FRIDAY, MAY 26, 6pm


Longwell will focus on the impact of former Board President Rebecca Bolling Littlejohn’s revitalization of the Museum beginning in 1952.


WATER MILL, NY 5/12/2023—In celebration of the Parrish Art Museum’s 125th anniversary, Chief Curator Emeritus Alicia G. Longwell, Ph.D., will discuss the history of the institution on Friday, May 26, 6pm, at the Museum. Longwell will focus on the impact of former Board President Rebecca Bolling Littlejohn’s revitalization of the Museum beginning in 1952, and reflect on her own four-decade career at the Parrish prior to her retirement in 2022. Admission to this talk in the Museum’s Lichtenstein Theater is $5 Members | $16 Adults (nonmember) | $12 Seniors | Free for students and children. Advance ticket purchase with pre-event registration is recommended.

The talk is the first of a series of lectures and conversations that delve into the Parrish’s rich and storied history. In 1952, Littlejohn began a crusade to rename, rebrand, and revive the waning institution, bringing it into the 20th Century. As part of her strategy, she focused on developing the collection beginning with acquisitions of the first William Merritt Chase paintings, as well as works by contemporary East End-based artists Fairfield Porter, Larry Rivers, and John D. Graham. Likewise, during her tenure, Longwell was integral in building the Museum’s collection through identifying and pursuing acquisitions, including major works by Ross Bleckner, Mary Heilmann, Lonnie Holley, Elizabeth Peyton, David Salle, Alan Shields, and Joe Zucker. Coincidentally, she chose John Graham as the topic of her dissertation toward her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Among Longwell’s most notable curatorial achievements are Sand: Memory, Meaning and Metaphor (2008), John Graham: Maverick Modernist (2017), and Affinities for Abstraction: Women Artists on Eastern Long Island, 1950-2020 (2021). She ushered the Museum into its new building in Water Mill, planning the inaugural installations of the Parrish collection for the 2012 opening that featured the exhibition Malcolm Morley: Painting, Paper, Process (2012). Longwell organized numerous survey exhibitions including Dorothea Rockburne: In My Mind’s Eye (2011) and North Fork/South Fork: East End Art Now (2004), as well as solo exhibitions on the work of artists Barbara Bloom, Marsden Hartley, Frederick Kiesler, Alan Shields, Esteban Vicente, and Jack Youngerman, among many others.


Friday Nights at the Parrish are made possible, in part, by Weill Cornell Medicine – Southampton, and The Corcoran Group.

The Parrish Art Museum’s programs are made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and by the property taxpayers from the Southampton School District and the Tuckahoe Common School District.


 The Parrish Art Museum strives to illuminate the creative process, casting light on how art transforms our experience and understanding of the world in which we live. The Museum fosters connections between individuals, art, and artists through the care and interpretation of the collection, as well as the presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, and programs. A center for cultural engagement with a focus on the East End of Long Island, the Parrish is a source of inspiration and a destination for the region, the nation, and the world.  



 AAQ / Resource: Sotheby’s International Realty