David Zwirner’s plans for an artist retreat in Montauk meet resistance from locals

An artist retreat envisioned by mega-dealer David Zwirner in Montauk, Long Island, faces a number of logistical hurdles as members of the local city planning council bring up environmental and zoning plans.

According to the East Hampton Star, the ecologically oriented development would have involved the reconstruction of 17 cottages and a house on the shore of Lake Montauk, which would have resulted in subsidized rents, the removal of an asphalt and gravel road leading to the lake, and the renovation of a deteriorating shot on the shoreline.

Locals claim the development would make it more difficult for them to access the lake, and the bulkhead would have to be removed altogether to return the shoreline to its natural state. There is concern that the bulkhead, a retaining wall that helps prevent natural erosion, could collapse and damage the surrounding area.

Another sticking point is that the cottages, which are separated by a hedge from a large private yoga pavilion, swimming pool and Zwirner’s own mansion, will have mixed commercial and residential use. In a hearing on December 15of the East Hampton Town Planning Board, one member wondered what would happen if “one cottage person says they want to swim in the pool and do yoga in the pavilion,” while another argued that the spaces are too “appealing.” ” would be for artists to resist the use.

The proposal has been in the works since March last year, but ongoing logistical issues have not been resolved.

Stretching from the Hamptons to Montauk, the eastern end of Long Island has long been a destination for artists, including the famed Elaine and Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, and Jackson Pollock. The area is home to multiple artist residency programs. The Elaine de Kooning House in East Hampton has been hosting artists for informal residencies since 2011. Dealer and collector Adam Lindemann and gallery owner Amalia Dayan, through their South Etna Montauk Foundation, launched an artist residency in Montauk in the summer of 2021. The Andy Warhol Preserve, on the Atlantic coast near Lake Montauk, also offers week-long residences.

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