Andy Warhol Used This Horse Ranch as a Summer Getaway. Now, It’s an Idyllic Art Destination

“When I first arrived, I knew that I needed the perfect venue to show artwork in a new way,” Levai says. “The Ranch is the ideal space where my artists and I can manifest our ideas.” It certainly has a long history of inspiring creatives: Situated on Deep Hollow Ranch, the oldest working cattle ranch in America, the site was once frequented by Andy Warhol, who would invite along a glamorous circle of friends including Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Lee Radziwell, Liza Minelli, John Lennon, and Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. “Was I intimidated by its legacy? Yeah, of course,” Levai admits. “I was intimidated by its size, messing up its buildings—all of it. The idea of falling short is scary.”

Max Levai.Photo: Courtesy of The Ranch

Indeed, Levai’s move out east in August of 2020 not only marked a new beginning and lifestyle change, but also a massive learning curve; initially, the natural world seemed distant and daunting to him. “I used to joke that I would travel to Europe every 10 days, and now I’m sitting here and haven’t left New York state in months,” Levai says. “I’ve had to learn everything from, you know, how grass grows to the importance of tree placement.” But these days, he feels right at home; between its Kentucky-style barns, a landscape that “feels like bits of Colorado or Texas,” and even its proximity to the beach, The Ranch figures as a classic embodiment of pure Americana. “It’s a manifestation of Carl Fisher’s last ideas of Montauk,” Levai explains, referring to the entrepreneur’s dreams of turning the peninsula into a premiere summer escape in the 1920s, “and I want to pay homage to its history.”

Photo: Courtesy of The Ranch

On the day of The Ranch’s opening in late June, Hamptons locals, dressed in their summer whites, explored the grounds while listening to live music and staying refreshed with the star drink of the affair, Ruby Hibiscus Water. Artists Joanna Avillez, Cindy Sherman, and Jack Hanley could be seen mingling on the wide lawn while Levai, donning a plaid shirt and blue jeans, ran around with his dog, Monday, greeting guests. His bliss was contagious. “This place is where so many memories of relationships, friendships, and the community began,” he said. “With it, I hope to bring two worlds, ones that may not usually cross paths, together.”

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