I have great memories of summers in the Hamptons on the East End of Long Island during the 50’s and 60’s as a child. Both of my parents were involved in the art world. My dad was an artist of immense talent in his own right (see upcoming story), and mom worked for a renowned contemporary art gallery, The Andre Emmerich Gallery in New York. They both knew people from all areas of the arts.
We summered on Long Island in Southampton. At the time, the “Hamptons” did not exist as today. It was majority a close-knit community of artists that I was fortunate enough to know, as many were friends with my parents.
Choreographers, dancers, singers, writers, poets, painters, sculptors all discovered the fabulous enticements of the East End. Everyone became fast friends, and it would not be unusual to play backgammon on the beach with Jerome Robbins in the morning, visit a renowned painter’s studio in the afternoon, and hear a diva sing jazz tunes in our home after dinner in the evening.
We had many parties, some inevitably ended up in big Greek Dance Circles with our many friends, hooting it up till all hours. It was loud and laughter was everywhere. I was the only kid there, but it was great. Often present were Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis (Nic and Murray) both great dancer/choreographers. These were great times filled with the ideas and conversations of iconic artists. I’m so grateful to have known them all.
Among our many friends, were Greek artists George Constant, Theo Hios, and our dear friend, Michael Lekakis.. Michael was a sculptor, painter and poet. I remember him vividly; he would answer the door with a long (usually blue) apron on, with a chisel in his hands. On the floor would always be huge quantities of long curly-cue wood shavings. Inside, minimalist furnishings were overtaken by his fabulous tall wooden sculptures that would guide you in amazement throughout the house. In the yard, were some of his metal sculptures studding the scrub-oak landscape. He was always kind to me.
A great sculptor, and a great dancer, too. CHECK IT OUT. And imagine these fabulous sculptural forms in your living room. They were striking.
Discover more Michael Lekakis works at Parrish Art Museum‘s site, and learn more about one of the early sculptural modernist masters. And be sure to post your comments – always welcome.