An artists’ retreat envisioned by the mega-dealer David Zwirner in Montauk, Long Island, is facing some logistical hurdles as members of the local town planning board raise environmental and zoning concerns.
According to the East Hampton Star, the ecologically-minded development would involve the reconstruction of 17 cottages and a house on the Lake Montauk shore, which would have subsidised rental fees, the removal of an asphalt and gravel road that leads to the lake, and the renovation of a deteriorating bulkhead on the shoreline.
Locals argue that the development would make it harder for them to access the lake, and that the bulkhead should be removed altogether to return the shoreline to its natural state. There are concerns that the bulkhead, a retaining wall that helps prevent natural erosion, could collapse and damage the surrounding environment.
Another sticking point is that the cottages, which are separated by a hedge from a large private-use yoga pavilion, a pool and Zwirner’s own mansion, will have mixed commercial and residential use. In a 15 December hearingof the East Hampton Town Planning Board, one member questioned what would happen when “a cottage person says they want to swim in the pool and do yoga in the pavilion”, while another argued that the spaces would be too “alluring” for artists to resist using.
The proposal has been in the works since March last year, but ongoing logistical issues have not been resolved.
The east end of Long Island, which stretches from the Hamptons to Montauk, has long been a destination for artists including, famously, Elaine and Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock. The area is home to multiple artist residency programs. The Elaine de Kooning House in East Hampton has hosted artists for informal residencies since 2011. Dealer and collector Adam Lindemann and gallerist Amalia Dayan, via their South Etna Montauk Foundation, launched an artist residency in Montauk in summer 2021. The Andy Warhol Preserve, on the Atlantic coast near Lake Montauk, also offers weeklong residencies.