Good Heart, Great Art

While the winds of change blow strong and fast over the art world, especially in the Hamptons, Vered has planted real roots. Her eponymous gallery in East Hampton has been leading the way in artistic good taste and good deed for 35 years.

“I saw how beautiful East Hampton was,” said Vered of her prophetic vision of what a Hamptons art community could be. “I saw that all the artists lived there, but there was no gallery. After a while, galleries came and went and came and went…”

While Vered Gallery focuses largely on modern and contemporary art, they’ve shown and sold a broad array of works over the years, from Francis Bacon to Andy Warhol. But this is no one-woman show. When gallery co-owner Janet Lehr was growing up, she was roaming the museums of Manhattan when she wasn’t taking in a ballgame or a Broadway show with her parents, making their vast cultural offerings her own. It’s those long cultivated artistic instincts that contribute to her hunt for compelling work, rather than some formalistic notion of what’s good and what’s not.

“The word ‘mission’ is not in my vocabulary,” said Lehr. “One would hope that artists have goals…but I’m not didactic. I don’t tell people what to do. I certainly steer them in what I believe to be the right direction. Whatever I do, I think of the benefits that I can either find for myself if I’m investing or the benefits I can lead somebody else to.”

Currently, Vered Gallery is leading collectors and enthusiasts toward iconic photographer Bert Stern’s Marilyn Monroe series, the deep portraiture of Chuck Close and the rich, contemplative impressionism of Wolf Kahn. Moving forward, they will focus on Jessica Lichtenstein’s sexual pop-figuratism and the vivid spherical work of Ron Agam, who takes the viewer on a universal journey from smallest flower petal to largest planet in one primary color-drenched, slow motion, blink of the eye.

With unwavering taste and a stunning space to share, neither Vered nor Lehr is inclined to do anything other than what their well-honed instincts steer them toward. Both are intuitive, diverse, confident women whose measured tones and eloquence feed their sophisticated yin-yang: Lehr seemingly more business-centric and Vered more instictive, but both of them possessing elements of the other to arrive at a harmony that enhances their partnership.

As their journey continues to evolve, Vered’s and Lehr’s core commonality lies in a commitment to art that stirs emotion, their belief in helping others (the gallery’s list of charitable beneficiaries is comprehensive and inspiring).

“I came from Queens every weekend and I carried two little kids,” Vered said of her humble beginnings. “I didn’t see myself ever punching a clock. I needed a future to support my kids. (The secret) is just pursuing what you like to do and not taking “no” for an answer.”

Vered Gallery is located at 68 Park Place in East Hampton. For more information about upcoming exhibits, happenings and charitable auctions, call (631) 324-3303 or visit veredart.com.

drew moss

Drew Moss is an SAT/ACT specialist, college advisor, journalist and filmmaker. He guest lectures at Adelphi University and lives in Long Beach with his wife and children. See his work at http://drewmoss.com.