Too many sun-drenched days on those pristine sand-dune beaches? Need respite from your designer-boutique shopping spree? It's easy to forget that the Hamptons have maintained a long history of hosting world-class artists and their ever-so-generous patrons. So, send the kids off to the beach with the nanny (or bring 'em along) and enjoy an art-filled afternoon at any one of these great spots:
1) The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center: If nowhere else, this is an absolute must. Put on the museum’s little booties and walk over the paint-splattered studio floor, where most of Pollock’s famous works were produced. Let the idyllic harbor setting help you imagine the historic artist colony that was once East Hampton. (830 Springs-Fireplace Rd., East Hampton; (631) 324-4929; $5/$10 with guided tour.)
2) Gallery Valentine: Tommy Mottola’s newest venture into the art world opened this summer with a “serious” buzz. Heavyweight names (and even heavier price-tags) provide an experience not unlike a corner of a great museum. (63 Main Street, East Hampton; (631) 329-3100; free.)
3) Vered Gallery: Another museum-like competitor. This place made headlines for its controversial sale of Andy Warhol’s Michael Jackson shortly after MJ’s death. Say hello to the vibrant owner, who proudly displays clippings of her many Page 6 exploits—from famous arrests to infamous long-legged lawn statues. (68 Park Place, East Hampton; (631) 324-4455; free.)
4) LongHouse Reserve: The other absolute must! This expansive sculpture garden and arboretum of Jack Lenor Larsen's estate is open to the public. One can spend hours musing over the fantastic pieces, with contributions from Roy Lichtenstein, Dale Chihuly, Buckminster Fuller, and even Yoko Ono, to name a few. (133 Hands Creek Road, East Hampton; (631) 329-3568; $10 adults / $8 seniors.)
5) The Dan Flavin Art Institute: Okay, okay, you can finally leave East Hampton. This firehouse-turned-church-turned-gallery is yet another great project from the Dia Art Foundation, where the ever-evolving exhibits pay complement to Dan Flavin’s permanent light installations. (Corwith Ave. off Main Street, Bridgehampton; (631) 537-1476; free)
(And be sure not to miss these other local favorites: The Art Barge, Parrish Art Museum, Guild Hall)
Joe Harper is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure.