2006 ongoing



1891 - 1902

Hope Sandrow photographed by Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Artist and subject all rights reserved Nicole Bengiveno

Sandrow’s project frames the challenges and compromises made by Shinnecock to gain shelter. And her own leaving beloved New York City for a commitment to this project in Shinnecock Hills as a full time artist in resident (2006). Presented in a series of art works beginning with When Dreams Collide: Shinnecock: Life, Art and the Pursuit of Happiness. And proposes a reconsideration of our relationship to nature and the natural world as we follow the unfolding story of Shinnecock and his descendants in her “living” art installation. As she and her muse Shinnecock illustrate the central premise of Michael Pollan’s seminal book “The Botany of Desire” demonstrates how people and domesticated plants (and animals) have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship”.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 

Albert Einstein, 1951 (year of Sandrow’s birth)

“Miss Colt was best known to the residents of Southampton Town, as a lover of flowers and gardens, her unique flower arrangements had gained many awards wherever they were exhibited, and for countless summers her flowers had been a delight to all her friends. The Shinnecock Hills summerhouse of Miss Colt was bought in 1891. And after advancing years and failing health forced her to give up gardening the place was finally sold last year”.

excerpt from Jane Borrow Colt Obituary, The County Review,  March  27, 1947

(1900, above) Photographs by Albert Chittenden: (l, m) William Merritt Chase with Students of his Shinnecock Hills Summer School of Art (map pin 6); (r) Woman feeding a flock of chickens (collection Hope Sandrow)

(above, l to r) June 30, 2008 (born), pictured in Sandrow’s open air studio Shinnecock HillsJuly 30 2008 Padovana Tolbount Hen Frieda with pullets Dayna, Darla, Malcah; cocks Adri, Basma, Dee, Hendricks, Genie, Johann, Sylvie and pictured roosting in Juniper Tree August 12, 2008;  Padovana Gold Lace Hen Cleo, next roosting in Juniper Tree with pullets Katia, Rut, Sarandipity; cocks Galileo, Agenor, Alain

Miss Jane Colt’s gardens (like her home, Note 1) vanished long ago into an overgrown thicket of vines, towering white Oaks and Pines. Roaring jets on transatlantic flight paths stream vapor trails across the skies; mingling with the calls of geese traversing between Shinnecock and Peconic Bays. In the distance ocean waves crash sandy shores - and gunshots during deer and waterfowl hunting season heard amidst cars and trucks going by. The sounds of passing train whistles included in the mix as in Colt’s time with cock-a doodling roosters, songbirds, crows along the Atlantic Flyway (500 species of birds). Here nomadic hunter-gatherers roamed from Manhattan as far back as twelve thousand years ago alongside Fowl, Fox, Deer, Bear.

The impact of climate change on flora and fauna studied on lands shaped by Sandrow as habitat for Padovana Shinnecock, the muse for this study. And his descendants, who choose to remain, not fly out of the confines of the installation’s fencing (wings not clipped) that Sandrow cares for daily, sunrise to sunset. Amidst works of art ranging from temporary projects, sculptures to live performances. Reinvented daily by them happening live, Coop LeWitt: (re)constructing Sol LeWitt, on the road, _Findings, //cache, Observational Findings, Observational Findings Drawn in DirtObservational Findings Untitled (lay bare), Observational Findings Gallus Gallus, Portrait of a Chicken as An Egg Within A Golden Rectangle, Portrait of a Chicken as an Egg (Candled) Within A Golden Rectangle, The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling (Too), When Dreams Collide.

And those living outside the fencing (but who fly or climb or dig under or jump over the fencing)  include native songbirds, crows, wild turkeys, rabbits, frogs, snakes,  eagles, hawks, owls, herons, raccoon, possum, fox and deer navigating the loss of natural habitat from development. Moments of daily life reveal the inner nature of things, framed for Sandrow to study. For example, the Flock’s birth rate illustrates the impact of climate changes on the developing embryo within their eggs. With the unfertilized eggs consumed by Sandrow and Skogsbergh; gifted to colleagues, friends and neighbors.  Including The Retreat; Shinnecock Indian Nation Food Pantry.

Padovana (aka Padua aka Polverara aka Poland aka Polish) are classified as a heritage chicken, descendants of Red Jungle Fowl traced back to Avian Dinosaurs 150 million years ago (as are Green Jungle Fowl). Evidence of crested chickens in Europe in Roman times: two marble statuettes of crested chickens noticed in the Sala degli Animali ("animal hall") of the Vatican Museums in 1927 by Alessandro Ghigi date from the 1st or 2nd century AD. More recently called “the royalty of poultry”, subjects of 17th century painters d'Hondecoeter, Steen, Saftleven). Marie Antoinette had a flock in concert with the idea in her time of going “back to nature”. Studied by naturalists, including Charles Darwin: "I have examined fourteen skulls of Polish (aka Padovana) and other crested breeds".  The breed’s current inclusion on the watch list of endangered fowls is the result of industrialized agriculture and farming practices: Padovana Hens celebrated in the past as great egg layers are now categorized as non-sitters “strictly for ornamental use”.

The ensuing dialogue relates to those outside the installation’s boundaries: timely issues from scientific (i.e. chickens reclassified as avian dinosaurs); evolution (Darwin’s The Variation Of Animals and Plants Under Domestication; Chapter VII Fowls); to cultural (a chicken embryo looks identical to Ambrym Peoples Slit Gongs and Grade Figures and the resemblance of the Padovana Shinnecock feathered crest to North American “Indian” Eastern Woodland headdress regalia); to industrial farming (Padovana an ancient heritage breed not genetically modified); and technological (Happening Live utilizes surveillance equipment to livestream).

The group installation and exhibition (Re)collecting an Artists Dream (Winter/Spring 2020-2021) presented outdoors and inside the Cottage (Note 2) including the second floor Women’s Study(room).

Note 1: The Jane Borrowe Colt Manor House burned to the ground (1948)... see what “remains”....what “lays bare”.

Note 2: (2006) Sandrow named this project in homage to Chase’s art practice: (2020) She was informed “The structure moved to current location”; “1891; may be carriage house to William Merritt Chase ”. “This structure is purposed to be a ca. 1891 carriage house later converted to a residence.” Town of SOUTHAMPTON HISTORIC SURVEY (April 2014 ): Shinnecock Hills Multiple Resource District).