AVENUE’s back-page column asks New York notables our version of the questionnaire made famous by Marcel Proust
Michael Haggiag is a man of many artistic gifts: a writer and founder of Zen Gateway, an online Zen Buddhism magazine; a filmmaker; a visual artist; and a photographer. Haggiag is a pictorial wizard who draws his audience’s attention to everyday objects, exposing the interplay between representation and abstraction. This Columbia University graduate had two critically acclaimed solo exhibtions of his work in Italy in 2015 entitled CLOSE UP and CLOSE UP II and his show Close Encounters was on view at the Ca’d’Oro Gallery in New York past spring. This month you can find Haggiag’s work at Art Southampton opening July 7th at Nova’s Ark in Water Mills. In the meantime, the artist shares his Hamptons favorites and the key to a perfect beach read.
What’s your relationship to the hamptons? My wife’s mother, a Second City actress Birdie Holabird, lived in Sag Harbor for many years and we spent many wonderful summers there when our children were growing up.
What’s Your favorite thing to do in the hamptons? Take pictures! The light in the Hamptons is very special. It’s a sandbar floating in the Atlantic and the sky often contains an extraordinary palate of colors that affects everything you see.
Who is the most interesting new yorker you know? My filmmaker children Alexandra and Adam, who run Reframed Pictures with Susan Sarandon.
what is your favorite way to get around the hamptons? I love riding a bike along the beaches or through the back streets of Southampton and Sag Harbor, but I’m less keen on Route 27!
Who is your favorite dinner companion? Katharine Holabird, my wife and the author of the children’s classic Angelina Ballerina, and one of the best storytellers I know.
What’s your signature drink? My sister-in-law, the painter Jean Holabird, used to call me the Tuborg beer boy. In the summer I like Campari and soda or a glass of rosé.
What artwork represents your current state of mind? Anish Kapoor’s granite mirror sculpture of Zen Master Daiyo Myokyo in a private garden in London.
Describe a perfect summer day. The centerpiece of my recent exhibition was a large abstract photomontage of a beach barrier baked into four aluminum panels. It always reminds me of a beautiful summer day by the sea, with its corrosive salt air and the long summer light you get on the beaches in Bridgehampton. Perfect!
What’s on your summer playlist? A few old favorites: “Song of the Birds” by Pablo Casals; “Tea for the Tillerman” by Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen, Wynton Marsalis, Eric Clapton, and most recently Concha Buika’s “Live Without Fear.”
What is your favorite place in the Hamptons and why? Our barn. It’s a reconstructed potato barn with a cathedral ceiling, old wooden beams and a huge fireplace where we entertain in the summer and keep warm the rest of the year.
What is your favorite beach read? Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. It’s such a heavy tome that no beach towel will fly off in the wind!
What do you want to be when you grow up? Healthy and flexible.
What’s next for you? I’ve begun to think about installations in 3D that would combine some of the textural and color values of my photography with sculptural forms.