It’s getting to be Commencement time, and the Southport Galleries, that very upper-crust operation that took the place of Village Hardware, is honoring seven art history majors, all women, soon to be graduating from Fairfield University.
A special exhibition curated by the students will feature paintings by both contemporary and deceased artists: Sean Beavers, George Henry Boughton, Charles Warren Eaton, Ralf Feyl, Suzanne Howes-Stevens, Nick Patten, Kim Ruggiero, Courtney Wall and Charles Wildbank.
Reception is 5-7 Saturday, May 22 with the show running through June 6. A portion of the proceeds go to the Bellarmine Museum, due to open at the university in October.
The gallery is done up beautifully, and appears poised to cater to the well-to-do. Their artists tend to be the fairly important ones, ones who are mainly well established and well admired, and the price tags show it. Their specialty is, as they proclaim in their signage, “American Masters and Contemporaries.”
I’m conflicted on this part of the art world. Coming from Black Rock’s world of outsider art and vivid abstracts, I find the art rather tame — lots of serene landscapes and seascapes with frolicking white children, and a huge emphasis on photo-realism (if I hear another patron gush that a painting looks “just like a photograph!” as if that’s the measure of a good painting, ugh!) But at least the works have pedigree. If Black Rock is the Lower East Side, Southport is Sutton Place.
That’s just the way it is. You can have pedigree, or you can have cred.