Larry Gagosian and Shaq to Produce Film About the Struggles of a Black Basketball Team in the Hamptons
NEW YORK (Artnet News) — At first glance, it might seem like a strange pairing: Mega-gallerist Larry Gagosian signs on to produce a documentary about a local basketball team — with legendary NBA Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal?
It’s not as random as a collaboration as you might think, however. The film, Killer Bees, follows the Bridgehampton School basketball team in their quest to defend their 2015 state championship title.
According to the official synopsis, the documentary goes beyond the court and “explores how Bridgehampton’s African American community came to exist in the heart of the Hamptons and its struggle to survive.”
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The true story stands in stark contrast to the public perception of Long Island’s East End as a summer playground for the rich and powerful, where artists and collectors gather to party and escape the stifling city heat. Given that inherent tension, support of the film by members of the art world seems natural.
“I’ve driven past the Bridgehampton School millions times and never really appreciated what the student body was about or any of the history,” art collector Glenn Fuhrman, the film’s executive producer, said. He learned about the project from filmmaker Orson Cummings, who co-wrote and directed the movie with Ben Cummings. “It just sounded like a story that was really worth telling,” he says.
As a newly-minted member of the NBA’s Hall of Fame, Shaq’s interest in the basketball-focused story is unsurprising, but it was his art world connections that actually got him involved in the first place.
O’Neal has previously collaborated closely with Fuhrman, helping to curate two exhibitions for Fuhrman’s FLAG Art Foundation in Chelsea: “Size DOES Matter” in 2010 and “SHAQ LOVES PEOPLE” in 2014.
“It was a kind of an obvious call to see if Shaquille wanted to help us get the film made. Much to his credit, he said yes literally instantly,” said Furhman. “His breadth of interest is so broad, it’s pretty spectacular…”
As for Gagosian, he lives in nearby East Hampton, and knows Orson. He was encouraged by Furhman, the movie’s executive producer, to sign on as associate producer. To add an extra layer of art world intrigue, the high school team has painter Joe Zucker as their assistant coach.