Long Island has been home to a thriving art scene ever since it began hosting the likes of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, and others during the mid-20th century. Looking to inject a new burst of energy to the scene there, dealer David Zwirner and his wife Monica have plans to set up an artist residency program in Montauk, according to the East Hampton Star.
Through their proposed arrangement, the Zwirners will subsidize rental fees for 17 cottages on the shore of Lake Montauk, to be known as the Bridgeford Cottages. The cottages neighbor the Zwirners’ own Montauk mansion, which houses a large pool and a pavilion. The project came to light as the local Planning Department debated the particulars of the Zwirner proposal, which has been in play since at least last March.
A representative for David Zwirner gallery declined to comment.
The Zwirners’ dream for an artists’ retreat has come up against some logistical roadblocks. The East Hampton Star reported that locals’ main issues were the use of the Zwirners’ pavilion and some environmental concerns about the lake.
The Planning Department said that if the pavilion were to be used by artists, they would be violating the zoning laws for the house, which is reportedly deemed a residential space, not a commercial one. The Zwirners will have to present a covenant ensuring that the pavilion won’t be used for commercial purposes.
Meanwhile, a bulkhead, a wall that keeps back the high tide, is in a deteriorated state. The Zwirners want to replace it, but the Planning Department would like to see it removed altogether so that the natural shoreline could once again emerge.
The Planning Department seems hopeful that the Zwirners could work out these snags and realize their dream of setting up an artists’ retreat. Kathy Cunningham, vice chairwoman of the department’s board, told the East Hampton Star, “I’m very encouraged by that, but I think there’s still a way to go.”