Bridging the Worlds of Cars and Art

Greens, galleries and GTOs, among other classic post-war sports and competition cars, come together in a spectacular event in Bridgehampton’s The Bridge. September 14th – 16th marks the third iteration of the invitation-only exhibition of rare automobiles and fine art, a uniquely eye-popping and thought-provoking pairing. The Bridge, a toney, hip country club brings its own vibe to the scene. It’s recognized by “Top 100 Golf Clubs” as being one of the best in the country, and in its lifetime, has seen its share of fabulous rides and riders. The Bridge is the former home of the old Bridgehampton Motor Racing Circuit which hosted racers like Mario Andretti and Richard Petty as well as car enthusiasts like actor, Paul Newman.

Artist Richard Prince was onboard for the first iteration of the show. Alice Aycock’s gravity-defying dynamic whorls of aluminum were a highlight of last year’s event. Artists are being drawn to The Bridge’s art fair more than ever, as it’s becoming established as an alternative, eschewing big tents and crowds and focusing instead on select attendees and micro exhibitions. This year, a dozen top galleries of international renown will bring works of art to a group of customized, upscaled (to the point of being unrecognizable) shipping containers that pop up around the 18th tee of the 300 acre course.

Jeffrey Einhorn, Robert Rubin, Shamin Abas (Michael Shaffer of Capitol Sunset Photography)

“Art Basel decided to have and car show and we decided to have an art fair,” said event founder Robert Rubin, the owner of The Bridge golf club, in a telephone interview. Rather than a classic car show or concours, Rubin, along with Jeffrey Einhorn, a fellow auto enthusiast, and event and marketing expert, Shamin Abas have shaken things up. The Bridge is not about trophies, but it’s all about winning. “The history of cars and their enjoyment and their cultural representation should be enjoyed in a less programmed and structured way. I really think of this event as more of a garden party and less of a competition. More of a celebration.”  

Some 150 rare, vintage and bold new machines from manufacturers like Rolls Royce, McLaren and Karma to Volkswagen and Terrafugia – builders of a Jestons-like dream vehicle, the world’s first flying car – will be presented. Pagani, makers of limited-production Huayras and Zondas will exhibit five hand-crafted hypercars. Bell’s turbine aircraft and Berluti’s one-off motorbike and bespoke accessories will be on display.

“I’m trying to be a little more imaginative and risk taking in the way the cars are displayed,” Rubin said, adding “some of these race cars are an almost ludic responses to the idea of speed. A lot of these cars are wacky.”  The aesthetics of  line, color, and form come through whether as a brushstroke on canvas or the liquid gleam off a curve of chrome to Rubin, whose advanced degrees in the history of architecture and his own history of curating art are expressed throughout in fascinating pairings and juxtapositions. 

“We have a number of exhibits this year which straddle the worlds of cars and art. For example we have surfboards by Barry McGee which we’re showing with an absolutely drop dead original Volkswagen 21-window microbus. We have a Richard Prince mustang painting that we’re showing with a Mustang…We’re celebrating Buckminster Fuller who designed a car and was probably one of the most important architecture and design figures of the 20th century. I’m trying to freshen things up.”

Cars and Coffee, an offshoot of the main event will be presented on Sunday, September 16th from 9-noon at the Bridgehampton Historical Society. It’s free, and car enthusiasts are welcome to come by and take a look at some of the cars from The Bridge, including a rare reproduction of Fuller’s visionary three wheeled, teardrop shaped Dymaxion car (a prototype of which beat the record at a Bronx racetrack by 50% when it ran). And, if they’ve got a great ride of their own, they’re invited to drive it in and be part of the show. “Cars and Coffee is really a lot of fun,” Rubin said. “It’s a chance for everybody out there to bring their cars, hang out, and talk to each other. It’s for enthusiasts.”

Rubin sees a symbiotic relationship between cars and art. “They’re both creative expressions of the human spirit,” Rubin believes. “Bringing cars and art to The Bridge is just a way keeping the spirit of adventure alive.” 

All photo captions except founders portrait: The Bridge 2017, photo by Michael Schaffer/Capitol Sunset Photography.  Courtesy of The Bridge.