MA SHEREE AMOUR

EM­BRAC­ING GLAM­OROUS AS­PECTS OF LIFE IN THE FISH­BOWL OF THE CON­TEM­PO­RARY ART WORLD ALONG­SIDE HER RU­RAL OHIO ROOTS, ARTIST SHEREE HOVSEPIAN FINDS THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS IN BU­COLIC BRIDGE­HAMP­TON. BY AL­LI­SON BERG

Hamptons Magazine - - Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY COSTAS PICADAS

Em­brac­ing glam­orous as­pects of life in the fish­bowl of the con­tem­po­rary art world along­side her ru­ral Ohio roots, artist Sheree Hovsepian finds the best of both worlds in bu­colic Bridge­hamp­ton.

The Ira­nian-born, Amer­i­can con­tem­po­rary artist is in­stalling her first Hamp­tons solo show at Halsey Mckay Gallery. Hav­ing barely re­turned from two months in Bru­ton, Eng­land, where her hus­band, cel­e­brated artist Rashid John­son, com­pleted a res­i­dency at Hauser & Wirth Som­er­set, Sheree Hovsepian an­tic­i­pates a si­mul­ta­ne­ously ex­hil­a­rat­ing and tran­quil sum­mer. She takes a pause in the mid­dle of over­see­ing the final touches on a tree house for the cou­ple’s young son, Julius, re­hang­ing art they have ac­quired through savvy trades with friends, and await­ing a flurry of sum­mer house­guests. The im­mi­nent on­set of “the sea­son” is pal­pa­ble.

When search­ing for their Hamp­tons home, the pair craved open floor plans, high ceil­ings, acreage, and extra bed­rooms for friends and fam­ily. Ini­tially, their now beloved res­i­dence seemed un­suit­ably con­ven­tional with its shin­gled ex­te­rior, pan­eled walls, and golfer-print wall­pa­per in the pow­der room. With the help of in­te­rior de­sign­ers Ashe + Le­an­dro, they looked be­yond the pre­vi­ous owner’s French coun­try style to make the sprawl­ing, woodsy

en­clave their own. “The mis­sion was to give a tra­di­tional house an edge with art, fur­ni­ture, and fix­tures,” says Ariel Ashe. A lit­tle Ben­jamin Moore Su­per­white paint, world­class art, Moroc­can rugs, and col­lectable de­sign later—and voilà: The tra­di­tional ar­chi­tec­ture now thrives har­mo­niously with an eclec­tic mix of mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary in­te­ri­ors. An airy, art-in­fused en­trance un­folds into a light-flooded liv­ing room spot­light­ing an el­e­vated con­ver­sa­tion be­tween so­phis­ti­cates like a 1963 Ser­gio Ro­drigues sofa, a dreamy 1965 Sam Gil­liam paint­ing, a 1970s Milo Baugh­man brass bench, and a 2013 Cam­pana Broth­ers sofa. Af­ter that, com­fort is king on the jour­ney through the kitchen and spa­cious fam­ily ar­eas.

“Art is a part of who we are, but it doesn’t de­fine the space,” Hovsepian as­serts. The clear ex­cep­tion is a 20-seat wal­nut din­ing ta­ble, de­signed by John­son, bear­ing his char­ac­ter­is­tic hot-branded crosshair sym­bols. Over­look­ing the ten­nis court and pool in the dis­tance, this piece places the din­ing room as the heart of the house­hold. The pulse re­mains steady through­out the re­main­der of this sanc­tu­ary with wall works and sculp­tures by artists in­clud­ing Hank Wil­lis Thomas, Heidi Norton, Chris Martin, and Os­car Murillo. It is ap­par­ent, from the am­ple drive­way, bor­dered on ei­ther side by a tram­po­line and bas­ket­ball court, to the elab­o­rate back­yard play­ground and the cen­trally lo­cated pool ta­ble, that fun, friends, and fam­ily take cen­ter stage here.

