

More information is available at www.longhouse.org.

Photo credit: 1) Harriett Cole, Renee Cox, Tinu Naija. 2) Laurie Anderson 3) Bjorn Amelan, Bill T. Jones, Robert Longo, Sophie Chahinian. 4) Toni Ross, Adrian Pia. 5-6) Atmosphere 7) Spencer Washburn, Elisabeth George Washburn. 8) Ingrid Simmons George, Dr. Derek T. George. 9) Ingrid Simmons George, Dr. Derek T. George. 10) Spencer Koral, Tripoli Patterson. 11) Erika Ehrman, Randy Polumbo. 12) Colby Vogt, Donghwan Kim, Dr. Peter, Ricardo Martinez. 13) Cindy Sherman, Jack Hanley, Bridgette Goodbody. 14) Jeff Muhs, Beth McNeill. 15) Atmosphere. by PMC/Sean Zanni.

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