Contributed by Abby Lloyd and Hadley Vogel / The progenitor of the East Hampton Tow wasn’t on wheels. It was a shed in the backyard of Hadley’s childhood home. She founded East Hampton Shed in 2012 with Nate Hitchcock, and for eight years, mostly during the summer, the shed functioned as a white-box gallery. After the summer of 2017, Hadley and Nate parted ways, and Hadley gained full control of the space. In 2018, she curated Abby into a two-person show “Tiny People” with Chris Retsina.
We are old friends from high school, and the following year with Dennis Witkin we co-curated an outdoor exhibition, “Scarecrow Show,” at Greenthumb Organic Farm in Watermill, NY. The show featured over 30 artists’ scarecrows, got a lot of attention, and was a ton of work. When lockdown kicked in, we started discussing the future.
While staying with her father, Abby noticed his tow hitch and thought, that’s the ticket: a gallery on wheels that comes to viewers. We built it from the ground up and debuted the East Hampton Tow on the Fourth of July with “Sal Salandra’s Thread Art Paintings,” a solo presentation of erotic needlepoint works. The playful nature of the gallery and its intimate exhibitions have lured many passersby to stop and take a look, and the audience has been far more diverse than it ever was at the original, stationary East Hampton Shed.
We change the exterior color for each exhibition—a signal that a new show has been installed—and have attracted artists, collectors, gaggles of teens, local eccentrics, business owners, mothers running errands with their children, people tooling around in sports cars, and, of course, the local authorities. During each opening we have come to expect a visit from the police, who ask us what we’re doing and whether we are soliciting anything. We have become well-versed on how best to respond, and now they leave fairly quickly.
This summer has seen a huge influx of NYC galleries moving out to the Hamptons to present shows to the lockdown community. Our gallery, though, is truly alternative: a rent-free, artist-run project that exists in parallel to the luxury art venues (literally as well as figuratively, as we are parallel parked on the street). It’s offbeat, fun and unlike any other gallery presenting shows in the Hamptons this summer (or any other).
The current show, “Red Shoes,” features Brigid Moore, Chris Retsina, Didi Rojas, Diego Groisman, Lucia Love, Miles Shelton, Morgan Blair, Paul Torres, Stephanie Boyce and Vanessa Gully-Santiago. The title is inspired by the famous quote from Little Edie, the heroine of the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens: “They can get you in East Hampton for wearing red shoes on a Thursday.” Eccentric Little Edie bristled under the puritanical code of this conservative town. East Hampton Tow envisions the space as Little Edie’s secret treasure trove filled with haunting memories as well as precious things.
East Hampton Tow / People can find us most probably parked outside of our local champion, Babette’s restaurant, Newtown Lane, East Hampton, on Saturdays and Sundays, 12-2pm. For live location updates visit our Instagram @easthamptonshed
Update : We recently received an official warning from the East Hampton Town Police, which said they don’t want us to park in front of Babette’s anymore. Babette’s owner is still a big supporter and was upset that we had been asked to leave. Even after so much time has passed since Edie’s day, it looks like they will still get you for red shoes in East Hampton.
About the authors:
Hadley Vogel is a bookbinder and owner of Hadley Hill Bindery in Weehawken, NJ, and collaborates with exhibiting artists to create one-of-a-kind art books. Vogel exhibited her collaboration with Antfurniture at Fortnight Institute. She has also exhibited at Roxbury Liberal Arts in a group show curated by Brian Kokoska. She is currently working on a
project of oversized prints for Christopher Wool. Vogel also was included in “Artists & Recipes,” a project curated by Abby Lloyd.
Abby Lloyd is an artist, performer and curator. She recently self published “Artists & Recipes”, a free PDF cookbook featuring over 40 emerging and established artists. Lloyd also recently collaborated with Alyssa Davis Gallery and Solo Show to create a global literary arts project “Behind the Times,” featuring 200 artists from 28 countries. Lloyd is also currently exhibiting work in “The Essential Goods Show” at Fisher Parrish Gallery, NY. She will be exhibiting in the upcoming show “(Untitled) Molly House”, EXILE Gallery, Vienna, Austria.