EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — The art collectors were finally coming out of hiding here recently, albeit quietly and tentative-ly. The artists were, too. The lure? All of a sudden, they have a lot more gallery options lining the immaculate streets of this famously upscale summer town, a seemingly unexpected development in the middle of a pandemic. Since the beginning of June, five major art galleries have opened here: Pace, Skarstedt, Van de Weghe, Michael Werner and Sotheby’s, all arms of New York art powerhouses. And more are on the way soon, in Montauk (Amalia Dayan and Adam Lindemann’s new venture, South Etna Montauk) and Southampton (Hauser & Wirth).
Eric Firestone — who has had a prime corner location in East Hampton for 10 years — said: “If it’s a great beach day, people aren’t coming in. And the newcomers will figure that out.”
Mr. Firestone also has a gallery in Manhattan, and said he specializes in “postwar American artists, with strong empha-sis on people who were missed or slighted, like Joe Overstreet and Mimi Gross.” He currently is showing work in East Hampton by the African-American painter Varnette Patricia Honeywood (1950-2010), whose works celebrating Black life were included in the set decoration for “The Cosby Show.”