In The Magazine

World According To…Ruth Appelhof

by Amanda N. Ross Photographed by Ruth Appelhof
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
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It’s been 40 years since she first arrived in East Hampton as an art graduate student with big plans, but to Ruth Appelhof, every day by the beach still holds the same excitement and beauty as in 1974. Now the Executive Director of Guild Hall culture center, Appelhof and her career has become quite prolific thanks in large part to her apparent passion for art and its creators. From bringing famous collections of artwork to Guild Hall to her extensive writings on some of the most prominent and important artists in contemporary history, Appelhof has spearheaded innovative and passion-fueled art initiatives in East Hampton and beyond. Here, she shares with us her inspirations, stories, and some truly great advice.


What is your relationship to the Hamptons?


I’m a full-time resident of Springs in East Hampton, both summer and winter. I absolutely adore it. I don’t know anywhere in the world like East Hampton.


What is your favorite part of living in the Hamptons?


Guild Hall. It’s such a wonderful place and I’m so happy to be a part of it. We have such a wonderful team and have put on some truly great programs. I’m an art historian, so my first love was the museum. My favorite program that we’ve done will be the Roy Lichtenstein show in August, and equally exciting is our theater’s production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons with Alec Baldwin. He’s incredible.


hat’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?


There are always new options available. And I’ve found it to be very true. There are always new doors to open. I’ve been at Guild Hall for 15 years and I’ve loved every single year because there’s always a new door, always something new.


Who’s your favorite dinner companion?


My husband, Gary Adamak, of course. He’s truly a great supporter of mine and of Guild Hall. I call him Guild Hall’s most important volunteer! He’s always more than willing to help us with whatever we need, even if it’s things like moving tables and setting up.


What’s your biggest extravagance?


Buying art. My favorite piece is by Carrie Mae Weems. She’s an amazing photographer. Though I wouldn’t call it an extravagance because whatever I paid for it, it was a deal because now I get to live with it.


What’s next for you?


Of course I’m always looking ahead to the next season at Guild Hall, but I’ve also been wanting to do some writing. When I first came here in 1974, I was writing my master’s thesis and have a wonderful series of interviews with Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock’s wife and an incredible artist in her own right, that haven’t been published. I feel I owe it to Lee to publish them, whether it’s an article or in a book. She was a wonderful friend to me.


Who is the most interesting Hamptonite you know?


Alec Baldwin. He’s such a good person and such a good friend. And he’s so much more interesting beyond being a big movie star. The work that he’s doing here is incredible.


Name a work of art that represents your current state of mind.


The collection of Roy Lichtenstein work coming in August is all pretty
representative. The show is called “Between Sea and Sky” and it’s very inspiring.


What are you most proud of?
This job, and my wonderful children and grandchildren.

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