Early exposure to some of art’s biggest names around his Hamptons hometown helped inspire S|2 Gallery’s Nicholas Cinque.
At just 26 years old, Nicholas Cinque, director of the Sotheby’s gallery S|2, is curating exhibits around town at places such as Montauk’s Surf Lodge and Sagaponack’s Madoo Conservancy.
As the director of S|2, the Sotheby’s gallery founded in 2011 as the private sales arm of its contemporary-art department, 26-year-old Nicholas Cinque has helped to organize a series of Saturday-evening events at the Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack. Through August 27, the gardens are the enchanting backdrop for private receptions focusing on various Sotheby’s departments, and Cinque is in charge of ensuring that there is more to admire than ginkgos and boxwoods. He also recently brought S|2 to Montauk, mounting “Fish People,” a July exhibition of paintings by Joel Mesler at the Surf Lodge.
“Joel’s idea for the show was inspired by the seasonal migration of New Yorkers to vacation towns on the water,” explains Cinque, “a return to the sea from which we came.”
Untitled (No Mountain folk are), Joel Mesler, 2016.
His own migration was a bit more circuitous. Born and raised in Amagansett, Cinque attended the Ross School, where one memorable field trip took him to the Shelter Island studio of John Chamberlain.
“There I was, in seventh grade, playing with tin foil sculptures in Chamberlain’s studio!” he marvels. Later, with the help of John McWhinnie, the late rare-books dealer, he found a portal to art collecting in books.
As a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Cinque created a Web-based brokerage for the burgeoning category of street art and parlayed the project into internships at top galleries, including Gagosian and Lehmann Maupin, before joining Sotheby’s in 2014.
“Unlike a traditional gallery that is obligated to show its stable of artists,” he says, “S|2 works on a project basis, presenting artists and exhibitions that we find to be relevant.” (In September, the gallery will show the densely layered “jungle” paintings of London-based artist Henry Hudson.) “I’m aiming to further develop the gallery’s identity as a place for discovery and rediscovery.”
When in the Hamptons, Cinque’s favorite places for discovery and rediscovery include Guild Hall and the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton. He also encourages people to seek out East End art in its natural habitat: “It’s just cool to drive down Ocean Road and see that giant Richard Serra”— Sidewinder (1999), on the property of Leonard Riggio—“or glimpse a Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture beyond a privet hedge. That’s what’s great about the Hamptons: You can stumble upon things that you wouldn’t ordinarily get to see.” The Madoo Conservancy, 618 Sagg Main St., Sagaponack, 537-8200