Celebrating artists who lived and created here
Malcolm Morley to be honored and featured posthumously
You don’t have to travel to the city for your culture pop.
A dozen artists — their stories, paintings and items from their lives — will make their way to the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society’s opening exhibit and gala, “An Artists’ Place,” on Saturday.
Those in the exhibit either lived in Bellport at one time or still live there.
The exhibit’s most significant artwork?
“Malcolm Morley’s,” quickly answered BBHS director and curator Tricia Foley. “He painted ‘Bellport Swings’ in 1986 and donated it so the playground could be built. LuAnn Thompson has this plaque that thanks him. It’s a very happy, colorful painting of the Bellport dock.”
BBHS’s summer exhibition is dedicated to Morley, the internationally renowned artist who lived in Brookhaven hamlet and died last year. The gala is their annual fundraiser, which helps support the maintenance of the historic buildings on their campus, Bellport village’s heartbeat. It also helps keep Bellport’s history alive.
You can easily spend an hour perusing the other notables featured.
The most unusual piece is by John Perrault. “This painting is called ‘Large Coffee.’ John did it in honor of the Washington Lodge, which is now CEED. He had wanted to turn it into an artists’ residence,” reported Foley, looking over at the Perrault canvas.
“John did not want to be on the BBHS board, but he was on the exhibition committee. He and I came up with this exhibition theme and he wanted the coffee painting in here. I feel like he’s part of this.”
There will be an Arthur Pinajian scene of the Bellport Harbor. Thomas Schultz, executive director and chief curator of Gallery 125 and steward of Pinajian’s paintings, brought over Pinajian’s glasses, journal, World War II medals, cartoons, books and drawings of the artist, who almost became obscured before Schultz stumbled on a cache of Pinajian’s artwork, which was about to be ditched.
Others in the collection include William Glackens, of the famous “ashcan artists,” Philip Read, George Tooker, Frederick Kost and Walter Granville-Smith. “We also have those who are still alive, like Hugo Guinness, Michael Ince and Elliott Puckette,” said Foley.
Also Jessie Hartland, whose colorful, whimsy-like drawings, plates and cups, and books march across the long set-up table in the center of the exhibit space with information on the other artists, so visitors can look and observe each one.
“We’ll also have two monitors on the back wall of Malcolm’s life that will loop,” Foley added.
Besides the gala’s fun offerings like the silent auction items and a caricature artist, Foley said people can buy posters, including Morley’s “Bellport Swings,” for $10. That also includes Jessie Hartland’s Artwalk map. Extras are being printed for those who don’t attend the gala.
Foley was already at the BBHS headquarters on Bell Street on Tuesday planning the exhibit setup; she has been working on the project since January.
“You know,” she mused. “Malcolm died on June 1, and we’re having the gala this year on June 1, which is pretty amazing.”
For tickets to the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society gala, click on bbhsmuseum.org.
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