The Parrish Art Museum in 15 Minutes

Matthu Placek

Blaze through Herzog & de Meuron’s new structure without missing the masterpieces.

Once a quaint relic of Southampton Village, the 115-year-old Parrish Art Museum has reinvented itself as a leading art hub—a sort of regional Bilbao effect—thanks to a new $26 million building from Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The deceptively simple edifice, the firm’s first in the Northeast, delighted critics when it opened in Water Mill, New York, last November, and is debuting now to the area’s legion of summer residents. Don’t miss “Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet” (July 21 to October 27), an exhibition tracing the three painters’ convergence on East Hampton and the unlikely correspondences among their work. Here’s how to get your abstract expressionist fill and still leave time to hit the beach. At 279 Montauk Hwy.;

  • You can’t miss the 34,400-square-foot building off of the Montauk Highway. With two narrow, poured-concrete corridors topped with twin corrugated A-frame roofs, it looks a bit like a futuristic chicken coop.
  • We’re all familiar with Pollock’s iconic drip paintings, but his dark, vaguely figurative sketchbook drawings, such as Untitled (1948–49), offer a rare glimpse into the artist’s mind-set after World War II.
  • Filipino painter and critic Alfonso Ossorio recognized Pollock’s talent early on and bought many of his works to hang in his Long Island estate. Pollock’s influence on his fellow artist is obvious in the gestural force of paintings like Reforming Figure (1952).
  • Ossorio was also a patron of Jean Dubuffet, pioneer of the “savage” Art Brut movement. Look for his famous “Corps de dame” series of flattened female figures painted in dirty paste, as if trampled into the earth.
  • Pollock and Dubuffet never actually met—the former failed to show up for Ossorio’s introductory dinner—but one can spot the link between the two in Dubuffet’s “texturology” series of soil studies, done by shaking droplets of paint over canvases like specks of dirt.
  • Another departure from Pollock’s signature action paintings, his 1951 Collage and Oil is an unusual study of space and form.
  • Hamptonites should make a point of seeing the Parrish’s major collection of realist figure paintings and local landscape scenes by Fairfield Porter.
  • Finally, enjoy the real thing with a glass of wine on the terrace café, overlooking the lush Duck Walk Vineyards.