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Sep 10, 2018 9:57 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Pop-Up 'Dollhouse' In Water Mill Is An Artistic Experiment

Sep 10, 2018 9:57 AM

On Saturday, September 15, the artist collective gadget_gurls will debut their artistic experiment “The Dollhouse,” a pop-up art exhibition that will take place at a private home in Water Mill.

The Dollhouse, established by artists Emma Magidson, Hailey Nathel and Tyler McManus, will function as a large sculpture installation and alternative gallery space, displaying the work of more than 20 established and emerging artists. The exhibition will feature different media of art in an immersive experience.

“The concept behind the Dollhouse emerged when we were considering the significance of home and how it would merge with art in a non-traditional environment,” Tyler McManus said. The name, she said, refers to the confluence of play and work, of public and private.

Ms. McManus, originally from New Jersey and now living and working in St. Louis at a nonprofit working farm, spent her undergraduate years immersed in ceramics, printmaking and graphic design. She now focuses on “bio art, using scientific tools to explore different ideas.”

“It’s going to be over 20 artists, coming from a lot of different backgrounds, some of whom are people we know from college. Some are working professional artists. We’re also featuring artists from Pure Vision Arts Gallery in Manhattan,” Ms. Magidson said.

Pure Vision Arts Gallery is dedicated to featuring artists with autism spectrum disorder. The gallery provides studio and exhibition space, as well as services—like career training and art classes—to artists with the disorder. The trio, who are essentially curating the exhibition as well as displaying their work in it, will donate 30 percent of all proceeds to the gallery.

Ms. Magidson, Ms. McManus and Ms. Nathel met as undergraduates at St. Louis’s Washington University.

“We met at the beginning of college, five years ago,” Ms. Magidson said. “It became clear that our goals aligned and we complemented each other’s strengths.”

Ms. Magidson, who hails from Boston, now lives in Chicago, working as a full-time graphic designer at Studio Blue and a part-time exhibition designer at the Design Museum of Chicago. In her art, she combines elements from her scholastic background: graphic design and architecture.

The impetus for this collaboration, it seems, was continued inspiration.

“We are … trying to continue creating in our post-graduate pursuits, so we’re putting together the show as well as featuring our own work in the show,” Ms. Nathel said. “We wanted to find a community of artists outside of school, to empower ourselves. As individuals, we found that coming together was more motivating.”

Ms. Nathel, a Long Island native who still lives on the island, is a fine artist with a background in psychology and painting. She now integrates printmaking, photography, and digital technology in her work. “It’s hard to stay away from digital technology,” she said.

Most importantly, each artist said, the Dollhouse seeks to achieve accessibility and inclusivity. The exhibition will include a selection of work to be featured online, specifically designed for online viewing, widening the footprint for those who cannot attend the pop-up in person. Artists from the Pure Vision Gallery will feature prominently in the exhibition as well.

“We feel like art has served as a really strong communication tool for us and has helped us find our voice,” Ms. Magidson said. “We saw the connection and the opportunity to feature autistic voices. There are a lot of barriers [in the art world]. Autism spectrum disorder is something that is present in all of our lives. We thought that this was a really good marginalized group to get involved.”

“I met with Pure Vision Arts director Pam [Rogers],” Ms. Nathel added. “The philosophy is that they’re not looking to cure or change anyone, but rather give them a space to be heard and pursue what they love. … And this is what really spoke to us and what we felt aligned with our own vision: to really not view people’s quirks as disabilities.”

In the future, Tyler McManus, Emma Magidson and Hailey Nathel hope to expand their pop-up to include additional venues. For now, their exhibition will kick off at a generously donated—and transformed—home at 27 Stephen Halsey Path in Water Mill at 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 15. Suggested donations are $5 to $35, and the opening will feature live music from DummyFresh, as well as donated catering courtesy of the Golden Pear. New York City’s White Star Limousine will provide complimentary shuttles between the city and Water Mill all evening. Additional Dollhouse gallery showings will be available by appointment. For more information, visit thedollhouse.site/Dollhouse.

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