LongHouse Reserve: Director Carrie Rebora Barratt Talks Season Highlights

Photo by Philippe Cheng

LongHouse Reserve, East Hampton’s 16-acre sculpture garden and nature sanctuary, has opened for its 2024 season. The season started with the annual Rites of Spring celebration, where millions of daffodils surrounded guests on the grounds — and, of course, mesmerizing displays of art.

“This season will be our liveliest ever! We have art, performances, conversations, craft workshops, and well-being activities for the whole family,” said LongHouse director Carrie Rebora Barratt. “LongHouse Founder Jack Lenor Larsen left us with the instruction to be relevant, not reverent, and we follow his lead with an exciting season of art and events, carrying out our mission of inspiring living with art in all forms.”

Textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen founded LongHouse Reserve. Following his passing in 2020, the space has transitioned from a founder-led to a board-led institution.

Photo by Philippe Cheng

“It really feels like 2024 is the year where we’re clearly moving forward,” said Barratt. “It was hard…There’s a lot of grief. There’s loss.”

Visitors are drawn to LongHouse’s permanent installations, including pieces by Buckminster Fuller, Sol Lewitt, and Yoko Ono and renowned loans by Daniel Arsham and Ai Weiwei.

Yoko Ono, “Play It By Trust.” Photo courtesy LongHouse Reserve

“There’s a version of it at her great retrospective at Tate Modern right now in London,” said Barratt of Ono’s “Play It By Trust” chess set. “She’s just turned 90, and so it’s a very exciting year for her, and we’re thrilled to be able to activate our chess set a little bit this year.” 

The season opened with “Full Circle: Toshiko Takaezu and Friends,” in conjunction with the Noguchi Museum’s retrospective of the artist’s work, both curated by Glenn Adamson. At LongHouse, the core of the exhibition are the pieces Larsen acquired from his friend, Toshiko, and gifts from her to him, including the iconic Gateway Bell.

“You can ring the bell, which is so beautiful. People like to hug it. The vibrational piece of it makes you feel something. It’s just magical. So by the time you turn the corner and you’re entering our green space, most people say they already feel like their shoulders have dropped,” said Barratt.

Photo by Philippe Cheng

In tandem with the concurrent retrospective “Toshiko Takaezu: Within Worlds” at The Noguchi Museum, LongHouse will display the full complement of its Takaezu works for the first time, supplemented by key loans, with the work of other artists whose lives and careers were deeply touched by Takaezu, including Lenore Tawney, Anna Kang Burgess, Fitzhugh Karol, and Martha Russo.

Toshiko Takaezu. Photo by Philippe Cheng

“Martha Russo, who lives in Colorado but was a student of Toshiko when she was in college, has taken over a whole room with these amazing domestic-scale ceramics,” said Barratt.

“Starting in June, we are welcoming Paola Lenti, the Italian furniture designer who will be refurnishing our pavilion, our pool area, and the areas over by the pond where people like to sit. It’s their 40th anniversary, and it’s the first time ever that Paola Lenti will be showing in the Hamptons,” Barratt continued.

Paola Lenti. Photo courtesy LongHouse Reserve

The annual gala is also a highlight of summer. “We are honoring Kenny Scharf and the painter Tony Bechara, which is really exciting,” said Barratt.

Also on view this summer, Monica Banks has created a series of ceramic miniature dining vignettes for birds to experience eating seeds and sipping water from a scaled-down version of the patio dining they see on summer days, titled “Bird Happenings.” 

Banks shared, “I’m trying to imagine the birds’ point of view. I’m experimenting with what they might be curious about and how I might inspire in them the delight they create in me while observing them.” The pieces will be placed throughout the garden as the season continues.

Art by Agathe Snow. Photo courtesy LongHouse Reserve

Guests will also have a chance to experience art by Agathe Snow, Bill King, Robert Lobe, Maryam Eisler, Maren Hassinger, Oscar Molina, Mark Mennin, Isamu Noguchi, and Kenny Scharf.

There will be performances by Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner, The Iris Trio, Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, Neo-Political Cowgirls, and Young Concert Artists, as well as talks with Jonathan Adler, Liz Collins, Lynne Cooke, Machine Dazzle, Alastair Gordon, LongHouse curator Glenn Adamson, and more. 

Carrie Rebora Barratt. Photo by Richard Lewin

Beyond the programming, it’s the tranquility of LongHouse that draws visitors from far and near. 

“Earth FM did analysis and research and [found that] LongHouse is the 13th most peaceful place in the state of New York,” said Barratt. “I really do feel like LongHouse is a place where you can find your peace, if only for an hour. If you’ve lost it. If somebody took it from you. Come for a walk.”

Jessica Mackin-Cipro

Co-Publisher/Editor

Jessica Mackin-Cipro is an editor and lifestyle writer from the East End of Long Island. She has won NYPA and PCLI awards for journalism and social media. She was previously the Executive Editor of The Independent Newspaper.

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