By Amy Patton
Almond Zigmund likes to startle people. Through her art, that is.
As part of the Parrish Art Museum’s “road show,” a collection of off-site artistic offerings around the East End this summer, Zigmund’s sculptural works will be on display at Sag Harbor’s Whaling & Historical Museum beginning Saturday.
Titled “Interruptions Repeated” – “I was originally going to call it ‘Intrusions Interrupted,’” joked Zigmund, “but that sounded a little bit aggressive” – the show will feature an installation of two of the East Hampton artist’s large scale geometric pieces in wood.
While Zigmund’s main goal is to both distract and detract viewers from ordinary surroundings and plunge them into the unexpected with her art, she wants, at the same time, for it to be a gentle experience.
“I really don’t want to intrude; just politely interrupt what people are seeing and experiencing.”
Zigmund’s two decidedly architectonic patterned pieces are planned to reflect a dramatic study in contrast from the museum’s ornate Greek Revival-style interior design in its main parlor where the sculptures will be exhibited.
And that’s exactly what the artist is aiming for.
“What I try to do with my sculpture is to disrupt the normal flow and movement of a space and alter the experience for those who pass through it,” she said. The search for such a space, Zigmund explained, began in March of this year when she and the Parrish’s road show curator, Andrea Grover, literally hit the highways and byways of the Hamptons, from Southampton to Montauk, searching for a suitable venue for Zigmund’s work. The hunt involved “peeking in windows” said Grover, “and getting out at each location to get a sense of its history and its neighboring buildings. Almond was really looking for a 19th century house, one that had that type of façade.”
In the Whaling & Historical Museum, a perfect — albeit temporary — home was finally found for her show’s two unique abstract designs.
“It was one of the last places we looked at,” Zigmund said.
The Sag Harbor landmark, at 200 Main Street in the village, has a rich history. First built in 1845 as a private home and later, in the 20th century, it has served as a backdrop for numerous artistic projects. “We not only loved the space, we loved the ornateness of it all,” said Grover.
Zigmund, 43, originally hails from Park Slope in Brooklyn where her artistic career began in earnest during high school, she said. Still residing in the borough, she currently splits her time between Brooklyn and her home and studio in East Hampton. Formally educated at Manhattan’s Parson’s School of Design where she earned her bachelor of fine arts, Zigmund later studied at institutions in Paris, Massachusetts and Las Vegas, Nevada, eventually completing a master of fine arts program.
But sculpture, particularly in its abstract patterned form, has always been her thing.
“There definitely is something about objects and their position in space that have always been very appealing to me as an artist,” Zigmund noted. “A lot of it has to do with creating a whole experiential narrative that sort of draws from a wide language of applied art, architecture and design using different textiles. To me, pattern is a great global equalizer. You see patterns across all different cultures and a constant recycling of them.”
But, she laughed, “I’m really not out to teach anybody anything. I don’t want my art to be seen as didactic. I want it to be seen as an experience that people can connect with on a visceral level.”
The Parrish Art Museum’s unique road show exhibition program is now in its second successful year, explained Grover. As the curator of special projects at the Water Mill institution, she is also overseeing East Hampton’s “And Also, I Have No Idea,” a type of integrated performance piece created by the French artist Sydney Albertini. The exhibit includes a collection of soft sculptures and costumes at the studio of the late painter John Little on Three Mile Harbor Road. It’s an interactive experience: visitors will be allowed to try on the costumes and “sculptural heads” and then be photographed against the backdrop of the site.
Said Grover about the Parrish’s innovative efforts to infuse art into the community, “This road show was created specifically in mind to promote the work of local artists here on the East End. The program is firmly artist-driven. What we’re trying to do is reach out to audiences that wouldn’t normally be drawn to a traditional art gallery. I call it the ‘cross-pollinating” of culture and art. For example, someone walking into the Whaling Museum might be there to learn about its history; but then also be exposed to some very unique artistic displays.”
Agreed Zigmund, “The idea behind the road show is to bring art into the communities of the East End, getting some of it out of the galleries and studios and into somewhat non-traditional spaces. And, what this accomplishes is art by and for the people.”
Almond Zigmund’s “Interruptions Repeated” will open Saturday with an artist’s reception from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum located at 200 Main Street. The event is free and open to all. The exhibit will be on display through September 10. For more Road Show information, contact the Parrish Art Museum at 631.283.2118 or visit parrishart.org.