Boxed Out: The Hamptons BoxArtGate

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The competitive art world in the Hamptons has lit a new match. As coveted as a southpaw boxer the art world especially champion boxers know the value of a Quigley. Why is it that “The Church” is putting on an art exhibition with renown local artists who are not all necessarily known for painting boxers and excluding William Quigley? William “Bill” Quigley has been painting boxers for over 24 years and is very local to the Hamptons. He founded AB NY Gallery located in East Hampton that has supported emerging artists, the community, and done many philanthropic events for vets, Soldier Ride, Guild Hall, education and the Artists and Writers Game over the years attracting collectors, buyers, auctions and A-List celebrities to acquire Quigley Art. 

Word of mouth travels fast and the jaw dropping buzz about Quigley being excluded from the show has left art collectors flabbergasted at the snub. Investigating “BoxArtGate” we went to The Church’s Instagram to see if we could give them the benefit of the doubt. The description of the show, “‘Strike Fast, Dance Lightly: Artists on Boxing’ is an expansive, two-venue group exhibition that centers on the sport, psychology, ethos, and spectacle of boxing. Given the wealth of depictions of boxers throughout art history, the exhibition will include ancient, modern, and contemporary artworks, as well as newly commissioned pieces and boxing-related ephemera.” In another post it goes on to say “Co-curated by Co-Founder Eric Fischl and Chief Curator Sara Cochran, this exhibition underscores boxing’s expansive place in human life and the varied ways it is perceived by a diverse array of artists. It is shorthand for the existential question “what is worth fighting for?” and themes of struggle, defiance, victory, martyrdom, and brutality. Contemporary work particularly questions its traditional symbolism of masculinity by challenging male domination of the sport, and brings up issues of race, poverty, and violence.” The exhibition is taking place for the rest of the summer until September 4th. 

In 1999 Quigley partnered with musician Pete Francis and his band DISPATCH collaborating on an album, titled  “who are we living for” using a few of his boxer paintings in the album’s designs. He worked with the band from 1999 – 2007, their Skrapper grassroots fighter mentality following helped carry the band to sell out venues all over the world including Madison Square Gardens 7 times donating millions to charities like AIDS in Zimbabwe and In 2007, he was also one of the only visual artists in history honored by VH1 and featured on ABC Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous interviewed by George Hamilton. 

Ironically, residents in the Hamptons are sounding off about BoxArtGate. “I find it distasteful that one of the most talented likable artists in East Hampton who has painted famous boxers such as Muhammed Ali for over two decades is excluded from an exhibition called ‘Strike Fast, Dance Lightly: Artists on Boxing’. It’s preposterous.”  

“Quigley is the De Kooning/ Pollock of this generation on the East End and is world-renown”

– Angelica Morrow, DJ/Filmmaker & COO of  Global Boarding Water Sports in Sag Harbor. 

Although a punch to the solar plexus, we touched base with Quigley to get his perspective. According to our investigation, he did not turn it down. He was never asked. “I am really disappointed in an institution and community that I really admire and respect that has left me out of a show about ‘Artists on Boxing.’ When the Church first opened I was one of its most enthusiastic cheerleaders. It’s an amazing place full of fresh ideas that are really important to the cultural community. The East End dating back to Pollock is one of the most significant places for art and intellectual critical thinking in the world. I just felt my inclusion could have brought more eyes to not only my work, but The Church. On top of all that, in 1999 I named my company Skrapper because I started painting a lot of boxers.”

Peter Weiss, a boxer, co-founder of VitaCoco and the designer of the original Red Bull can sounded off:

Several rounds of new projects are on the horizon for the OG Boxer Painter. Quigley is doing a Skrapper X Global Boarding merch line. This joint partnership with Global Boarding Water Sports in Sag Harbor is creating limited edition legendary WakeBoards & Surf Boards painted by Quigley. Global Boarding Water Sports and Quigley are extremely focused and excited on bringing back the enthusiasm and importance for the 75th Annual Artist and Writers Game, Originally started in the backyard of Pollock/Krasner and De Kooning. This year it will be held on Saturday, August 19th 2023 in East Hampton. 

As a supporter of The Church, William Quigley attended the opening of the show as a guest. He was eagerly greeted by many who expected his art to be showcased at the exhibition. To many collectors’ dismay, “There wasn’t an opportunity to get up close and personal with a Quigley*  thankfully it was nice to see the artist in the flesh.”    

*A Quigley – what the art world refers to as a painting by artist William Quigley  


Jocelyn Wallace - is a writer, musician, and mom writing and ghostwriting for several outlets about music, art, politics, public policy, health and wellness, and anything that peaks her interest. Follow her on the gram @JoceGracefully.

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