Art from a Box

There’s something inspiring about a box. At least, East End Hospice thought so. They decided to run with the concept and a Hamptons art tradition was born. The 11th annual Box Art Auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Ross School Center for Well-Being in East Hampton.

The event features over 75 “boxes” created by as many artists for the occasion. This year’s artists include April Gornik, Bill King, Connie Fox and Donald Lipski. Also contributing are Randall Rosenthal, Frank Wimberley, Daniel Pollera and Roy Nicholson.

Proceeds from the Box Art Auction benefits East End Hospice, who provides care for terminally ill patients and services for their families on the East End and in Brookhaven Town. Boxes can be viewed at eeh.org.

Part of the fun is discovering the shape the box art will take, said Benefit Chair Arlene Bujese. Artists are given a cigar or wine box to make their art. What happens from there is anyone’s guess.

Many artists use the box surfaces to make paintings. These can be found on the box top, exterior sides or tucked inside the box. Art is typically made in the artist’s identifying style. For instance, April Gornik’s box has a painting of an imagined landscape. Stephanie Brody-Lederman’s box features a narrative painting with words and images of nature and birds.

Other artists use the box as a starting point. Dennis Leri deconstructed his box to make a sculpture that implies a box. Bill King made “Willie’s Stogies”—a box that’s 100: organic that features twigs, said Bujese. Furniture designer Niko Yektai made his box into the “seat” of an abstract bench.

The Box Art Auction has its fair share of returning artists who have developed a signature box art style. For instance, Jennifer Cross makes a Mystery Box with a surprise inside each year, said Bujese. Linda Capello uses the same sprawling format to feature a different female figure, she said. Carol Hunt chooses a different medium to create art that flows from the box in folds, Bujese said. This year, Hunt’s box is an elaborate weaving.

“Some are elegant, some humorous and some just plain beautiful,” Bujese said.

The Box Art Auction includes a silent and live auction. Boxes can be bid upon online and by fax or phone until Sept. 9. The auction will be held Sept 10 at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $60. For information, visit eeh.org or call 631-288-8400.

pat rogers

Pat Rogers is a freelance writer specializing in arts and culture on Long Island. When not going to art openings or interviewing actors or musicians, she’s looking for the next interesting story.