As a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary artist, Sheree Hovsepian’s prac­tice in­cludes pho­tograms, draw­ing, sculp­ture, as­sem­blage, and col­lage. Though hav­ing for­mally stud­ied pho­tog­ra­phy, she is not in­ter­ested in re­cap­tur­ing scenes in a tra­di­tional pho­to­graphic sense. Like So­phie Calle, An­nette Mes­sager, Lorna Simp­son, and Chris­tian Boltan­ski, her in­ter­ests lie in

uti­liz­ing pho­tog­ra­phy’s ma­te­ri­al­ity and ges­tures—the ac­tual pa­per, the ro­mance of the dark­room, and how a cam­era can mon­u­men­tal­ize some­thing and em­power the per­son hold­ing it. “I think of it as al­most a per­for­mance,” she says. Us­ing a vo­cab­u­lary filled with ma­te­ri­als the cere­bral cre­ative has in her stu­dio, she is think­ing about how to for­mu­late a new lan­guage. The free­dom that comes with try­ing some­thing new and not know­ing the rules is in­trigu­ing and pro­duces a du­al­ity of chaos and con­trol. The bound­ary push­ing is ev­i­dent in her new­est as­sem­blages and draw­ings at Halsey Mckay.

A bare-bones base­ment stu­dio al­lows Hovsepian to ex­per­i­ment with lo­cal re­sources. Nev­er­the­less, sum­mers are mostly about read­ing, writ­ing, and re­search­ing. The Hamp­tons is a restora­tive respite that si­mul­ta­ne­ously pro­vides the fam­ily with ac­cess to cul­ture and ac­tiv­i­ties. De­com­press­ing lets her fo­cus, but a per­fect sum­mer also in­cludes en­ter­tain­ing and be­ing en­ter­tained. Gig­gling, Hovsepian con­fides that, be­tween fit­ness classes, gar­den­ing, and ten­nis, she finds her­self con­stantly in gro­cery stores. An­other se­cret in­dul­gence is T.J. Maxx. “There is some­thing strangely ther­a­peu­tic about me­an­der­ing through that store.”

Be­ing a flour­ish­ing artist, sup­port­ing her hus­band’s ca­reer, and be­ing a great mom re­quires su­pe­rior time man­age­ment skills—ad­mit­tedly, Hovsepian can take on too much. Bridge­hamp­ton has be­come her happy place where she carves out time for her­self. Ex­er­cis­ing daily, go­ing into the stu­dio a bit, and shar­ing qual­ity time with fam­ily feeds on it­self. “It makes me a whole per­son—a bet­ter mother, a bet­ter wife, and a bet­ter artist.”

“ART IS WHO WE ARE, BUT IT DOESN’T DE­FINE THE SPACE.” — sheree hovsepian

Rashid John­son’s Un­ti­tled (2015) wal­nut and alu­minum din­ing ta­ble has be­come the nu­cleus of the home, with Ap­pa­ra­tus light pen­dants sus­pended above. John­son’s Un­ti­tled Anx­ious Man (2015) hangs on the back wall, and a vin­tage Scarpa chair is perched in...

Hovsepian’s Un­ti­tled #29 (2013) pho­togram sits atop a hand-carved African stool. The con­crete coat rack is by Misha Kahn; a Jon Pe­stoni hangs above.

Sheree Hovsepian, in a Bal­main caf­tan, with her ink and wal­nut oil work Ar­ti­fi­cial Se­lec­tion (2015) in the up­stairs gallery.

John­son’s Room (2012), made of mir­rored tile, black soap, wax, vinyl, and shea but­ter, watches over a cus­tom sofa in the mas­ter bed­room.

A Bel­la­gio pool ta­ble holds court in the liv­ing room with a Con­stance Guis­set light fix­ture over­head and Luis Gis­pert’s Sim­ple­ton Bad­ness (2011) on the ad­ja­cent wall.

Hovsepian’s Un­ti­tled #39 (2013), from the Hap­tic Won­ders se­ries, hangs above Heidi Norton’s Medicine Plant (2010) sculp­ture. The artist’s Un­ti­tled #94 (2013), also from Hap­tic Won­ders, rests un­der the con­sole.

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