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Christophe von Hohenberg The White Album of the Hamptons Book

Art for Arts Sake. The glittering hordes that are now relaxing in PB are the collectors, and the artists, and photographers that have encouraged the marketers of culture. Business is good in that department.  This Thursday evening, March 10th, between 5 and 8 p.m., the Cavalier Gallery (292 South County Road), with Jane Holzer & John Paulson, are hosting a VIP Pre-Show Viewing of Christophe von Hohenberg’s new book of photographs, The White Album of the Hamptons. The exhibit will run through March 17.

The Foreword to the book was written by his friend, author Jay McInerney:

Christophe von Hohenberg has made a name for himself as one of the most celebrated photographers of his generation with a body of work exhibiting a distinctive urban sensibility.

He is probably best known for his portraits of New York personalities — of artist, writers, fashionistas, and heiresses and men about town. Since the early eighties, he has created a kind of collective portrait Manhattan’s beau monde; his best known book documented the mourners as Andy Warhol’s memorial in 1987 — a who’s who of fashionable New York. More recently he has turned his eye on the faces and architecture of Mexico City, where he spends part of his year.

This latest book represents a surprising and stunning departure from this body of work, at least stylistically, although there is a certain sense in which it represents an extension of his interest in New York as a subject. The beaches of the Hamptons are the summertime refuge of fashionable New Yorkers — and of a generation of artists from William Merritt Chase to Eric Fischl, who have been attracted to the landscape and the marine-infected light.

Von Hohenberg joins the ranks of those artist with these luminous photographs of the beaches of the Hamptons. The ghostly figures on the sand, silhouetted against the surf and the sky, might be famous New Yorkers, but their individuating characteristics have been bleached away by the sun and the figurative squint of the observer (Although curiously, the dogs seem to have personalities.)

The humans have become anonymous and diminished against the overwhelming backdrop of the ocean. These images are by turns soothing and haunting and yet somehow familiar. Von Hohenberg has discovered a perspective that was in front of us all along, which we couldn’t quite isolate until he presented it to us.

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