Donovan: Peter Marino Is The Keeper Of The Flame

Friday evening I attended the opening of architect Peter Marino’s exhibition “Counterpoint: Selections from the Peter Marino Collection.” If you follow the arts in our area, you’ve probably read all about it here in The Press, as it is the art event of the season.

Two days after the opening and in retrospect, I realized that I wasn’t prepared for the full impact of this event. Magnificently mounted by the Southampton Arts Center, it’s a collection of painting and sculpture so visually stunning, so rich and so wonderfully and surprisingly diverse in its content and display, it reminded me just how inspiring great art in the setting of a beautiful, traditional museum institution can be. This is a show with gravity, or, as you often read the word, gravitas. You can feel its pull the moment you walk through the doors. 

The Southampton Arts Center’s new executive director, Tom Dunn, and the seasoned artistic director, Amy Kirwin, can truly be proud of this benchmark exhibition. This show is as important as it is ambitious. That’s my formal art column take on it, but in truth, that’s just a tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

I suppose I could produce a workman-like list of the art with details and explanations, but that is not the point. This is a show that needs to be experienced—not explained. And that is exactly how Mr. Marino presents himself and his art. The visual experience is king. If the visual experience fails to inspire or falls short of lighting you up, then no amount of Art Forum-like dissertations will ever fill the gap.

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