On view are two works of art by internationally recognized artists Kerry James Marshall and Awol Erizku, in an innovative and simple installation that allows for a dialogue about nature, beauty, history and race.


The installation of the two artworks reflects and complements the goals of our transformed architectural space. 

The two works face each other and depict African Americans on beaches. With figures looking out to sea or boldly standing against it, they draw on narratives about the sea as a place of strength, renewal, joy, self-discovery and nostalgia.

Occupying the liminal space between land and water, these figures are at home in nature. Their ease and oneness with the sea challenges the history of segregated beaches across the country. Both artworks reimagine the cannon of Western art history with updated standards of beauty and importance. 

The subject of these artworks has a resonance with the history of Sag Harbor. In the period following World War II, the village saw the establishment of the beachfront neighborhoods of Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest and Ninevah as places where people of color could buy beachfront property and enjoy the shore at a time when many other Long Island resorts and beaches were closed to them.

We are deeply grateful to collectors Neda Young and Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman for their generosity in lending these remarkable works and their belief in our project.

A third element in this exhibition is the inclusion of the poem "Try to Praise the Mutilated World", by Adam Zagajwski, reprinted here by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux:

Try to Praise the Mutilated World  


Try to praise the mutilated world.

Remember June’s long days,

and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.

The nettles that methodically overgrow

the abandoned homesteads of exiles.

You must praise the mutilated world.

You watched the stylish yachts and ships;

one of them had a long trip ahead of it,

while salty oblivion awaited others.

You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,

you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.

You should praise the mutilated world.

Remember the moments when we were together

in a white room and the curtain fluttered.

Return in thought to the concert where music flared.

You gathered acorns in the park in autumn

and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.

Praise the mutilated world

and the gray feather a thrush lost,

and the gentle light that strays and vanishes             

and returns.


“Try to Praise the Mutilated World” from 


by Adam Zagajewski, translated by several translators.  

Copyright © 2002 by Adam Zagajewski. 

Translation copyright © 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 

We thank Sara Cochran, our Chief Curator as well as Executive Director, for conceiving this wonderful, dynamic and simple exhibition.


Visit our REFLECTIONS page to read a meditation by Eric Fischl on Kerry James Marshall's powerful painting Untitled from 2008, and an essay by Sara Cochran on Awol Erizku's transformative photograph Teen Venus from 2012.. 

April 30-May 31, 2021
Viewing available from 12-2pm Fridays – Mondays
Masks and social distancing required

Sag Harbor in Focus is an exhibition of photography created by students from Pierson High School during the past year. It is a visual reflection of their experiences, diversity of interests and unique perspectives on living in Sag Harbor and growing up on the East End of Long Island. It celebrates their resilience during this extraordinary year of the pandemic and social protest. It is also a tangible manifestation of their creativity, passion for photography and their love of our community. 

The show is curated by photographer Mary Ellen Bartley and the work was divided into seven categories: Portraiture, Still Life, Home, Outside World, Photojournalism, Virtual Learning and Emotions

The exhibition is sponsored by Ray and Carol Merritt and the Cygnet Foundation. Additional funding and support is provided by The Donald Reutershan Educational Trust.

Thanks and kudos to the dynamic art teachers at Pierson, Peter Solow, Liz Cataletto, and Joseph Bartolotto, who are so clearly devoted and inspirational to their students.

The Church is thrilled to be hosting this always-engaging exhibition, the 5th annual of its kind.