October 6, 2021—East Hampton, NY — Guild Hall has announced the final two exhibitions of 2021, including 90 Years: Selections from the Permanent Collection in the Moran and Woodhouse galleries and a selection of works by the winner of the 2018 Artist Members Exhibition, Jeff Muhs: The Uncanny Valley in the Spiga Gallery. Both exhibitions will open on Saturday, October 30, 2021 and run through January 2, 2022. The public is invited to stop by on Saturday, October 30 from 3-5pm for a “meet the artists” open house. Galleries are open Friday to Sunday, 12-5pm and admission is free courtesy of Dime Community Bank and Landscape Details.
Museum Director and Chief Curator Christina Mossaides Strassfield has curated 90 Years: Selections from the Permanent Collection in celebration of Guild Hall’s 90thanniversary, founded on August 19, 1931. The exhibition will feature a selection of paintings, sculptures, photographs and works on paper showcasing Guild Hall’s commitment to collecting artists of the eastern end of Long Island. The exhibition will include works by Ross Bleckner, John Chamberlain, Chuck Close, Elaine de Kooning, Willem de Kooning, Eric Fischl, Audrey Flack, Jane Freilicher, April Gornik, Robert Gwathmey, Mary Heilman, Jasper Johns, Lee Krasner, Barbara Kruger, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Alfonso Ossorio, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, David Salle, Andy Warhol, Jane Wilson, and many more.
“We are so thrilled to be able to showcase 90 works from our collection of nearly 2,500 works,” says Strassfield. “Guild Hall’s Permanent Collection is a testament to the vibrant art community that continues to exist to this day. Every group of artists from all art movements from the 19th century and beyond has included artists who have made the East End their desired destination. And as an institution whose mission includes a focus on exhibiting and collecting artists who have lived and worked on Eastern Long Island, we are a repository for a microcosm of art history.”
After a postponement due to the pandemic, Jeff Muhs: The Uncanny Valley will open on October 30 in tandem with the Permanent Collection exhibition. As a local multidisciplinary artist, Jeff Muhs has worked in a variety of mediums and genres. In 2018, Muhs participated in Guild Hall’s annual Artist Members Exhibition where he received the Top Honors award for his concrete sculpture Callipyge, selected by Connie Choi, Associate Curator at The Studio Museum of Harlem. The prize for the recipient of the top honor is a solo exhibition in the Spiga Gallery.
The Uncanny Valley originates from a sculptural process the artist calls “Dynamic Free Casting.” By discovering this method, the artist has developed new means for forming concrete, all while embracing its inherent fluidity and weight. By pushing the physical limits of the materials as well as his own ability to manipulate, he has discovered a personal source of infinite creativity.
“The Uncanny Valley is a hypothesized relationship between the degree of an objects’ resemblance to a human being and the emotional response to such an object,“ shared artist Jeff Muhs. “For me, The Uncanny Valley was the moment when I first saw the results of my concrete sculpture as flesh. What had previously been an exploration of more architectural forms, by manor of my process, presented itself as flesh-like. I have been participating in the Guild Hall Artist Members Exhibition for about 25 years. I see it as a great focal point for our creative community. An opportunity for camaraderie and to share our artistic expressions with one another. It is a great honor to have been chosen as the Top Honors recipient for my sculpture and to be awarded the opportunity to exhibit at this cultural institution, so rich in the history of our local artistic community and 20th century art.”
“I am incredibly pleased to be curating Jeff Muhs: The Uncanny Valley as I have known Jeff for 31 years and have watched his work evolve,” said Guild Hall Museum Director/Chief Curator Christina Mossaides Strassfield. “He is a Renaissance artist – equally talented as a painter, sculptor and furniture designer. Jeff has been included in past exhibitions at Guild Hall, and we are very happy to have one of his works in our Permanent Collection.”
Strassfield continued “In this exhibition, Jeff Muhs: The Uncanny Valley, we will feature sculptures which he has exhibited regularly in our Members Exhibition, and which he won the Top Honors for in 2018, as well as paintings from several series that he has been working on in recent years. The sculptures are created by a technique that Muhs invented himself and has experimented with to reach extraordinary technical virtuosity.”
GUILD HALL’S PERMANENT COLLECTION
In 1931, when Mrs. Lorenzo E. Woodhouse dedicated Guild Hall as a cultural center for the community, The New York Times noted that Howard Russell Butler’s portrait of Thomas Moran on exhibit was not a loan but an acquisition. “It marks the beginning of a permanent collection which is proposed to build up in Guild Hall,” the newspaper explained.
From the beginning more than 83 years ago, the holdings have grown significantly in size and scope. In the early 1960’s, the collection began to focus on the artists who have lived and worked in the region, including some of the country’s most celebrated painters, sculptors, photographers and graphic artists. In 1973, the museum received the distinction of being accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and it was reaccredited in 2010. Today, the holdings of 19th, 20th and 21st century art number some 2,200 objects, and the museum continues to acquire works by donation and acquisition.
With its close proximity to New York City, the East End became a popular tourist destination with the onset of the Long Island Railroad in the late 19th century. The LIRR was very active in marketing the charms of the region by distributing thousands of brochures and leaflets. In the 1870s, Hudson River School painters portrayed the white sand beaches of eastern Long Island. Winslow Homer came to visit in 1872, and in 1878 a group of New York artists known as the Tile Club traveled to the East End and visited several of its small villages, including East Hampton. Thomas Moran and his family settled permanently in 1884. His home and studio became the center of life for artists who visited the village. In the teens, twenties and thirties, many artists, including Guy Pene du Bois and George Bellows, visited the area. Later after WWII, the Surrealists, aided by artist and philanthropist Gerald Murphy, were welcomed guests. They were followed by the Abstract Expressionist artists Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner and Willem de Kooning; Pop artists Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol; Photorealists Audrey Flack and Chuck Close; 80’s and 90’s Neo-expressionist artists Eric Fischl, David Salle; as well as many contemporary artists, such as Ross Bleckner, Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince. These artist-residents continue to make the East End the country’s foremost art colony.
Jeff Muhs is a contemporary American artist known for both his paintings and sculptures. Engaged in exploring art history as well as using found materials, the artist’s practice includes blurred versions of paintings, expressive abstractions based on the Long Island landscape, and concrete sculptures of female torsos tightly bonded in various materials. Born in Southampton, NY in 1966, Jeff’s father was a sculptor who taught Muhs wood carving at a young age. Going on to attend the School of Visual Arts in New York during the mid-1980’s, Muhs directed his focus towards painting before returning to sculpture later in his career. The artist’s works are held in the collections of Guild Hall, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, TN, among others. Muhs continues to work from his studio in Southampton.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30, 3-5PM
Meet the Artists
with Jeff Muhs and Permanent Collection Artists
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 3PM
Tour of The Uncanny Valley with Jeff Muhs
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5, 3PM
Permanent Collection Gallery Tour with Curator Christina Mossaides Strassfield
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, 3PM
In Conversation: Jeff Muhs and Christina Mossaides Strassfield