Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, an extension of Annie Armstrong’s gossip column in which she gives art world insiders a disposable camera so they can give us a glimpse of their mad industry corner.
The first time I met Nicole Nadeau at a party in Los Angeles, she told me how rapper and Fyre Festival owner Ja Rule started collecting her work. So I knew I had a friend. Her iconic floral statues embody the same effervescent spirit that Nicole carries with her, and when she told me she was heading to the Hamptons for 4th of July weekend, I couldn’t resist. to send a disposable camera with her.
Read on for possibly the most enviable beach party I’ve ever seen…
I arrive at a small family dinner in the evening to kick off the week of the 4th of July…and my birthday, the 5th. golden light. I may have gotten yelled at for blocking his light. She has always been one of my greatest advocates and will always let me know.
Every morning I go for a run to the Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor. Being near death gives you perspective. I also like to keep them company. The cemetery is historic and full of ship captains and young fishermen who died trying to catch whales. One of my favorite memorials reads: “Perished in a real encounter with the monsters of the deep. Buried in the ocean. They live in our memory. All of the men who died on the boat were under 28.
Later in the day, I went to lunch with Carole Holmes Delouvrier, an old friend of the family. I went on a life-changing trip to Burma with her when I was in college and fell in love with her charismatic energy. (Plus, she’s fly fishing, so it’s an easy win for me.) She invited me and the family over for a rainy East Hampton cheese puff lunch. Due to her life force, she always has the most gorgeous people around her. This afternoon I met and was charmed by none other than painter Peter Heywood and his wife, the legendary Shirley Lord Rosenthal. We talked about all the secret inner worlds of the 60s, the Beatles, and Peter recommended a book to me: David Hockney’s Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters. Apparently Caravaggio had a Galilean optical lens which helped him create his masterpieces.
Then I jumped around a few openings. This one was “Holy Water” at Eric Firestone, hosted by friend Zoe Lukov. The painting behind her is Fawn Rogers. Such a fun show and dialogue. The show was inspired by the sea and aspects of water, from fishing and surfing to baptism and migration. I know Zoe because I was in Venice Beach and was going to rent my little surf shack/art studio from her. She also surfs. I love a salty sister.
Outside of the show, I spot some familiar faces: my dearest Kyle from Woody, who has the best taste and the best eyes, and such a generous spirit and is such a talented human being. Jimena Garcia, the best eyebrow sculptor in the game, and dancer Bonnie Crotzer. We are living a pastel dream. They dare to find a last minute dinner reservation this weekend.
Jo Shane, concept artist. My comrade in arms. We support each other and walk on the cliffs. Lots of virtual studio tours and phone calls. She corrects my words as an artist, which requires a lot.
I hardly recognize Ray Bulman, the manager of the Hole Gallery, without him making delicious pasta or shelling oysters. The second tallest person in the room comes up to his chest. (I’m selling one of my books at the Hole store. Go buy one).
Hi David! I’ve known David Komurek for a while (when he sported a big mustache), I met him at the Beatrice Inn when we realized we were both studying industrial design. I worked briefly with him designing a perfume bottle for the Chelsea Hotel when we were kids. He is never without ideas or projects.
I head to dinner at the Tripoli Gallery with my cousin Victoria de Lesseps, who is more like a sister to me. We call it Peach. She is also an artist. Her solo exhibition recently ended at Another Gallery LA. We both feel so grateful to be in a family of artists and creative quirky energies. You would think this could all get very competitive, but we all support each other. If you see her, ask her about her epic graphic novel she’s working on. It’s from another world.
Trip Patterson, the East End’s most refreshing and charming gallerist. I love the plywood walls in his gallery and the street dining at his house.
Morning! I may or may not have micro-dosed with my parents this week. This is one of my little sculptures. At the start of the pandemic, I was doing work here on this back porch every day. It became one of my many transitional studios during this time.
In the afternoon, I head to Gibson Beach, a beach where I grew up and the first topless beach I ever visited as a kid. These non-permanent sculptures are my favorite there. And I hate not knowing the artist. These sculptures were a nice respite as I had just spent three hours in traffic trying to join the illustrious Ellie Rines, my favorite human, to see the Frank Stella show at the Montauk Ranch. There was a terrible accident and I was trapped on a side road, cars jammed in all directions going in and out of Montauk.
Sunset time! I went with my buddy, photographer Greg Kessler, to Alexander Dijulio’s Beach BBQ on 4th of July at Maidstone Beach. It’s quite the small crew: Ross Bleckner, Kristina Felix Delano, Nio Varden, Esther Park, Mamoun Nukumanu Friedrich… We grilled clams on the foraged bonfire that day with scenery from the farm. It was all fun and games until I noticed a fire had started half a mile from the beach in the nature reserve/seagrass. The fire was started by someone’s fireworks… terrible. We grabbed our buckets and started running down the beach to put out the fire. We put it out without the help of the cops watching us.
Forage clams to farm scapes!
My cousin Noël de Lesseps, who is more like a little brother in many ways, arrives. I have always been very proud to be his mentor. He is also an artist and has an upcoming show at the Ranch in August. His surreal dreamlike paintings channel Magritte and Hieronymus Bosch.
Came back in time for my birthday dinner dance. This is me with my accomplice and artist Audrey Guttman. No matter how long or what country we’ve been in, every time we’ve been together it’s like when we first met in our youth.
They are Audrey’s cousins and my friends Zoe Guttman and Thomas Guttman, whom I have known since we were little. His family is living my dream, still having a cast of characters in their cool house.
I love this photo of Kyle De Woody and her boyfriend Samuel Camburn. It gives me the high school dance energy, which is exactly the vibe I was looking for tonight.
The next day I went to the Woodstock/Bearsville area to see my twin sister, Coryn Nadeau, a clinical art therapist, her husband DJ Jacobs, and my cutest niece, Indigo. It’s a family affair in this creative little town. We’re all builders, so my sister does a lot of renovations on her house. She got my dad to work quickly! He is a fourth generation master craftsman and can pretty much craft, repair, or build anything. He’s easily the token cool guy in the room.
Later that day I went to visit Casey Kelbaugh at Stony Clove in Edgewood. This photo (right to left) is of Bob Gruen, Casey and painter Elizabeth Gregory-Gruen. Nate Freeman came along, who started Wet Paint and wrote it for three months from Casey’s at the start of Covid. He was there with his wife Lucy Charlesworth Freeman and their 11-day-old daughter, Lady Charlesworth Freeman. Needless to say, this was Lady’s first party and maiden voyage to the Catskill Mountains.
I came back to my studio on the west coast, thank goodness. This is a work in progress that I explore, sculptural paintings of canvas, charcoal and resin. I love how the resin keeps the creases in the canvas permanent and moist.
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