7 Questions for Gallerists Andrea McCafferty and Kat O’Neill on Bringing ‘Red Hot’ Art to the Hamptons
With year-round exhibitions and a dynamic roster of artists, the White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton, New York, is considered one of the top galleries in the Hamptons. Presenting a diverse range of contemporary art—from bold prints and mixed media works by French street artist Mr. Brainwash to timeless photographs by international celebrity and fashion photographer Markus Klinko—the gallery nearly always has something new to discover.
Founded by Andrea McCafferty and Kat O’Neill, both of whom hail from creative backgrounds, the White Room Gallery has come to be known for its lively and bold shows and engaging events, offering thought-provoking and ultimately uplifting art experiences for both serious collectors and casual art followers alike.
We recently caught up with McCafferty and O’Neill to learn more about the raison d’être of the gallery, and what followers of the White Room can expect this coming summer.
Punk Me Tender 451 (2021). Courtesy of the White Room Gallery, Bridgehampton.
Can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds, and what inspired opening the White Room Gallery?
We both come from the creative arena. Andrea photographed famous musicians like Suzanne Vega and Taj Mahal before opening a gallery in Amagansett featuring local artists including Eric Ernst and Paton Miller. I [Kat] shot the overlooked beauty of the world like construction sites, decay, and graffiti, wrote dark comedic plays, and worked on image accounts like WildAid, Absolut, and Rock N Roll Hall of Fame as a Partner/S.V.P./Creative Director at numerous award-winning agencies. Once I moved out East and Andrea and I met, we soon realized that our combined talents and kindred spirit could create a unique brand.
How would you describe the mission or ethos of the White Room Gallery?
Elegant. Edgy. Engaging. Exciting. And sometimes purely entertaining. It is an eclectic mix of mediums and muses that creates our unique flavor of contemporary art. As Picasso said, “It’s art not Starbucks that washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” We added the Starbucks part.
Courtesy of the White Room Gallery, Bridgehampton.” width=”550″ height=”738″ srcset=”https://adsmith.news/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Nelson-De-La-Nuez-Beach-Life-763×1024-1.jpg 763w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/04/Nelson-De-La-Nuez-Beach-Life-224×300.jpg 224w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/04/Nelson-De-La-Nuez-Beach-Life-1145×1536.jpg 1145w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/04/Nelson-De-La-Nuez-Beach-Life-1526×2048.jpg 1526w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/04/Nelson-De-La-Nuez-Beach-Life-37×50.jpg 37w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/04/Nelson-De-La-Nuez-Beach-Life-1431×1920.jpg 1431w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/04/Nelson-De-La-Nuez-Beach-Life-scaled.jpg 1908w” sizes=”(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px”>
Nelson De La Nuez, Beach Life (2020)> Courtesy of the White Room Gallery, Bridgehampton.
How does the gallery’s location in Bridgehampton affect or inform how you do things?
Main Street is beneficial for maximum exposure, and our large sculpture garden increases our visibility by displaying myriad sculptures while also allowing us to have live events—whether it be music, wine tastings, or painting, but, that said, we also have worked hard to make the gallery a destination. People travel hours to attend our openings and we truly appreciate that patronage.
The exhibition “Playtime” opens May 4. Can you tell us about the show?
The Hamptons is synonymous with luxury, so after several art commissions for high-ticket items including a Porsche, a Ferrari, a Rolex, and a Patek Philippe from collectors wanting to immortalize their toys, we decided to partner with renowned artist Seek One who we have represented for years—and whose collectors include Quavo, Meghan Trainor, and Tony Robbins—to create an exclusive luxury line of fine art called “Playtime.” The best you can drive, wear, sip, and stroll are lionized in vibrant mixed media, graffiti-infused creations. The exhibit kicks off our 2023 season with a reception on May 6, 5–7 p.m. Seek One will be there and libations and delicacies will be served.
Seek One, Birkin (2023). Courtesy of the White Room Gallery, Bridgehampton.
What do you look for in the art or artists that you show? How is this reflected in the exhibitions presented by the gallery?
For established artists, the allure is obvious in their proven reputation and unique style. For emerging artists, it’s the future potential. The initial idea of the White Room was to create a blank canvas upon which signature looks could weave together into an eclectic mix of mediums and subject matter for different themed exhibits. We represent a large number of Pop artists because we love the way Pop captures and showcases icons and nostalgia. Prominent artists like Russell Young, Nelson De La Nuez, Jane Waterous, Craig Alan, and Mr. Brainwash are some examples. Celebrity photographer Markus Kinko and fashion photographer Greg Lotus manifest wonderfully creative tableaux while our figurative and abstract painters bring portraits, city streets, and the unseen narrator to fruition. Sculptors and glass artists add the icing.
The White Room Gallery has an incredible breadth of artists on its roster, and the website also has curated sections to browse by color or style. What advice or approach would you give collectors embarking on their journey of finding the perfect artwork?
Of course, appreciation is the end goal with any luxury investment, but sometimes it just comes down to what you want to live with. We have worked with emerging artists who have taken off and artists in the primary and secondary markets who have tapered off. Art is marvelous and yet fickle. We often wonder how many people would have walked by a Basquiat being offered on a city street for ten dollars 40 years ago, choosing instead to invest in a slice of pizza. The slice that cost millions—4.5 to be exact, if it was the ’82 “Mecca” that Jay-Z bought in 2013.
Craig Alan, Everyone Loves a Kiss (2022). Courtesy of the White Room Gallery, Bridgehampton.
Is there any gallery news or are there any plans on the horizon at the gallery you can tell us about?
Our summer line-up is red-hot. After the “Playtime” exhibit, which is described above, we will be featuring LA street/fashion-inspired artist Punk Me Tender as the kick-off of his world tour Love Me Tender with his vibrant flowers and butterflies, followed by Nelson De La Nuez’s humor and homage to various pop styles featured in “Wake Me for Champagne,” and then onto Russell Young’s celebrity mug shots and diamond dusted icons featured in “Rebel Rebel.” In July, we will also be at Hamptons Fine Art Fair in Southampton, Booth #325. Closing out the year we will be showing in Miami.
“Playtime” is on view at the White Room Gallery, Bridgehampton, May 4–June 4, 2023.